How to… Manage flashes and floaters (C-100424)

31 July 2019
Summer 2019

A part of the ageing process or an indication of retinal tear or detachment? George Winter talks to experts about how patients presenting with flashes and floaters should be managed.

Domains covered

Communication Clinical practice

Patients often present to optometrists complaining of floaters and/or flashing lights. These concerns demand prompt examinations to exclude sight-threatening retinal damage (Pooley, 2018). 

Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is the commonest cause of flashes and floaters in middle age due to ongoing vitreous liquefaction throughout life (Pooley, 2018). Bond-Taylor et al (2017) cite a PVD prevalence as high as 24% in patients aged 50 to 59, and 87% in patients aged 80 to 89, and found a 14.5% incidence of retinal tears in patients with PVD symptoms.

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