Flashers are bright spots or lines in your field of vision, typically lasting just a few moments. These often result from stimulation to your retina, which interprets light and sends nerve impulses to the brain. The appearance of flashers and floaters can result from:
- Ocular trauma, such a blow to the eye
- Vitreous gel pulling on the retina
- A side effect of blood vessel spasms in the brain, which may be caused by a migraine headache
Floaters are thin lines or small spots that move through your vision. Many people see floaters occasionally, but they are usually not a cause for concern. They typically result from changes in your eye’s vitreous, the collagen and water gel that circulates within your eye. In younger patients, the vitreous has a firm, jelly-like consistency. However, with age, the vitreous breaks down and takes on a liquid consistency. During this process, thicker parts of the vitreous may glide through the thinner center, casting shadows on the retina and appearing as darker lines or spots. Floaters can also occur when the vitreous separates from the retina, which usually does not harm the eye, but may cause retinal tear or detachment, a serious condition that could result in blindness.