For northern Washington residents, it's very common to experience vision problems as you age, but many people are surprised when they first start seeing flashes and floaters. There can be several root causes of this condition, and it may take an eye doctor who is experienced with these problems to identify what's really going on when a patient comes in complaining about this phenomenon. We at ClearView Eyecare serving Bellingham, WA, know a lot about flashes and floaters.
Flashes, floaters, and dark spots are usually caused by a compromised optic nerve. In most cases, the optic nerve has either been damaged in some way, or it is under a lot of pressure from surrounding blood vessels. When the optic nerve is damaged like this, it is unable to transmit all the visual information that it receives from the eyes to the brain. Because the brain is lacking this visual information, it simply shows the patient a blank spot in their field of view, leading the patient to complain about floating dark spots in their field of view.
By determining what is damaging the optic nerve with the help of an optometrist, it is often possible to fix this issue. The most common culprit is high blood pressure, that causes the blood vessels around the optic nerve to swell and put pressure on the nerve. This means that treatment may center around reducing blood pressure, with through medications or lifestyle changes. As blood pressure drops, the pressure on the optic nerve may be reduced and the patient typically reports much fewer flashes and floaters.
It is possible for an accident, injury, or illness to damage the optic nerve. In these cases, the eye doctor may need to use a machine to view the nerve during an eye exam.
In most cases, treatment is unnecessary as flashes or floaters will go away on their own. However, if a lot of them appear all at once and they do not go away, it may be a sign of retinal detachment and you should seek medical treatment.
If you live in the Bellingham, WA, area in northern Washington and you're looking for an optometrist who can diagnose the root cause of your flashes and floaters with an eye exam, give us at ClearView Eyecare a call at (360) 392-8306.
410 W Bakerview Rd #107
Bellingham, WA 98226, United States
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
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