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Learn About Eye Care

1) What is Blepharitis?

2) Floaters & Flashing Lights

3) Dry Eyes & Dry Eye Syndrome

4) Laser Vision Correction

5) Keratoconus

6) Macular Degeneration

7) Am I Entitled to FREE Eye Care?

8) Did You Know?

9) Glaucoma

10) Cataracts

Floaters & Flashing Lights

Floaters and Flashing Lights

Floaters are extremely common, and are sometimes associated with flashing lights in the eye, especially when they first appear. When they first appear, they normally affect one eye, but may affect both eyes at the same time.

In fact, they're so common, that approximately 2/3 of the population will have floaters by the time they are in their mid sixties! However, they can occur at any age.

What Do Floaters Look Like?

Most people describe floaters as little 'blobs' or 'cobwebs' or 'string like' or 'amoeba like' features that move around in the eye, and can be best seen when looking at a light plain surface. However, floaters can take any number of appearances and are different in everybody.


What causes these floaters?

The commonest cause of floaters is called 'vitreous detachment' The main section of the eyeball is filled with a special gel known as 'the vitreous'. Normally, the gel fills the back of the eye, and so the outer part of the gel is in contact with the retina (which lines the inside of the eye).

As we get older, small pockets of fluid form within the gel. Eventually, some of this fluid moves in between the gel and the retina, causing the vitreous to peel away from the retina. The retina, which is like the film of a camera, is then able to see the outer part of this gel floating inside the eye - and this is what causes floaters.

Sometimes, when the vitreous gel comes away from the retina, it can cause a hole or tear to appear in the retina. This is because the vitreous gel sometimes has areas where it is strongly attached to the retina. As the gel falls away from the retina ( a bit like wall-paper falling from the wall), the gel can tear the retina ( like the wallpaper may take a piece of paint or plaster from the wall).

What Causes The Flashing Lights?

As the gel comes away from the retina, the tractional pull on the retinal tissue causes the flashing lights in the eye. Once the traction has ceased, the flashing lights normally subside.

Why Do I Need My Eye Examined If I Have New Onset Floaters and/or Flashing Lights?

The vitreous detachment may tear the retina. If a hole or tear develops in the retina, then there is an increased risk of there being a retinal detachment. A detached retina can cause loss of vision, and requires a surgical operation to put the retina back in the right place. Thus, it is very important that you have your eye examined urgently on the onset of symptoms. There are other less common reasons for floaters - eg. bleeding into the gel in the back of the eye from a blood vessel (usually in diabetic patients).

Should I be Worried About Floaters?


Most floaters are innocuous and there is no need to worry. However, if you have had new onset of floaters, then you need to have your eyes examined by an Optometrist as a matter of urgency. *THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IF YOU ARE SHORT SIGHTED.

By seeing an Optometrist early, if there is a problem, it can be diagnosed and treated before it progresses into something more serious.

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Why choose P.K. Bahri Ophthalmic Opticians?

  • Over 25 Years experience in private practice and hospital Ophthalmology Departments
  • P.K. Bahri is an Independent Prescribing Ophthalmic Optician BSc(Hons), FCOptom, DipOC, DipClinOptom, DipTp(IP), FAAO
  • P.K. Bahri can treat many eye conditions
  • P.K. Bahri has worked in the world famous Moorfield's Eye Hospital
  • Conditions requiring surgery can be diagnosed and early referrals can be made where necessary

Upminster Practice

P.K. Bahri Ophthalmic Opticians
172 St Mary's Lane Upminster
Essex RM14 3BT
Phone and Fax No:
01708 228397

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Opening Hours

Monday to Friday

9.00am to 5.30pm


9.00am to 4.30pm

Closed for lunch

1.00pm to 2.00pm



Woodford Practice

P.K. Bahri Ophthalmic Opticians
188 High Road Woodford Green
Essex IG8 9EF
Phone and Fax No:
0208 504 0438

Opening Hours


9.30am to 5.30pm


9.30am to 5.30pm


9.30am to 7.00pm




9.30am to 5.30pm


9.30am to 1.00pm

Closed for lunch

1.00pm to 2.00pm