Flashes can appear as flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. As you age, occasional flashes may become more common, but your eye doctor should examine any new random flashes.
Flashes can also be linked to migraines—in this instance, flashes may appear as jagged lines or heat waves lasting up to 20 minutes.
Floaters appear as small lines or cobwebs in your field of vision, and while they may seem to be in your central vision, they are floating around in your eyes. Floaters are made of tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous of your eye.
Floaters are more likely to appear if you are nearsighted or have had inflammation inside your eyes.
You should contact your eye doctor right away if:
- You have an increased amount of flashes
- You notice new random floaters
- A gray curtain covers part of your vision
- A shadow appears in your peripheral vision
These symptoms may signal a retinal detachment and should be treated as soon as possible.