FLASHES AND FLOATERS

It can be worrying experiencing flashing lights or floating spots in the vision but the vast majority of the time it is nothing to worry about. 

A clear, jelly like substance fills the inside your eyeball. This is called the vitreous and it helps the eye to holds its shape. As we age, the vitreous shrinks and can pull on the inside surface of the eye causing flashing lights in the vision. This can also occur due to knocks to the eye. Occasionally, small pieces of the vitreous break off. This will cause the appearance of floating spots in your vision. These floaters can be off putting initially but the brain usually learns to ignore them. Occasionally, these symptoms will be due to a tear of hole in your retina.

Risk factors include being short sighted, increasing age, recent eye surgery, diabetes, inflammation in the eye and eye trauma.

PREVENTION/REDUCING RISK
Wear appropriate eye and head protection when participating in sports such as boxing or squash. This applies to any activity which carries a risk of eye trauma. 

A healthy lifestyle will reduce the chance of retinal detachment. If you have diabetes, aim to keep this under control.

TREATMENT
A retinal tear is usually treated successfully through laser or freezing (cryotherapy). If a detachment has occurred, successful treatment will be influenced by factors such as the size, location, underlying cause and time elapsed since the detachment.  Retinal detachment treatment options focus on pressing the detached retina back onto the inner lining of the eye to help it re-attach.