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Flashes & Floaters

What are floaters?

Often, people who have healthy eyes see floaters. They appear as spots, lines or cobweb effects, usually when you look at a plain surface such as a white wall or a clear blue sky. They often appear when the clear jelly in the main part of your eye gets older.

When should I be concerned about floaters and flashes?

If you suddenly notice a shower of new floaters, or floaters together with flashing lights or a dark ‘curtain’ in your vision, then you should seek further advice urgently. These symptoms can mean that the retina is tearing. Your own Optometrist may be able to give best advice on what to do if you experience these, but in the absence of this advice you should go to an Accident and Emergency Department. Look out for:

  • flashes or floaters getting worse
  • a black shadow in your vision
  • a sudden cloud of spots
  • a curtain or veil over your vision
  • any sudden loss of vision
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