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Eye floaters and flashes are generally caused by debris which results from small tears in the vitreous humor within the eye. These pieces can either block vision in small areas, or cast a shadow against the retina, leading to dark spots in one's field of vision. Flashes are caused by a similar issue, but the vitreous gel instead rubs against the retina or pulls at the corners, leading to what looks like flashing lights. Occasionally, these issues can be caused by a torn retina, which should be treated as a medical emergency.
In most cases, eye floaters and flashes are normal and do not require treatment. Most people experience them at one time or another and they sometimes go away on their own, although they may last for months or even years. Eventually the gel may settle and floaters move out of one’s field of vision, making them seemingly disappear. Flashes may come and go throughout one’s life with no problems.
These conditions may become worse when out in the sun or when in a brightly lit room. This may create more of a contrast between the surroundings and the gel debris. They may be bothersome to some individuals, especially the first few times they are noticed because they can be distracting when trying to focus.
There is no way to get rid of floaters or flashes. They sometimes disappear on their own if given enough time when the gel begins to settle toward the bottom of the eye. Sometimes additional floaters will appear later. Both conditions are most common in the elderly or those who have a minor injury to the eye, but anyone can experience these conditions even without an external cause.
In rare cases, floaters and flashes in the eyes can be caused by a tear in the retina. This is a serious medical condition which should be treated promptly in order to avoid blindness. Most times if the retina is torn, the symptoms will be accompanied by partial vision loss in the affected eye. Even without loss of vision, however, anyone who has a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the eyes should seek the medical advice of an eye doctor. He or she can check to ensure that the retina is still firmly attached.