Welcome to the OutUK series looking at gay men and their health brought to you in association with the NHS website.
Each week we'll tackle a different topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We'll have features and advice on everything from relationships, sexual health, mental and physical conditions and how to stay fit. You can follow any of links provided below for more information direct from the NHS website, or view any of our Previous A to Z Features.
You should also know that OutUK has produced a special report about: Coronavirus Covid-19.

[Previous Feature]

This Week - F : Floaters and Flashes

Dots and lines (floaters) or flashes of light in your vision are common. They're not usually serious.

Check if you have floaters and flashes

Floaters in your vision can look like:

  • small dark dots
  • squiggly lines
  • rings
  • cobwebs

Flashes look like sudden flashes of light.

They're usually harmless and not a sign of anything serious, especially if:

  • you've had them for a long time
  • they're not getting worse
  • your vision is not affected

Flashes may eventually stop, and floaters often become less noticeable as you get used to them.

Ask for an urgent opticians appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

  • you have floaters or flashes in your vision for the first time
  • you suddenly get floaters or flashes in your vision
  • the number of floaters or flashes suddenly increases
  • you have a dark "curtain" or shadow moving across your vision
  • you also have blurred vision
  • you also have eye pain
  • floaters start after eye surgery or an eye injury

These could be signs of a serious problem with the back of your eye, which could permanently affect your vision if it's not treated quickly.

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

What happens at your appointment

If you have problems with floaters or flashes in your vision your eyes will be checked at an opticians to see if you need to be seen by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) for more tests or treatment.

You'll usually only need treatment if you have a problem that could affect your vision.

Causes of floaters and flashes

Lots of people, particularly older people, get floaters and flashes.

They're usually caused by a harmless process called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), where the gel inside your eyes changes.

Sometimes they can be caused by retinal detachment.

This is serious and can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated.

Floaters and flashes can also happen for no obvious reason.



[Previous Feature]
We'll have more information and advice next week on another topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We have covered many subjects in this series and you can catch up with all of our Previous A to Z Features.

If you want to find out more about this week's subject you can visit the Original article on the NHS website. If you are worried by any aspect of your health make sure you go and see your doctor or book an appointment at your local clinic.

Photos: LightFieldStudios and one of VladOrlov, Stockcube, darak77, ajr_images or rawpixel.com.

 

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