Flashes and Floaters

Floaters look like small, dark spots or strands that float in front of your eyes. Floaters are very common and normally harmless. They are more common if you are short sighted or as you get older.
Some people notice flashes of light. These can be due to the movement of the gel inside the eye.
Very occasionally, flashes or an increase in floaters can be a sign of retinal detachment, which needs treating as soon as possible. This is more common as you get older, or in people who are short sighted or have had eye surgery.

For more information please see our pages on floaters, flashes and retinal detachment.


The video below should be viewed in conjunction with the text beneath it and preferably watched while your optometrist discusses it with you.

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    • The eye is filled with a jelly-like substance known as the vitreous.
    • Normally this is clear, but as we get older, debris can accumulate in the jelly.
    • This appears as dots or threads floating across your vision in bright conditions.
    • Floaters are usually of no concern, but if you notice a sudden increase in the number
    • … or if you see flashing lights, you should consult your optometrist immediately.
    • In most cases no treatment is required, but if vision is significantly impaired
    • … the jelly can be replaced with an artificial gel.
    • In some cases floaters can be “removed” using a laser.