Flashes & Floaters

Do you notice a vertical flash of light in your vision? Do you notice cobwebs or floaters in your vision?

What are floaters and flashes in the eye?

Floaters such as small dark spots, squiggly lines or cobwebs and flashes of light are usually harmless if you have had them for a long time, aren’t worsening, or if your vision isn’t affected. Flashes may stop by themselves, and floaters often become less noticeable as you get used to them. However we do recommend that you have your eyes tested regularly to ensure they do not get worse.

The fluid inside your eye is held within a bag which lies against the back of your eye (retina). As we age, this bag comes away from the retina and in doing so can create flashes and floaters in your vision. Most of the time this is a harmless process, however sometimes the adhesion between the gel bag and the back of the eye can be so strong that the retina can tear as it pulls away. This can lead to a retinal detachment which is sight threatening.



We strongly advise you to contact us if you experience any of the following:

  • Floaters or flashes appear suddenly
  • Floaters or flashes suddenly increase in number
  • A dark ‘curtain’ or shadow moving across your vision
  • Blurred vision


At Holley Optometrists we use the latest technology to view the position of the gel bag, and any retinal damage as a result of it pulling away. Comparisons with previous OCT scans will show any changes to the position of the bag.