Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Floaters, Flashes or Retinal Detachment

Conditions & Treatments

Floaters, Flashes or Retinal Detachment

Floaters, Flashes or Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a serious condition that occurs when the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye (near the choroid) where it normally resides. The choroid is essential to the retina as it provides nutrients as well as oxygen to this layer. A detached retina will cause blindness if not immediately treated. The retina serves as a liner for the inside of the eye, it is sensitive to light and the primary function is to send messages to the brain through the optic nerve.

There are several common symptoms associated with retinal detachment: the development of floaters which are small spots blocking your ability to see clearly, they are characterized by dark, shadowy spots or lines and are most noticeable when looking at bright images or white walls. The second type of symptom is known as flashing lights, a patient will suddenly see what appears to be a flash of light such as when you there is a bright light turned on and then off in your vision field. What doctors often call a ‘dark curtain’, this visual impairment may cause you to blackout every so often. Lastly, blurry vision is a common symptom for patients who may have suffered from retinal detachment.