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Flashes need immediate medical diagnosis by an eye specialist because of the risk of the severe retinal detachment, which can cause vision loss. However, other causes of flashes (and floaters) are more common than retinal detachment, such as vitreous detachment due to aging. Flashes are caused by improper stimulation of the eye's retina, or the optic nerve, which the brain interprets as light. Flashes may occur on movement of the eye, such as in vitreous detachment where the vitreous is pulling on the retina and eye movement exacerbates the effect.