call us now!
Chevy Chase, MD Silver Spring, MD Washington, DC

Flashes and Floaters

What are eye flashes and floaters? Are they cause for concern?

Eye Flashes and Floaters - Eye Floaters Treatment Washington DC - Posterior Vitreous DetachmentMany people see floating objects in their field of vision that may look like dark specks, droplets, hairs, insects, or cobwebs. Flashing lights are also an occasional complaint. Most of the time, these symptoms are merely annoying, but sometimes they may indicate a problem.

What causes these lights and spots in my vision?

The interior of the eye is filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called vitreous. With aging, the vitreous gel changes in consistency and begin to shift in position off of the retina. This shift in the position of the gel typically causes the symptoms of eye floaters. A change in the consistency and the position of the vitreous gel relative to the retina is normal. This process is referred to as a posterior vitreous detachment. THIS IS NOT A RETINAL DETACHMENT.

Are flashes and floaters ever serious?

As the vitreous separates from the retina, it may pull on the retina and cause a tear or hole in the retina to develop. This occurs in about 1 in 10 cases. A tear or hole in the retina can, in some cases, lead to more serious problems such as retinal detachment. Bleeding can also occur as the vitreous separates from the retina. Early detection of retinal pathology is critical, so it is imperative that a dilated examination be performed promptly after you experience these symptoms.

What should you do when you get new floaters and flashes?

When new eye floaters and flashes occur, it is imperative to promptly have a dilated examination with an ophthalmologist. If a retinal tear or hole is found, laser may be recommended. The floaters themselves do not need treatment. Over time, most people adjust to the presence of eye floaters, and they tend to become less noticeable.

View Video

Posterior vitreous detachment is more common for people who:

  • are nearsighted
  • have undergone cataract operations
  • have had YAG laser surgery of the eye
  • have had inflammation inside the eye

Call 301-657-5700 to schedule an appointment to evaluate your retina if you have recently experienced eye floaters or flashes.


"My experience is always positive."
-Marvin L.

"The doctors and staff are always professional, courteous, and informative."
-Mary A.

"I have had perfect experience at this practice."
-Joanne R.

"My eye doctor is friendly and knowledgeable. All of my questions were answered. He is professional but down to earth."
-Carole K.

"My eye doctor is extremely helpful."

"Now both of my eyes feel like they are in the land of OZ."
-Joyce B.

"I never thought I would ever say that I enjoyed surgery, but it was really fun! No pain or discomfort."
-David F.

"My eye doctor explained the surgery and made me feel very comfortable - he built trust."
-Michelle S.

"I am thrilled with the results of my procedures. I am even golfing better!"
-Helane G.

"Excellent surgeon but also a very patient oriented courteous doctor who carefully explains his patients' options."
-Susan S.

"A World Class person and an absolutely great Doctor."
-Chuck W.

Laser Vision Correction

If you are seeking a Washington DC LASIK eye surgery specialist you have come to the right place. Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons is located in Chevy Chase. Our LASIK surgeons are dedicated to creating the best possible LASIK eye surgery outcomes.

look AS good as you feel

Eyelid Surgery can reduce the aging, tired, or sad look caused by drooping eyelids. The Oculoplastic Surgeons also perform reconstructive surgery of the eye socket and orbital fractures of the facial bones, including eye prostheses, tearing problems, lid twitches, and blepharospasm.

Premium Lens Implants

If you are seeking reduced dependence on eye glasses after cataract surgery in Washington DC, take a moment to explore advanced technology lenses such as Crystalens®, Acrysof® Restor, multifocal Tecnis® and Toric lenses for astigmatism correction.