Saturday, April 20, 2024

Seeing Flashing Lights In Vision

Watch Out For These Conditions:

I see flashes of light in my vision. Should I worry?
  • Floaters are the specs, bugs, and threads that dart in and out of your field of vision.
  • Floaters occur as the eye ages and, while annoying, are usually harmless.
  • Floaters that appear suddenly or are accompanied by flashes of light can signal a retinal tear or detachment.
  • Early diagnosis of retinal tears and detachments can lead to early treatment and may prevent vision loss.
  • Floaters or spots in the eye can be the beginning of a retinal detachment.

Are Flashing Lights A Sign Of Retinal Detachment

Flashing lights do not automatically mean that you have a retinal tear but you do need examination by a retinal specialist to rule out a tear and to treat if necessary. A retinal tear develops when the vitreous pulls on a weakened area of the retina or an area where the vitreous gel is more strongly attached .The retinal tear is visible on the retina only with an extensive examination by a specialist. The advantage of diagnosing a retinal tear is that it can be treated before it causes a sight-threatening retinal detachment.

Are Eye Floaters Normal

Eye floaters are often a normal and common part of the aging process. As you get older, the fluid within your eyes shrinks. This is normal and doesnt mean that your eyes are no longer healthy. It is important to maintain regular eye exams over time, especially if you are experiencing floaters. They usually arent something you need to be concerned about, but its a good idea to have your eyes regularly checked to make sure there arent any other serious eye issues.

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Flashes Floaters And Vitreous Detachment

State of the art technology lets us determine ifthese floaters are the sign of a Retinal Tear

They can be harmless or indicative of very serious eye problems. Almost everyone has experienced spots floating in his or her field of vision. Typically, they are seen in the same eye and in the same part of that eye. Sometimes one can make them disappear by merely turning the head, moving the eyes, or blinking. When the spots appear rather fuzzy and seem to be strung together with a web-like thread, they are called floaters . Flashes are bright points of light that literally flash into the field of vision when the eyelids are open or closed. They usually appear as if someone is shining a flashlight from the side of your eye. Flashes come and go in an instant and normally occur in only one eye at a time. They can indicate vitreous detachment or a serious eye disorder.

Both flashes and floaters can be harmless symptoms of aging eyes, or they can be indicators of a serious eye disorder such as a torn retina. Therefore, if you experience new symptoms, you should call the office immediately and have your eyes examined to determine if this is a sight-threatening condition.

Eye Anatomy And Flashes

Seeing Flashing Lights Blurred Vision

Lets consider the function of the retina and vitreous humor to better understand these flashes.

  • The retina is a thin light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the inside of your eye. It transmits electrical signals to your brain via the optic nerve. The job of the retina is to process the focused light that comes in through your pupil and to let your brain convert this information into a picture.
  • The vitreous humor is a clear jelly-like fluid that takes up a large part of the back of your eye. It protects the retina and helps your eye maintain its shape.

While there are many reasons you may see flashes of light in your eye, pressure or force on the retina are most often the causes. These flickers of light happen in the back part of your eye where the retinas located.

Tiny fibers float in the vitreous fluid and are attached to the retina. When these fibers get pulled or rubbed, it can cause flashes or light sparks from the friction.

Flashes of light in the eye are typically not a condition on their own. Instead, they tend to be a symptom of another condition.

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When To Speak With A Doctor

Because its possible to have diabetic retinopathy and not know it, its important for people with diabetes to keep up with regular eye exams.

If you have diabetes and notice changes in your eyesight, it could be a sign of diabetic neuropathy. Reasons to call your doctor include:

  • diminished vision in one or both eyes
  • seeing flashing lights

Floaters And Flashes Are Usually Harmless

If you sometimes see:

  • floaters such as small dark dots, squiggly lines, rings or cobwebs
  • flashes of light

in your vision, it’s not usually 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.

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Top 3 Reasons Why You See Flashing Lights In Your Eye

Has this ever happened to you? Youre going about your dayrunning errands, grocery shopping, taking care of yard workwhen you suddenly see flashing lights in your eye that take you by surprise. You know it wasnt a camera flash or a strike of lightning, but youre not sure how to explain the phenomenon. To your luck, theres a medical explanation for the flashing lights in your eyes.

Lets explore the vision-related causes of these eye flashes and floaters along with when you need to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

Taking Care Of Yourself

Why am I Seeing Flashes of Light? | Florida Eye Specialists

Kaleidoscope vision can be disturbing, especially if it catches you at a bad time. Try to see it as a helpful indicator that a painful migraine may be on the horizonone you can head off at the pass with medication before it ruins your day. If the changes in your vision are a recent phenomenon, speak with your doctor about whats going on to make sure those zigzagging sparkles are nothing more than a nuisance.

Up next, try these home remedies for migraines.

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What Questions Will My Doctor Ask Me About Eye Floaters And Flashes During An Appointment

During an appointment to diagnosis eye floaters, your eye care provider will want to get as many details as possible about your vision and what youve been seeing. This is part of the diagnosis process and helps your provider figure out whats going on with your vision. The more detail you can provide, the better. Some questions you provider may ask you can include:

  • When did you first notice the eye floaters?
  • What do your eye floaters look like and how many do you usually see at a time?
  • How often do you experience eye floaters?
  • Have you ever seen flashes in your vision?
  • Have you had any eye surgeries in the past?
  • Have you ever had an eye injury?
  • Are any parts of your vision covered ?
  • Do you see any shadows on the side of your vision ?
  • Do you have any autoimmune diseases?
  • Do you have diabetes?

Sometimes it can help to start a journal when you first experience a vision problem. Write down everything you saw and details like how long it lasted. This can be a helpful tool when you go into your providers office for your appointment.

Can Flashes Be Serious

Most flashes are caused by changes in the vitreous humour which are related to age and which are harmless. Occasionally flashes can be a sign that the retina is at risk of being torn or detached. Increasing, persistent or constant flashes all suggest strong pulling on the retina and may mean that you are at risk of retinal damage. Flashes accompanied by a shadow coming down over your vision is suggestive of retinal detachment.

Some people are at greater risk of retinal detachment than others, including those who have already had a retinal detachment in the other eye, those with inflammatory eye disorders such as uveitis, or degenerative conditions of the retina, those who have had significant eye trauma or surgery, and those with a family history of retinal detachment. People who are extremely short-sighted are at higher risk, as the globe of their eye tends to be longer so that the vitreous is more likely to pull away.

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Why Am I Seeing Spots

Seeing spots refers to specks, cobweb-like images, and threads that drift across your line of vision.5 Most of the time, seeing spots is not a cause for concern. Spots in your field of vision may be floaters, a common and normal part of aging.

Sometimes, seeing spots can be a warning sign of a serious underlying condition that requires medical attention. Sudden black spots in your vision or white spots that appear as light flashes may not be floaters.

What Are Causes Of Pvd

What Can Cause Flashes Of Light In Your Eyes

Age is the primary cause of PVD. As you age, it becomes harder for the vitreous to maintain its original shape. The vitreous gel shrinks and becomes more liquid-like, yet the cavity between your lens and retina remains the same size.

The more the gel shrinks or condenses, the easier it is for the vitreous to detach from the retina.

Most people experience PVD after the age of 60, but it can happen at an earlier age. It isnt as common in people under the age of 40.

Risk factors for early PVD include:

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When To See An Eye Doctor For Eye Flashes

Without an exam, it is impossible to tell if flashes are a result of a clean separation or a retinal tear. Thats why its so important to see an ophthalmologist and have the symptoms evaluated, said Dr. Schuman. In the case of posterior vitreous detachment, if flashes occur, they usually subside immediately when the separation is complete and the vitreous tug is released. However, this can sometime take a few days. To get a complete view of your retina, your eyes will be dilated. Your doctor will look for retinal tears, retinal detachment, and any retinal thinning. If a retinal tear is diagnosed, in some cases it can be repaired with an out-patient procedure like laser treatment or cryotherapy. If retinal detachment is identified, you may need surgery immediately to prevent or minimize permanent vision loss.

As a retina specialist, Dr. Schuman sees an average of two to three patients with eye flashes each week. While the condition is more common for older and extremely nearsighted people, he encourages everyone to be on the lookout for telltale signs of retinal tears and detachment. Knowing that repeated eye flashes are a danger signal could save your vision.

Do Flashes And Floaters Every Go Away

Flashes may persist for several months and may occasionally last close to a year. They are caused by the movement of the collapsed vitreous bumping or tugging in the retina within the eye. They are most apparent in the dark Floaters may gradually diminish as time goes by, but they will not go away completely. They are most apparent against a light background. If you experience flashes or floaters, we recommend you have an eye examination.

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What Causes Flashing Lights In Both Eyes

Flashing lights in both eyes can be caused by head trauma or migraine headaches. Usually, migraine headaches are one-sided, and can be preceded by strange visual hallucinations as well as tear production of the eye and congestion of the nose. They are usually made better by a dark, silent room. Neither of these causes are life threatening and both are temporary. If flashing lights in both eyes persist, seek medical attention.

What Is Kaleidoscope Vision


Dazzling fragments, brightly colored specks and wavy images that suddenly change sizethats how the world looks through the lens of kaleidoscope vision. These distortions hang out in the periphery of your visionannoying enough to distract you, but not large enough to totally obstruct your ability to see.

Despite your sight being altered, kaleidoscope vision is not caused by your eyes. Technically speaking, it is a type of visual aura that occurs in response to a sudden increase in neuronal activity. It’s how the vision pathways work inside the brain, says Lisa Lystad, M.D., an ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Its not an eye issue. The flashing lights typically happen on the same side of both eyes at the same time , but it can seem as though one eye is affected more than the other, since the outer corner has a greater range of peripheral vision than the inner one.

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Stages 1 To : Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Together, the first 3 stages are known as nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy . Its called nonproliferative because the eye doesnt make new blood vessels during the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. Nonproliferative retinopathy is also known as background retinopathy.

During the early stages of retinopathy, you might not notice problems with your vision, but your eye doctor will usually be able to detect changes to your retina.

There are 3 nonproliferative stages of retinopathy:

  • Stage 1: Mild nonproliferative retinopathy. Tiny blood vessels in the retina swell, and some may start to leak.
  • Stage 2: Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy. Blockages begin in some blood vessels. Usually, theres leakage from blood vessels.
  • Stage 3: Severe nonproliferative retinopathy. Blockages are more widespread, causing parts of the retina to be cut off from blood flow. As blood flow is lost, these parts of the retina can become damaged.

Who Develops Flashes Floaters And Haloes

Most people will notice occasional floaters, as there are often small opacities and crystals in the vitreous. Because more marked floaters, together with flashes and haloes, are mostly caused by conditions occurring naturally in older eyes, most people who experience them are over 60 years of age, although occasional floaters are not uncommon in people in their 40s and 50s.

Children and young adults may also experience flashes, floaters and haloes, particularly if there has been trauma or surgery to the eye or if they have other existing eye disease. These might include inflammatory conditions of the eye like uveitis, and conditions which can affect the retina like sickle cell disease and the form of retinopathy that can affect very premature babies.

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What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy

High levels of blood sugar over long periods cause diabetic retinopathy. This excess sugar damages the blood vessels that supply the retina with blood. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for retinopathy.

The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of the eye. Its sensitive to light, and when light enters your eye, it sends nerve signals to the brain. In the brain, those signals are translated into what you see.

When blood vessels of the retina are damaged, they can become blocked, which cuts off some of the retinas blood supply. This loss of blood flow can cause other, weaker blood vessels to grow. These new blood vessels can leak and create scar tissue that can cause a loss of vision.

Its hard to say exactly how many people with diabetes will develop retinopathy. In a 2016 study, 24.5 percent .

The longer you have diabetes, the higher your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy become. Keeping your diabetes under control can help slow the progression.

People with preexisting diabetes who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant should have a comprehensive eye exam to determine if they have signs of retinopathy. This is because retinopathy can worsen rapidly during pregnancy.

Your doctor can diagnose diabetic retinopathy using a dilated eye exam. This involves the use of eye drops that make the pupils open wide, allowing your doctor to get a good look at the inside of your eye.

Your doctor will check for:

  • abnormal blood vessels
  • optic nerve damage

Why Do I See Rings Or Flashing Lights In My Field Of Vision

What Causes Flashing Lights In One Eye

If you see flashes of light in your peripheral vision, or you notice rings of light or halos in your line of sight from time to time, it is wise to book an appointment with your optometrist.

What could flashes in my vision mean?

There are a number of reasons why you may see what appear to be flashes of light. In many cases, halos and glare occur in your field of vision when there is a sudden change in light – for example, if you come out of a dark cinema into the bright sunlight. This is a normal response to bright lights, and will fade as your eyes adjust to your new surroundings. For some people, flashing circles in their peripheral vision go hand-in-hand with severe headaches or migraines. Make note of any other symptoms – like headaches – you are experiencing, as this can help your optometrist make an informed diagnosis. Flashes and lights could also be a sign that your glasses or contact lens prescription needs to be changed – as soon as your vision is corrected, the problem will likely disappear. If you are seeing halos in your field of vision, this could also be a symptom of cataracts. Others may experience flashing, rings of light or halos as a result of problems with the vitreous, which is the gel-like fluid inside your eye that liquefies with age. Sudden flashes could indicate a very serious issue – retinal detachment – which should be treated as an emergency.

What can I do to treat my symptoms?

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