What Happens At My Eye Appointment for New Flashes and Floaters?
If you are experiencing new flashes, floaters, or grey curtain in your vision, you should schedule a dilated eye exam with an ophthalmologist within 24-48 hours. On the day of your appointment, you will have your vision, eye pressure, and peripheral vision checked by a technician. The pupils will be dilated to allow for a clear view of your entire retina. Retinal images will be taken using specialized cameras to detect the presence of a retinal detachment or other eye disease. Lastly, you will be examined by the ophthalmologist and the findings and treatment plan will be discussed.
I Have a Retinal Tear. How Do We Treat It?
If you are found to have a tear in the retina, but no detachment, you will likely undergo a retinal laser to seal the tear and prevent a retinal detachment. The laser works by creating a barrier of scar tissue around the tear, preventing fluid from inside the eye from traveling through the tear and underneath the retina. This procedure can be performed immediately in the office with mild discomfort and no permanent vision loss. Laser for retinal tear typically takes 5 minutes, with patients able to return to their normal activities later in the day.
Keep in mind that it takes at least 7 days for the laser to seal the tear, so you are still at risk for a retinal detachment over than time. In addition, a new tear may form elsewhere in the retina, which can progress to retinal detachment if left untreated. For that reason, it is important to report any onset of new floaters or loss of peripheral vision following your retinal laser.
Important disclaimer: the retinal tear laser is intended to prevent a retinal detachment. Laser for retinal tear does not specifically improve floaters that may be in your vision due to debris suspended in the vitreous jelly that fills the eye. Floater symptoms tend to improve on their own without treatment over the period of weeks and months.