Flashes and Floaters
Majority of times these flashes and floaters are harmless. However, these may also point towards more serious conditions of retina like retinal breaks, retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage etc., which if not treated promptly, may lead to severe loss of vision. Hence it is important not to ignore these symptoms and get a detailed retinal checkup to prevent serious complications
During this separation of PVD, the pull on the retina is perceived by some people as a flash of light. These may occur anywhere in the field of vision. If the gel is abnormally adherent to the retina, or the retina is weak in a certain area, a retinal tear can occur. Once a retinal tear develops there is a significant risk of the liquid vitreous going through the break and causing retinal detachment.
Any opacity in the vitreous, which comes in the line of vision is perceived as Floaters. Even normal vitreous may contain some opacities which are perceived as floaters. During PVD, the debris generated in the vitreous may lead to sudden increase in floaters. Also sometimes, during the separation a blood vessel of the retina may rupture with or without retinal tear and can cause vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding in the vitreous), which is perceived as shower of floaters. Large hemorrhages can cause large dark blobs in the visual field or an overall decrease in vision
Following a PVD, it is expected that the floaters and flashes slowly diminish over a three month period. Once it has been determined there is no underlying retinal tear or detachment, the floaters may be considered irritating but harmless. With time most floaters tend to become less bothersome and often disappear. If new floaters appear in future, they need to be examined again to determine if they are harmless or a symptom of the more serious retinal tear or detachment.
procedures create an adhesion between the retina and the underlying tissue by forming a scar tissue. This scar tissue prevents the seepage of liquid vitreous under the retina and thus prevents retinal detachment. These preventive procedures are virtually harmless and are very effective (95%) in preventing the more serious retinal detachment.
- Floaters, especially sudden onset
- Loss of field of vision
- Loss of central vision
If one experiences any of these symptoms, he/she must consult an ophthalmologist, preferably a retinal surgeon immediately or go straight to the emergency department of your local hospital.