Question:

I’m seeing a bunch of new floaters today. Does this really qualify as an emergency during the coronavirus pandemic?
Answer:

New floaters may be a sign of a problem such as a retinal tear, bleeding inside the eye or a retinal detachment. That said, most floaters are harmless and not a threat to your vision. But floaters can be a sign of a more serious problem that require an exam. These signs include:

  • floaters appearing darker than normal
  • seeing an increased number of floaters 
  • seeing flashing lights
  • noticing loss of vision, including peripheral (side) vision

Many ophthalmology practices are running limited hours with certain restrictions in place during the COVID pandemic, so it is best to call your ophthalmologist first to discuss your symptoms to determine if an exam is necessary. Generally, and particularly now during this public health emergency, it is best to call your ophthalmologist right away for floaters/flashes evaluation rather than going to an emergency room or urgent care center. An ER or urgent care center will send you to an ophthalmologist for evaluation.
Answered By: George A Williams, MD

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