Flashes and floaters of the eye commonly occur as the result of age-related changes to the vitreous gel. At birth, the vitreous is firmly attached to the retina and is a thick, firm substance without much movement. As we age, the vitreous becomes thinner and more watery, and tissue debris that was once secure in the firm vitreous gel is now able to move around on the inside the eye, casting shadows on the retina.
Flashes that occur in vision are as a result of pressure on the retina, the bundle of nerves in the back of the eye where images are detected and transmitted to the brain, causing patients to see either flashing lights or lightning streaks.
Floaters occur when fibers move across the vitreous and into the field of vision, causing patients to see specks, strands, webs or other shapes as the fibers cast shadows on the retina.
These symptoms are most visible when looking at a plain, light background. Flashes and floaters often appear at the same time, although some patients may only experience one symptom.
While flashes and floaters are common, especially as we age, it is important to see your doctor if you experience them, as they may indicate a retinal tear or hole. Your doctor can distinguish between harmless flashes and floaters, and those that may require treatment for an underlying condition.
The sudden appearance of flashes, floaters and other visual disturbances may indicate the vitreous pulling away from the retina, lead to a retinal detachment. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention to reduce the risk of complications such as loss of vision.
Experts disagree on which nutrients can prevent eye disease or reduce vision loss. Studies have been conducted to help us learn more about the relationship between vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and eye health. The general consensus is that the same things that are good for your body are good for your eyes: a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, drinking at least six glasses of water a day, regular exercise, and avoidance of cigarette smoke.
Much of the research that has already been conducted points to the benefits of vitamins and antioxidants, specifically beta carotene, vitamins D, E, A and C, zinc, selenium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese and lutein. The National Eye Institute's Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that about one-fifth of patients with intermediate and advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were able to reduce their risk of vision loss after taking high levels of zinc and antioxidants. The study did not find a correlation between these nutrients and the development of cataracts.
Patients taking the anticoagulant medication such as warfarin or Coumadin should consult their doctors before increasing the amount of leafy greens they eat.
In addition to the comprehensive ophthalmology services we provide, our practice features a boutique optical shop for convenience of our patients with a wide array of eyeglass frames and contact lenses to suit every look and budget. We provide patients frames from many elite designers such as, Michael Kors, Lacoste, Nine West, DKNY, Easy Clips, offering some of the most fashionable sunglasses and prescription frame styles around. To learn more about our optical shop, call us today at 508-836-8733 or stop in to see the wide array of products we currently offer.
There is indeed something for everyone to satisfy all ages and tastes.