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Dr. James
Dr. James, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 2286
Experience:  Eye Physician and Surgeon
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Is there any reason to be concerned when one has flashe

Customer Question

Is there any reason to be concerned when one has flashes of light zipping downward in one eye?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. James replied 6 years ago.

Have you had eye surgery?
Do you see new floaters in your eyes?
How many times have you seen the flashes?
Any change in vision?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I had cataract surgery in both eyes last year. I don't see any new floaters in either eye. I saw the flashes (about ten) last night just before going to bed, and again tonight (this time about 20) on the way home after dark. No change in vision that I can notice.

Expert:  Dr. James replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for the reply.

You are likely experiencing a PVD or posterior vitreous detachment, a common event that happens in many people and happens with increased frequency after cataract surgery.

You have a thick gel material in the middle of your eyes. Over time as it liquefies, this gel material collapses on itself and pulls away from the wall of the eye. In the process it can stimulate the retina -- causing the flashes that you see.

It is recommend that you see your ophthalmologist to look at the retina to make sure there are no problems such as a retinal hole or tear. In most cases, there are no problems, but this exam in precautionary and allows for preventative treatment of any lesions that are found.

If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light (like a lightening storm), or a shadow/veil in the periphery of your vision, this can be worrisome for a retinal detachment. You would need to contact your ophthalmologist promptly in that case.

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