Blog Hero

I Am Seeing Flashes & Floaters, Should I Panic?

Book Appointment

When I was a kid, I thought I had super powers because I could see tiny little dots or strings that nobody else could! I even went as far as naming them (Bob and Alice)! However, I did notice that these dots/strings weren’t always there – only on a bright sunny day or if I stared at a white wall. Naturally, I asked my eye doctor about what I was seeing and was educated all about floaters. Although I was a little disappointed that I didn’t actually have super powers, I found my visual friends quite fascinating!

The floaters that I saw during childhood are known as Hyaloid Floaters. Near the back of the eye, there is a large area filled with a “jelly-like” material called the Vitreous; when our eyes are developing, the blood vessel system leaves some debris behind and we see them as these little visual imperfections. Although these floaters are harmless, some floaters can be an indication of a serious health concern and need immediate attention.

With age, that Vitreous gel-like material becomes more liquified (a process known as Syneresis) and little clumps of protein can form, creating larger floaters. Some of these floaters can be normal, however, if you notice any of the following, be sure to immediately contact your eye care professional for further guidance: 

  • a large sudden increase in floaters
  • changes in vision
  • flashes of light or a curtain/veil coming over your vision 

Since we don’t have pain receptors at the back of our eye (retina), these floaters are our warning signs for a possible break/tear in the retina, retinal detachment, bleeding, inflammation and other pathological conditions (including systemic conditions). 

Many of us have seen or will see floaters in our lifetime – it is important to discuss these with your eye care practitioner to determine whether they are harmless or a cause of concern.


Written by Dr. Manvit Singh

Dr. Manvit K. Singh graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 2016 with honours through all 4 years. Having grown up in Waterloo, Dr. Singh started off as a patient of Pierce Family Vision at the age of 7, then worked with us as an optometry student and is now providing our patients of all ages with quality eye care. It’s safe to say she’s very familiar with our practice!

Dr. Singh’s past experiences include a rotation at the Lexington, Kentucky, Veterans Affairs Medical Center where she encountered and managed a vast array of ocular diseases and therapeutics. She worked closely with other healthcare professionals to provide quality patient-centred care at the Health Sciences Optometry Clinic in Kitchener.

Dr. Singh resides in Waterloo and loves spending her free time with her husband and her baby daughter. When Dr. Singh is in the office you’ll hear her laughter around the office while she’s making sure your regular eye exams are as enjoyable as they can be!

Fluent in Hindi and Punjabi

More Articles By Dr. Manvit Singh
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax