It is safe to say that our eyes do things we do not completely understand. It is difficult to know whether our body is trying to tell us that something is wrong or if the symptom is just a regular odd thing. Two good examples of this are flashes and floaters, which may be normal or an indication of a problem, depending on the situation.
Your brain perceives images through a series of signals. The tissue of your retina is stimulated by light, creating an impulse in your optic nerve. That impulse travels up your optic nerve to the brain, which responds by recreating this image in your perception. Your retinas are extremely sensitive for optimal performance.
From time to time, that series of signals is triggered inadvertently, such as rubbing your eyes too hard. Banging your head or extreme velocity could create a similar reaction. As we age, the vitreous, the gel in the eye, shrinks and pulls on the retina. Typically, this tugging registers as a flash of light.
Flashes should be irregular occurrences, one flash at a time. When you experience a succession of flashes it could be your eyes trying to tell you something is wrong. If they exist in conjunction with a shower of floaters you may be experiencing a retinal tear or detachment which are considered an emergency. Seek medical attention immediately.
Floaters are another regular odd behaviour in your eyes. Floaters are tiny, visible fibers in the vitreous, the gel inside the eye, that occasionally appear in your field of vision. These pieces appear as tiny shapes floating through your field of vision. They can be strings, clumps, or even mini doughnuts. What you’re actually seeing is the shadows these cast on your retinas as light hits them.
As with flashes, a sudden change in floaters may be an indication that something is wrong. If you experience many floaters, or if a shower of floaters is accompanied with waves of flashes, you should talk to a doctor right away.
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