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Flashes of Light: Are they serious?

Flashes of light are pinpricks or spots of light that you see in your line of vision. People commonly state seeing flashes of light is like seeing “shooting stars” or “lightning streaks.” Flashes of light in your vision originated from inside your eye. They are not brought on by lights or anything else beyond your own body.

The majority of flashes happen when the vitreous gel or the glasslike liquid inside the eye shrinks or changes due to various reasons including trauma, pulling on the retina (the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye with photosensitive cells). Flashes of light can additionally take place if you’re hit in the eye or if you massage your eyes hard. In both instances, the flashes are triggered by physical pressure on the retina.

Flashes of light usually appear and afterwards fade quickly. On the other hand, bright areas, lines or spots that show up and remain in place for an amount of time may be migraine aura or a symptom of another condition which may be causing them. Migraine aura might look like shimmering jagged lines or appear wavy, like heat waves and may take both shapes. Migraine aura can show up even if you do not get any type of headache, usually associated with migraine.

Light rays that you may see around lamps, headlights or streetlights may be a symptom of cataract or an effect from an intraocular lens (IOL) or refractive surgical treatment.

Many patients will certainly see periodic flashes of light, specifically as they age. These periodic flashes are usually safe, but you should review them with your eye doctor through an eye exam. Nonetheless, if you unexpectedly start seeing repeated flashes of light, this might be a major problem, specifically if you also have cloudy floaters or vision changes along with the previous symptoms.

Call your eye doctor or ophthalmologist right now if:

  • You instantly begin seeing flashes when you haven’t before

  • You have an abrupt increase in flashes of light

  • You see flashes of light together with cloudiness or dark spots in your vision

  • You see a dark spot or ‘curtain’ across your vision

  • You see flashes of light after being struck in the eye or face

Unexpectedly seeing new floaters as well as flashes, without any preceding events might mean your retina has torn or detached. This is an extremely severe condition that your ophthalmologist must treat rapidly to prevent loss of sight.

There is no treatment for occasional flashes of light brought on by vitreous modifications from aging. Occasional flashes do not cause any kind of damages and also most people get used to them after a bit. If you’re seeing a great deal of flashes of light, treatment of the underlying condition will normally minimize the frequency of flashes you see.

These problems can cause flashes of light:

  • Detached and Torn Retina

  • Migraine headache

Various other symptoms that might look like flashes of light include:

  • Distorted vision (with migraine)

  • Halos around lights

  • Starbursts around lights

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