Floaters are harmless specks, strands, or cobwebs that float in one's field of vision. These small blotches usually are more noticeable in bright light or when looking at a white background. Floaters naturally occur with age.
The vitreous, the jelly-like substance which fills the inside of the eye, is clear. As people grow older, strands of the vitreous attach to each other and float around inside the eye. When light strikes these strands, shadows are formed, and a person sees them as floaters. It is normal for people over the age of 50 to experience some floaters, but many young people experience floaters as well.
The sudden appearance of large floaters, however, may be an indicator of a condition known as posterior vitreous detachment – the separation of the vitreous from th e back wall of the eye.
Flashes, or bursts of light, can occur when the retina is damaged. The retina is the part of the eye responsible for collecting and sending information about light to the brain. These flashes are the retina’s way of warning that there may be a hole, te ar or detachment of the retina.
Flashes also can occur as a side effect of migraine headaches but these type of flashes are not accompanied by the blurred vision of retinal damage and do not signal eye damage.