A Dangerous Road: Elderly and Winter Falls

elderly man walking on snow

Icy sidewalks. Slippery driveways. Boots that bring melting snow onto floors. These all can cause falls. These are minor hazards for most of us, but for an elderly person, they can be devastating. A spill that gives a 20-year-old a bruised knee could send an elderly person to the hospital.

“If you are over the age of 80 and you fall and break your hip, there is only a 50 percent chance that you will be able to return home, ever,” says Frederick Frost, MD, Department Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic.

Some adults over age 65 are more at risk for falls than others, says Barbara Messinger-Rapport, MD, PhD, Director of Geriatric Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.

Elderly and Winter Falls

Danger signs to look for

Here are 4 danger signs according to Drs. Frost and Messinger-Rapport:

  • Rapid weight loss could mean loss of muscle and bone mass. Elderly people who lose 10 percent of their weight or more within six months may be more at risk because older people are more likely to lose muscle and bone mass than fat, says Dr. Messinger-Rapport. “Women are more likely to have a wrist fracture if they try to break their fall with their arms,” she says. “And if they don’t get their arms out in time, they’re more likely to break their hips when they fall.”
  • Vision problems can make it hard to see. If an elderly person has impaired vision, this can cause them to trip and fall and bump into things. Some eye problems, like cataracts, can be corrected.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases can increase an older person’s risk. Neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease and dementia increase an older person’s risk. “Many people with early dementia may look very robust, but have difficulty with multitasking,” says Dr. Messinger-Rapport. “They may be carrying a cup from the living room to the kitchen, and if there is an obstacle or an uneven surface, they may not pay sufficient attention, trip, and fall.”
  • Certain medications impair judgement. Pain medications, muscle relaxants, or sedatives can impair an older adult’s judgment, says Dr. Messinger-Rapport. “And even though you wouldn’t think it, most antidepressants increase the risk of falls and fractures.”

How do you prevent falls?

Drs. Frost and Messinger-Rapport offer these suggestions for fall-proofing a home — whether elderly loved ones are visiting or you are helping an elderly person reduce risk of falls in their own home.

Clear a walking path

Make sure any pavement is shoveled and de-iced. Try to discourage people from tramping through the house in wet boots, and wipe up any slippery spots quickly. You might also encourage shoes (or slipper socks) in the house because they have more traction than bare feet.

Remove obstacles

Either remove throw rugs or use double-sided tape to secure them; they can cause people to slip. De-clutter the stairs. To help elderly visitors, make sure the steps are free of any obstructions like shoes or toys. Look for unnecessary items or even pets and small children plopped down in a high-traffic area.

Watch alcohol intake

At family get-togethers, older people may want to change their alcohol intake, says Dr. Frost. “However, the interactions of that with drugs they may be taking can be unpredictable,” she says. The limit on alcohol for older adults is one standard serving in a 24-hour period.

Both doctors say if an elderly person has fallen in the past year, he or she may have a balance problem and should tell a doctor. Treatment can include physical therapy sessions to improve confidence as well as strength, endurance, and balance.

More information

  • Roger

    I only thought i was only one that had these…ive had them for years told dr many years ago and he gave drops..said not to worry

    • kingbudtheweiser

      Just had laser surgery last week for torn retina, after going in previous day for routine eye exam. Had been previously diagnosed with central serous retinopathy–small hazy blurry spot in the vision due to non-torn but stressed “bubble” in the retina (or someething like that). Don’t remember any significant amount of floaters, but had experienced flashes, only in the dark, like at night in bed. Going in again in a couple of days for surgery followup, but already see improvement.

      • Hanna

        Ok so I had a laser torn retina and my doctor treated on the spot. I only saw an occasional floaty maybe when stressed. Anyway after having the laser treatment to the torn part of my retina I am now seeing a hazey glowing ball directly opposite to the location that was treated. In addition I occasionally see flashes of light in the opposite location treated. I went to my doctor for my one month check up and I told him everything. He examined me and he said I have NO new tears. So now I’m scared why is this happening especially since before the laser treatment none of this was happening. I’m seriously freaking out and just want to know has this happened to anyone out there. My doctor said that could have been a side effect of the laser but really didn’t give me any clear answers as to why this is happening to me. I know it has to be because of the treatment because I have never had this problem. Please respond. Hoping that this subsides it’s only been 1 1/2 months so maybe I just have to be patient and it will heal and go away.

  • Jill

    I recently had a retinal tear. Looking back I started having symptoms about a week prior to going to the eye doc. I did have flashes but not how I thought a flash would be. They were very subtle and brief causing me to question if I just thought I saw something. Prob wouldn’t have paid much attention but they occurred a few times throughout that first day. A few days later I noticed a floater but have had those. What got my attention was several small specks that seemed to be floating in my eye, (turned out to be from the bleeding.) There was no pain and all the symptoms were so minuscule, I was pretty hesitant about calling when I did. Just want others to know that these symptoms aren’t necessarily going to be out waving the red flag at them.

    • Armando Garcia-Lopez

      I think I’ve had this for about 6-8 months now!! Did you get your eye fixed?

  • John Edwards

    The fluid that allows us to see properly in a small pocket in the back of our eyes, in my left eye is gone. When I look through my left eye its like looking under water. The missing fluid also creates a dip in objects like when I look at like my guitar or Bass neck. My right eye carries my vision, if I loose that too, I’m screwed. At the onset of this problem, when I opened my left eye from sleeping for example, the pain was so unbarrable I learned to be careful when I opened my eyes after sleep. But now that this situtaion is fully complete I have no more pain. Is there someone here who can exaplain how this fliud escapes the inner eye pocket? My Dr. at the time could not, he wasn’t sure how it happened. I see flashes in my left eye and black swriles when going from inside a room to outside. I would like to know more about these if anyone here knows what might be going on. Thanks!

    • Florence

      John, my advise is to see another eye “specialist.” The first symptom sounds like macular degeneration. The pain, I don’t know about. But, I’ve had high prescription for contacts all my life, and an x-husband with Macular that we did everything possible to save both eyes, and he was early 50s when he started seeing what you first described.

      • John Edwards

        The pain I am assuming was from a dry-eye. Imagin rolling your eye from sleep (dry) to wake. It felt like my eye was being torn.
        I do want to see someone else but I do not have any insurance right now. But I would like to know more for sure. I just have the problem in one eye, I think my work around sheet rock dust contributed to the problem. ((?)) It started some 10/13 years ago, I am now 58 with no more pain as I mentioned just the lack of center sight. Colors are faded or gone when I look center. Brass yellow looks more like white metal; then a hazy dark shadow like over the pupil Thanks for your reply.

        • Holly Baumgartner

          Please see another specialist and just pay him! You may be shocked at how much cheaper an appointment is when they get their $ up front.

          • John Edwards

            Holly, Respectfully, its not that I am sitting on a wad of cash and I just do not want to spend it. Right now I do not have anything to spend. Being broke for me right now is only a situation not a condition, but regardless, I am there. When I can I will. Thank you, I appreciate your comments. :-)

          • leusoh

            I would be more than happy to help you out. Contact me via email.

          • John Edwards

            replying

            Sincerely,

            John Edwards

            “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.”

            Unknown

            Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/07/24/5591809/2-get-lost-on-maine-hike-then.html#storylink=cp”

          • Lisa Patrick

            Thank you so much for helping him! Bless You.

          • Velda

            leusoh.. You have proven that compassion and humanity still exist… Bless you

        • Velda

          Mr John Edwards… Would you please update me on what has occurred since your last post… My career for 20+ years was in ophthalmology.. A technician… A retinal specialist, including photography both with and without injecting dye… A surgical assistant with experience in every aspect of the eye…(corneal, retinal (retinal detachment repair, retinal tears etc), vitrectomy, posterior chamber flush, anterior flush, countless cataract extractions ( I also did the measurements for intraocular lens, and any testing needed for that surgery)… I’ve fit glasses, contacts and any measurements required for that. Corneal surgery, which required a donor cornea.
          The list goes on and on… But.. I’m not applying for a job… I’m just a woman who has been blessed to have been given an opportunity to learn the the, at times, a very complicated yet very important organ that we depend on to see life in real time.
          Should you wish to contact me.. Let me know and I’ll give you my personal cell number.
          I can’t tell what area of the country you live in.. Which would certainly help us research who is best qualified to help you… You are a young man and hopefully you have a full life ahead of you..
          I would also appreciate the opportunity to help you should finances continue to put a road block in your path.. Which I completely understand… I’ve been there… I’ve had to learn the art of compromise and the ability to kick that road block and turn it in to pebbles…
          I’ve already prayed for you… That will continue until I know that your vision is the best it can be…
          I so admire the lady who also offered help and ones that offered good advice.

          I’ve read your post more than once and have a good idea of what issues have affected you precious vision… Again… I base my thoughts on the training of 20 years…

          Please consider my thoughts and again.. Please update me.

          I actually ran across this link by mistake… Or.. Maybe a Higher Power sent me to it… I believe the latter… I still have doctors that I can personally consult with, should the need arise.

          Sorry so long but I felt led to express my thoughts…

          Will hopefully hear from you soon….

          • John Edwards

            Dear Velda,

            I live in Western Colorado, I can call my eye doctor tomorrow, ask an assitant of his to spell out his diagnosis of my left eye. Then we can go from there.
            Thank you very much for your prayers and of your concern of my finances. Yes things are tight, have been for a while, but I continue to work on them, there’s got to be an end to this draught at some point.
            Again, I appreciate the time you have taken to go over my posts, and your prayers. I’ll be in contact soon.
            Sincerely,

            John

            ——————————

    • Louise

      John- it is possible that you have Sjogrens- which is often associated with dry eye- causes many of the symptoms you have described- look it up on-line… using over the counter drops like Thera Tears (daytime, night-time) is one of the helps recommended by drs, also prescriptions like Restasis. Corneas try to seperate if eyes not kept hydrated- the eye lids will literally stick to the eye surface and pull- (yes- it hurts!!!) Few local doctors of any kind including eye drs are familiar with this- had suffered with it since a child and ALL dr’s just shrugged off the symptoms… until finally saw someone who instantly recognized what was happening… when eyes dry- makes it so vision is fuzzy, watery, everything becomes dull-colored to pale tan or gray… eyes seal shut and “tear” to open… Sjogrens can lead to other serious complications- something to research and see if the shoe fits- diet changes, over the counter, etc. can do wonders even when no insurance is available- if Restasis is needed, the manufacturer is part of the national patient assistance program and helps people with no insurance. Please look up Sjogrens / dry eye- doing so may help YOU save your sight!!!

      • John Edwards

        Louise, I will look it up but the dry eye was from the back of my eye not at the lids. The Dr. I have said there is no cure or change that can add to my seeing like I used to or better. As soon as I can though I will go see someone else for a 2cd opinion. Thanks for your suggestions.

        • Maipelo

          Hi! I had a car accident in 2009 and after a few days I started seeing floaters nd flashes in my lefteye then I went to see the specialist nd she tld me that I have retina detachmen. I stayed for a year den in 2011 my vision got bad nd I went back to her nd she tld me dat my left eye is completely detached nd now my right eye is affected too nd she said I needed eye surgery immediately or else um going to be blind, I then went for d surgery in johannesburg eye hospital to save my only right eye. As I speak my left eye cn barely see nd iis becoming smaller bit by bit. I cnt drive, I was unable to finish my studies coz I cnt see poperly, whn I read for a long time I start having headachhes. Um 29 years of age nd in Botswana.

          • John Edwards

            Malpelo,

            Thanks for your reply. Floaters I have, not many, but a few. The issue with my left eye is that I see through it as if everything spot on is under water, I can see clearly on the sides, but my dead center vision is very poor. My right eye is 20/20.
            John

            ——————————

    • Kitty Kavanagh

      I’d also recommend looking into Sjogren Syndrome, if you haven’t already done so since this was last updated. My mother has it.

      It’s an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks various glands, including those that produce that fluid that’s missing from your left eye. It can be kind of hit and miss, attacking certain glands and not others, so Sjogren Syndrome would also be consistent with it only affecting one eye. The average age of diagnosis is 10-15 years after the onset of symptoms severe enough to warrant investigation, but my mother had to wait longer than that. Her case is quite severe and her eyes, joints, skin, GI system and lungs all now lack lubrication. But less severe and less systemic cases are the majority. As many other people with chronic illnesses do when they’re finally diagnosed, she discovered that Sjogren Syndrome explained things that had bothered her for years, to varying degrees, but which had seemed unconnected. She never expected that her dry mouth and morning joint stiffness might be caused by the same thing.

      I hope this is helpful!

      xox Kitty

      • John Edwards

        Kitty, I have an eye appointment on Tuesday. I’ll ask the Dr. about your mention. Thanks for your reply. Today my left eye hurts a bunch. I have a sinus infection ache, not sure if they are related.
        I’ll reply here, let you know what he says about your thought. My prayers are with your mom.

        ——————————

      • John Edwards

        Kitty,

        I do not have the syndrom you mentioned. My eye droctor told me what it was, but I did not wright it down.
        Good news though, after not being to see him in 2 and a half years, the condition has not gotten any worse. They could remove the small cateract condition on my left eye, but that would not improve the sight in that eye enough to matter. My right eye has 20/20 vision. I up graded my reading glasses to 2.00 up from 1.75.
        When I get the problem written down I’ll pass it along. Thanks!

        John

        ——————————

  • Mabpat

    Floaters are caused by an excess of something taken in the stomach such as vitamins or medications. You will know what it is because the floater’s will be there within a few minutes of what it is you have taken orally. They will go away when you refrain for a day or two etc of what it is that caused them. Try it for yourself.

    • Steve

      Really? Where’s the medicine and/or research behind that? I would like to know more about it.

      • Mabpat

        I am 77 years old and have watched with amazement. Years ago I was taking too many vitamins and noticed that when I took too much zinc and was getting //////’s floating across my eyes. Also similar designs with too much iron. As soon as I stopped, the floaters went away. I also got floaters that look like fuzz balls when I took too many
        vitamins, etc. So through many year I have watched this. The
        floaters come generally a few minutes after the stomach gets hit.
        I do not have any floaters today because I know what causes them. My eye doctor just gives me a funny look.
        As I said, I am 77. I do not have a doctor nor take any medication. I am healthy I do not have pains etc. I believe that people that are on medication have floaters so my advice would be to give it a rest and – stay off the stuff for a couple of days and see what happens.

        • one-eyed

          Yeah, and risk losing an eye.

          With all due deference to your age and experience:

          This might apply to you, but only a fool would take this advice instead of going to an ophthalmologist. They can at least rule out any physical problems. A week is all it takes to lose all vision in that eye and it is irrecoverable.

          • cloroform

            Funny thing, I had floaters for many years and wasn’t taking any medication at all. Now that I’m on some meds the floaters are gone…

    • Stephen

      Garbage….total and utter garbage. I have had floaters in my eyes for 6 years now. I’m 31 and they are the same size, shape and count as they were when I first noticed them.

      • Mabpat

        Stephen, try changing your diet.

    • Janette

      @Mabpat are you a real doctor or do you just play one on the Internet. Correlation isn’t causation.

      • Mabpat

        Janette, I am 77 years old and I have found this to be true by my
        personal experiences. I do not have a doctor and I am not on any
        medication. I do not have a sore bone in my body etc. etc. I listen
        to my own body. When I have cramps etc. It is always because of something
        I have eaten. When I stop eating the thing that caused my cramps (usually
        meat), the cramps go away. I love a good steak etc. so I buy my meat from
        a local butcher who carries meat from the local farmers.

        • Petvet

          Things you eat or drink can change blood pressure. For example salt raises blood pressure and increased blood pressure can cause changes in vision. So I could see SOME floaters coming and going, but mine don’t. It’s the exact same ones every day. There is one really annoying one in my right eye that looks like a gnat and I’ve swatted at it before. I got new ones a few years ago, saw a retinal specialist, and discovered I have vitrious separation. I’m a bit young for it but I still have it nonetheless.

          • Mabpat

            Years ago when I was taking multiple vitamins I did get floaters. I never take multiple vitamins anymore. I separated the water soluble (B’s, C’s, etc.) from the fat soluble (A’s, D’s, E’s etc.) because the fat soluble do not digest right away so I take them sparingly (can accumulate to a toxic lever) and the water soluble go right out with your urine.) You may want to experiment. I do not have a retina problem though. All I know is that all the floaters that I have had came about because of what went into my stomach. I do not get floaters anymore. I have not been to a doctor for several years and I so I am not on any medications. I am 78 years old this year and talk to God a lot.

  • JimBobOutInSticks

    Floaters are when you flush and they are still floating in bowl after flushing, thereby requiring a second flush.

    • Una Dagger

      Or as you mother likes to call them, “her children”.

      • WenPap

        oh my did i get a chuckle out of this reply ! lmao

    • Barbara Lyerla

      That’s not funny nor the types if floaters they’re talking about. They’re talking about floaters in your line of vision that when you look up or down left or right & you see these little fuzzy like web looking things floating in Your line of vision& it scares the bejibbies out if you. I also have dry macular degeneration & occular migraines that get an syra of a V laying on it’s side usually with black white & orange psychedelic saw toothed flashing lights that goes from center of vision to corner of eye & my peripheral vision goes away for 20- 45 minutes & then it comes back. The first time that happened I went to ER &they wouldn’t even touch me. They made me an appointment with a Dr.Shah , because they thought I had a detached retina.

  • MaryA

    Too bad this article fails to mention that floaters and flashes can also be symptoms of Lyme Disease. I had little light colored, slow moving floaters as well as fast moving dark floaters that looked like a bug zipping by. I had flashes, occasional sparkles, and once, after a coughing fit, firework-like sparkles. All resolved with long term antibiotics.

    • EdZachary

      Is there any annoying long term symptom that isn’t tied to Lyme Disease?

  • Grieving Dad

    though this information is too late for my son as I too had floaters, and when he mentioned the floaters in his vision I dismissed it as a usual occurance only to find out too late that he had macular damage from an eye disorder. only after he lost vision from detached retina did we realize the seriousness. though very treatable early, we waited too late and his loss will haunt him and me for his lifetime. PLEASE get eye checkups on a regular basis. this did not need to happen to my son.

    • Cary

      So sorry that happened to your son!!!

    • Amanda Bradfield

      I am so sorry. God bless you and your family.

  • makemwunder

    Odd……..I’ve had a lot of visible floaters all my life, but have always been healthy besides the usual broken bones of male stupidity over the years. good sight without glasses, and still dont have the “over 40 reading print at a distance” yet………….if there is something “wrong” to have these what else could it be???

    • Bill Forland

      Bill
      I’m 95 and have had a floater inmy left eye that looks like a jellyfish for over 60 yrs. About two yrs ago I developed a chang in my right eye that made vertical lines have a pucker in the middle. My opthalmoligist took a lazer picture of the inside of my eye and found that the vitrious matter had congeled and attached to my machula (sp). He said I had vitrio machular traction syndrome. I now am able to read without too much trouble because mybrain compensates for the wiggles in my right eye. There is no cure for it and I;m too old if there were. I can;t say if there is any way to prevent it but I hope none of you find out

    • salsapepper

      Some doctors attribute floaters to a congenital condition called Chiari Malformation – it can mask a lot of symptoms. I am 42 years old and was just diagnosed with it and found that the floaters and ringing in my ears plus a whole host of other issues (that I’ve had all my life) are tied into CM. Not saying you have that however the only way to diagnose CM is with an MRI of the brain. If you’ve suffered with headaches or other medical conditions all your life, the best route is to see a neurosurgeon with experience in treating Chiari because some doctors think that condition is, “all in your head” no pun intended.

      • Trish

        My daughter has this. Been a rough road so far…

  • Darrell Ray

    They forgot to list parasites

  • Bucktooth

    How about cleansing the liver and kidneys? Eye exercises..muscles of the eye need exercise! Chinese herbs also..it works!

  • Fran

    I had a torn retina this past summer. When it pulled it took a blood vessel with it. Thank GOD the sepcialist was at my local eye drs. office the next day & did lazer surgery on the retina. However he could not do anything for the blood residue floating around in my eye which has not completely gone away. He said it would take time and that was almost 4 months ago. Anyone know of anyway to help wash it out?

    • Jean

      Fran, Depending on the degree and amount of blood floating around in your eye, if it blocks your vision much of the day, then perhaps look into a vitrectomy surgery where the vitreous gel that the blood is floating in is removed along with the blood. Supposedly the body replaces the old fluid. But be warned this is major surgery which has risks. I’m sure your doctor may have already discussed this with you and determined your condition is not serious enough to warrant the surgery which includes further risks. A retina specialist should perform the surgery. Perhaps you should give it up to a year to dissolve the blood into your system before you make any decision; or get an evaluation from a Retina Specialist; and prayer really works to the One True God. He hears and answers

  • Steve

    I had a nail come back and hit me in the eye. It hit hard, but luckily with the flat end..There was some bleeding and right away the left side of my left eyes vision was hazy. It cleared up in minutes and two days later flashes started in same spot-perifrial vision of left yet.. Went to a retinal specialist who said everything looked good- Nobody knows whats up. I have had floaters my whole life. So as Im done with doctors I turn you internet comment kings for help.

  • donna

    No one has mentioned diabetes. I’ve had several laser surgeries to stop bleeding vessels. I see the scar tissue in the same way looking into the light. I do have floaters to. I can’t drive at night. My eyes get dry and itchy. I wear glasses for reading and sometimes just find myself wanting to keep my eyes closed so I don’t see the objects. I have my diabetes under control but I still have to blink several times to get my eyes to focus especially in reading. If this is all that happens to me I’m grateful. I wouldn’t want some of your problems just as I’m sure you don’t want them either.

    • XYZ005

      Donna, aren’t there drops to hydrate the eyes that you can use?

  • Chrissy

    They don’t mention its a symptom of a forthcoming migraine either. Had them for years…both of them.

  • CM0BR

    Some eye flashes are caused from ocular migraines. .
    I have those migraines and always see flashes before a headache starts.

  • Alison Marks

    Just thought I would share an experience in
    case it helps someone.
    Hubby had a very watery eye one day. The
    next day he woke up with white flashes in the other eye they were c shape.
    We went to the eye clinic. The consultation took about 8 minutes, and then drops were put in the eye. Then the eye was lasered to attach the torn retina. That bit took about three and a half minutes. Waiting around etc took about three hours in all.
    It would not be possible to safely drive home afterwards.
    The advice was that you were as good as new the next day and could use the computer etc. This was not true at all for hubby who has aching eye and slightly burred vision. My daughter did a placement in this department and she says she remembers the lady saying that it is always accountants and techie people that suffer from this – I don’t know how true this is but it is something to consider. One week on the check up was fine. Eye still aches a bit and vision a bit blurry ,like opaque floaters going past your vision.

  • Paul

    Warning!
    Over the years I have had “floaters” once in a great while. Mine started with a small circle of flashing dots. Over a period of about 15 minutes the circle of flashes kept growing larger until the diameter of the circle exceeded the diameter of my eye’s view and it was gone.
    A month ago, I started getting these floaters every half hour over a period of about 4 days. On the 4th day, I was driving on the freeway and my whole face started burning – across my forehead, down my face and behind my eyes. Could not figure out what was happening. Then within a minute, my whole right side of my body went numb and I could not talk right, just garbled words. Lasted for about 20 minutes and then I was normal. It turns out that it was a stroke and I had 3 more of those that evening including 2 in the hospital. They did CATS, MRI, Ultrasounds etc. and found evidence of a stroke in the occipital lobe of my brain. They put me on blood thinners, afterwhich I have not had floater since. When I was admitted my Neurologist assured me that the stroke and floaters were not related but has since changed opinion and now thinks they were a prelude (Warning!) to the strokes.

    • Petvet

      Wow I’m glad you are ok! Awesome of you to post this…maybe it will save someone’s life!

    • Mabpat

      WOW, you could have been killed. Glad you made it ok. By the way, vitamin C is a blood thinner and puts oxygen in your blood. When I have felt pain which I thought might be a heart attack/stroke, I would take 3000 mg of vitamin C and lay down. Within 20 mins it would go away. That was several years ago when I was very busy and not watching what I ate. (Keep in mind, I am not a doctor)

      • Kitty Kavanagh

        I’ve read several comments of yours on this thread. You are giving out terrible medical advice. Elsewhere, you suggested that people taking medications should stop doing so and see if their eye floaters go away and now, you’re suggesting that completely unexplained pain (which you’ve acknowledged seemed consistent with a heart attack or stroke) can be resolved with a high dose of vitamin C. If that really had been a heart attack, on any of those occasions, then 3g of vitamin C would NOT have resolved the issue and you would very likely have DIED.

        Anyone experiencing chest pain or signs of a stroke (everyone please Google how to check yourself for the major warning signs — we should all know them) should call an ambulance and follow the operator’s instructions until paramedics arrive. Unlike Mabpat, I’m a straight-A Biomedical Science student (Human Genetics major) and I actually know what I’m talking about. If it turns out to be nothing serious, no medical professional in their right mind will tell you off for having called that ambulance.

        Paul, I’m really glad you’re okay and thank you for sharing your story. What you described as floaters, a lot of people also experience in the lead up to or during a migraine, as part of their ‘aura’ symptoms. That means that a lot of us might brush them off as ‘just’ a migraine thing, even when they’re frequent over the day or don’t dissipate. But if someone experiences them the way you did, then that’s a serious warning sign and may well indicate a stroke, as it did for you. Those aura symptoms accompanied by a sudden inability to speak coherently (either suddenly forgetting almost all words or thinking one word, but saying another) or suddenly being unable to understand other people or written words may also indicate stroke, although these can just be unusual migraine symptoms. There is an elevated risk of stroke among migraine sufferers, as well. Thanks again for posting that!

        xox Kitty

  • Thomas Donahue

    I told my mom and dad one day that I was seeing spots in front of my eyes. They said did you see a doctor ! I said no… just spots. Lol

  • wendy

    The flashes like bolts of lightening can also be due to ocular migraines that Dr. Singh didnt mention.

  • Elizabeth

    I.had this. Can this happen if Ur surgar low I have had this for 20 years when I eat it go away then my head hurt for 2 to 3 hours “/

  • John

    Any info on retinal pucker and long term consequences?

    • Miss Terry

      John, Just started following your posts. I have the “pucker” there is surgery but I was told it has to mature just like cataracts A friend recently had the surg. and is seeing great. She had the pucker for years.
      .

  • MaryMaryMo

    Only got floaters after I had LASIK and have had them ever since.

  • transplantedTexan

    If you have any changes in vision, RUN, don’t walk, to an ophthalmologist!
    My brother noticed a blurring in the center of his vision on one eye, and just attributed it to the need for prescription change for his contacts/glasses. Being busy, he put it off doing anything for some time. When he finally went to optometrist, she thought he had retacting retina, so arranged immediate appt with retina specialist,100 mi away in Dallas, who realized it was a tumor.
    Then began a scramble to find a center who could take him asap. Wills, at Jefferson in Philadelphia, was able to get to him soonest – 2 weeks, but in interim had to go to Dallas twice weekly. Wills diagnosed it as uveal ocular melanoma (basically skin cancer of the eye – from not protecting his eyes from the sun). After dicussion, the expected treatment of a radioactive patch to back of eye to keep from metastizing to the brain, followed by chemo, turned into eye removal 2 days later.
    This cancer is extremely rare (under 2000/year), and survival is usually about a year. He had to travel DFW-PHL twice monthly, since removal in Aug 2012. Despite all efforts, it has metastasized, and treatment transferred last month to NYC, as a last ditch effort, into a new trial, but the way things stand now, my brother is unlikely to make it to his only daughter’s wedding this Aug. He considers himself lucky to have beat the odds by making it almost 2 years.
    The constant traveling, plus deductibles and co-pays, have nearly bankrupted him.
    The moral of story – do not ignore anything. It could cost you your life!

  • steph

    Hi im in bed and its dark in my room, and i just looked outside and everytime i looked to the left and focused i saw blue flashing but everytime i try to look at it it moves to the opposite direction and i cant see it apart from at the corner?

  • Chareece

    I was diagnosed with several retina tears and retina detachments in both my left and right eye. I had surgery to fix the problem and Dr. Daniel Martin had to put in Sceleral Buckles in both my eyes. The surgery was painful but so worth it. I strongly encourage anyone who is having floaters to get their eyes examined. I was told by one doctor that it was all in my head only to find out that I was going blind.

  • Beth Rivers

    I never had floaters until I had the multi focal lens put in when I had cataract surgery.
    I am sorry I had it done and am considering having them removed and resent the fact the doctor said I will not receive any money back at all. I have expressed how much I hate the results and they keep trying to tell me it’s in my head. The floaters are many and often and I saw better before surgery.

    • Kitty Kavanagh

      Sounds like it’s time to see a lawyer. I’m sorry to hear you had such an awful outcome and that your doctor is being so difficult. I hope you can get your money back through legal action and have this all dealt with.

      xox Kitty

  • Patty

    I woke up with like paint all around my eye, you know how a paint can looks like with all the drippings all around the top well that’s how my eye looked when I opened it. I could see thru the middle but not around the edges at all. I kept blinking and after a few minutes it went away never happened to me before.. scary!!!!

  • jb

    Whenever I see a floater I flush it

  • Christine

    I forgot to eat this morning and while I was at work all of a sudden I could read the papers on my desk. I had blurry spots in my vision. I decided maybe I should eat something and within 15 minutes after eating my vision cleared. This is the second time this has happened. Does anyone know why this would happen?

    • Christine

      Oops I meant I couldn’t read the papers

  • roni

    Im 13 I got in a fight and have had floaters for the past 2-3 they occur atleast 3 times a day and honestly im scared and dont know whats going on

  • Jill Phillips

    I really have not had any vision problems other than aging eyesight, but I am interested in finding out what the bacterial organism is that is similar in appearance to the shape of a tulip with a thin stem like structure attached. I have on several occasions caught this in the reflection of the side of my glass frames when the light is just right. I very clearly can see this. It is fascinating because it actually stays in one spot and makes aggressive up and down motions on its stem as if it is trying to eat other bacteria in the eye. I am assuming that it is some kind of organism that helps keep the eye clean, but when I have asked about this, nobody seems to understand what it is. I could not find any information on this subject on the internet either. I really don’t think it is a floater. Interested in what it is.

  • JM Indy

    I used to watch my floaters as a boredom buster during conferences. I could identify them – the stapler, the sperm and so on. Then the floaters turned into larger masses and I had to have a PVC procedure to remove them. I have a few floaters now, but my vision is much clearer.

  • Gabriel

    While there may be multiple questions in this regards, the ultimate question for those who are not in the extreme floater situation but who suffer while reading or driving… Is there a solution?!!! It seems like because it is not a critical issue, the answer is just: live with it! In my case, I’m the CEO of a medium size (health) company who has, in my opinion, an uncomfortable floater situation which does influence on my reading and focusing on presentations!! I loose focus when these things get in the way, pushing me to move my eyes contantly to avoid these things in my vision, and making this an unbearable situation. I’ve heard about using laser to destroy these floaters… Is this a solution? What’s being done to help us miope human beings…

  • hans magno

    I see blur in my eyes like blurry on tv

  • Martha Youstra

    A friend had this at 17 years old. She would squint alot, and had the retna operation to save her from going blind.

  • Jarrod

    hi I’m a 14 year old boy who lives at penrith. after 5 minutes of laying down at night I see flashes and floaties which make my stomach ache and I feel my heart beat fast. I’m not sure if I have anxiety because it has been happening since Friday night I’ve only been able to sleep for 3 hours a night. should I see a local doctor for help?

  • Jarrod

    hi I’m a 14 year old boy who lives at penrith. after 5 minutes of laying down at night I see flashes and floaties which make my stomach ache and I feel my heart beat fast. I’m not sure if I have anxiety because it has been happening since Friday night I’ve only been able to sleep for 3 hours a night. should I see a local doctor for help?

  • Jarrod

    hi I’m a 14 year old boy who lives at penrith. after 5 minutes of laying down at night I see flashes and floaties which make my stomach ache and I feel my heart beat fast. I’m not sure if I have anxiety because it has been happening since Friday night I’ve only been able to sleep for 3 hours a night. should I see a local doctor for help?

  • Dee

    I usually see a flashing light looking like a reflection from a mirror about 4 times a day. any one with an idea of what it could be?

  • Erica

    I was only 16 when I had my retinal detachment in my right eye. I was born with cataracts so this was something I was used too, not being able to see fully put of both eyes. However I will never forget, I was at the movies with my mom and nana and all of a sudden it was like a big dark cloud came down over my eye, then the lightning flashes, I rubbed my eye not wanting to think anything of it till the movie was over. Scariest time ever, went to my eye Dr first thing that next morning, to find out I had to have emergency surgery right away. They prepped me, put me under, but did not give me enough cause I woke up while they were doing the surgery and felt them placing the buckle in my eye… after this surgery scar tissue remains 20 years later and I am blind in my right eye. Your eyes are not something to play with, also cataracts are totally congenital as my 4 year old was born with them too, has already gone through surgeries of her own, I thank God that technology has come a long way since the 80 and 90s….

  • Regina G Fisher

    I just had an appointment for my floaters and was basically told the same thing as your article stared. I have to return for a follow up in about two weeks.

  • George Kerr

    Once in a while I get bright zig zag circles or sometimes semi circles, with a mild headache or none at all. I read where it could be a pre migraine sign. Should I be worried about this?

    • HealthHubTeam1

      Hi George,

      Its hard to say what could be causing this. We would recommend you have a full exam with an ophthalmologist who can help to determine the cause and verify there are no significant issues. Should you like to see one of our experts, please call 216.444.2020 or 800.223.2273 ext 42020.

  • Rita Haeffner

    What causes the top eyelids to spasm?

    • HealthHubTeam1

      Hi Rita,
      Eyelid muscle spasms can be caused by a variety of things (metabolic imbalances, nerve issues, etc). If it happens frequently, it is best to have a full eye exam by an ophthalmologist who can help determine the cause. Should you be interested in seeing one of our experts, please call 216.444.2020 or 800.223.2273 ext 42020.

  • Carlene

    While in the shower I had bunches of black and orange lights. Did not last long. What easy it?