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Flashes & Floaters | McBride Vision Clinic
McBride Vision Clinic
8566 SW Apple Way Portland OR 97225 +1 503-297-4183

Portland, OR / (503)-297-4183

Flashes & Floaters

Understanding Flashes & Floaters

Eyes are complicated, with many working parts that culminated in proper eye function and communication with the brain. There are ways your eyes may try to signal to you that something isn’t right and it’s important you know what to look for and how to react.

Two of these indicators are floaters and flashes. They could be a vital clue to a medical problem for which you should seek help.


Typically, floaters are not a cause for concern. Floaters are tiny, visible fibers in the vitreous, the gel inside the eye, that occasionally appear in your field of vision. They show up as strings, clumps, or even donut shaped bits floating in your eyes.

When Floaters Are Cause For Concern

Should your floaters look different than normal or are suddenly more numerous this could be cause for alarm. Make an appointment right away to discuss this with your optometrist.


Flashes are caused by the retina sending an message to your brain. The retina is made of layers of tissue, which are stimulated by light. Stimulating the retina creates an impulse through your optic nerve to your brain, which is then translated into an image.

Creating such detailed images is possible because of the sensitivity of the retina.The retina may be triggered by being touched or bumped. Abrupt changes in velocity, a head injury, or a fall could trigger the retina. Also, as we age, the vitreous, or gel-like substance in our eyes, begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. This tugging on the retina sends a signal to the brain, which the brain understands as a flash of light.

When Are Flashes Cause For Concern?

A sudden onset of flashes could be signalling an emergency that should be dealt with right away. If flashes are accompanied by a shower of floaters you may be seeing the signs of a detached retina or retinal tear. This is a medical emergency and needs immediate attention.

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We are located on SW Apple Way in the community of Beaverton, Oregon.

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McBride Vision Clinic
8566 SW Apple Way
Portland, OR 97225

Contact Information

Phone (503)-297-4183
Email [email protected]
Fax (503) 297-3494



8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

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