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As you age or if you are nearsighted, you are more likely to see flashes. People will see flashes of light, stars or streaks that are not really there. Flashes are often caused by the "vitreous" (the gel filling the inside of your eye) pulling on the "retina" (a membrane that lines the inside of your eye).


Floaters are usually harmless. They look like dark specks, clouds, threads, or spider webs moving through your vision. Floaters may be pieces of gel or other material floating inside your eye. The older you get, the more likely you'll notice floaters.

Most flashes and floaters require no treatment – but sometimes they can be signs of a serious eye problem. Call your eye doctor if you notice:

  •  that you suddenly see a lot of flashes or floaters that you have never seen before
  •  there is a sudden increase in the number flashes or floaters
  •  normal tasks become hard to do because of floaters or flashes
  •  a 'curtain' or dark area in your vision