Floaters & Flashes

Treating Conditions of the Retina & Vitreous

We are all born with a bag full of gelatin in our eyes (this gelatin is called the vitreous humor and the bag containing it is called the hyaloid membrane). This bag of gelatin sits on top of the membrane that lines the inside of the eye (called the retina), and it is supposed to be tightly adhered to it at all times.

As we age, this gelatin starts to lose its viscosity and liquefies. This is a process called vitreous sineresis and is a completely normal phenomenon. The problem is that as this gel starts to liquefy, there are parts of it that coalesce and form a small clump or opacity which floats freely inside the liquid filled bag.

Dr. Soroudi is a top Los Angeles eye surgeon who can treat your floaters and flashes. The Soroudi Advanced LASIK & Eye Center treats patients throughout Los Angeles, including Woodland Hills, West Hills, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, Encino, Huntington Park, Brentwood, and Westlake Village.

From time to time, this small opacity comes closer to the back of the eye and its shadow falls onto the retina. When this happens, people complain of seeing a moving black shadow which resembles a small mosquito or a fly which moves about and comes and goes (hence the name floater). Although this can be a huge nuisance, in and of itself, this poses no threat to vision or to the overall health of the eye.

The problem is that as this bag of gelatin becomes more liquid, it starts to move and pulls on the retina. This pulling (traction) leads to multiple electrical signals (sort of like hitting below the knee with a plastic hammer), which in the eye gets translated into flashes of light. These flashes, as alarming as they may appear, generally cause no problems either, and they usually disappear with time as this bag of gelatin completely detaches from the retina (this is called a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)).

The major problem is that at times this traction leads to a hole or a complete tear in the retina (called a horseshoe tear), which can cause bleeding into the eye (called a vitreous hemorrhage) or a complete retinal detachment, which can lead to permanent visual problems if not repaired in time.

If such symptoms occur, it is vital that you undergo a complete dilated fundus exam as well as a possible b-scan ultrasound of the affected eye. If there is such a complication, it can easily be treated prophylactically by laser.

Top Resources and Timely Treatment in Los Angeles & Surrounding Areas

At the Soroudi Advanced LASIK & Eye Center, we possess both the necessary diagnostic tools to evaluate even the most "subtle" retinal / vitreal abnormalities as well as the most advanced Diode laser (by Carl Zeiss Meditec) in house to treat such holes / tears without having to refer you to a hospital. If you have new onset floaters or flashes, please contact our office for an urgent evaluation. You can schedule an appointment in Los Angeles or Encino.

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