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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
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Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I am seeing sparkles at random times in my eyes, ALWAYS in

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I am seeing sparkles at random times in my eyes, ALWAYS in my periphery. I'm being honest, 99% of the occasions happen in my home. Example: sitting, watching TV, on the computer. I am not sure if it's a eye-electrical thing, perhaps from viewing electronic screens alot? It is not upon standing fast, it's only when resting and its always one single sparkle that appears to have no particular color. I think it might be in my left eye but I cannot tell. I've heard other stories where they see a rush of lights like a shower, mine is seriously ONE single little twinkle. I have 20/20 vision and blood pressure around 120/80.
Being honest I've had some other medical issues being investigated like Lyme Disease. No definitive evidence so far, but I thought some of my lightheadedness, and rush feeling upon standing were related to the possible Lyme Disease. I have had very rare occasions were I feel lightheaded, but most of the time the light sightings are when I feel totally fine.
Medications: Nuvaring, mulitvitamin w/ iron, potassium on occasion. I have not had an eye exam in over a year, but feeling like after 3 months of seeing these with it not changing, maybe it's time. What is your preliminary thoughts?

The symptoms you are describing sound consistent with a phenomenon called photopsias. These are usually solitary and random flashing lights that can happen at any time, but usually happen when the eye is rubbed, or when the pupils changes diameter (such as changing lighting environments), or when the eye moves.


The photopsia is a direct result of traction on the retina. There is jelly occupying a large volume of the back of the eye which is attached to the retina which is at the very back of the eye. As we get older this jelly starts to liquefy and there are tractional bands which pull on the retina as these things happen. When they do, your brain interprets this as a flash.


Often times little floating things (like dots or spider webs or gnats) tend to float around the vision and are more often seen against a bright or white background. Regardless of whether your have floaters or not, you should be aware of the signs of a retinal detachment, since this is the worst possible sequelae of these photopsias. 1) a sudden onset of numerous floaters, 2) these photopsias, or flashing lights, that are not just intermittent and solitary but that are persistent and consistent, not going away; 3) a shade or shadow pulling over your vision that you can't see through; and 4) your vision getting a lot worse all of a sudden. For any of these reasons you should seek help from an ophthalmologist immediately. This complication is fortunately rare, but it's good to at least know those signs in advance.


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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must be examined by your doctor.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Photopsia? Hmm, I'll have to investigate more into that as well. If it occurs as we age can you answer why this'd happen in a fairly healthy 25 year old who has had excellent vision until now? I will definitely schedule an eye exam.
That does sound consistent about the lighting evironment, and the fact that the dots of light happen usually on the white wall around the TV area. Thanks.
It actually happens to many people earlier in life. Some are more nearsighted and it can happen to them earlier, but some it just happens to. I started having them around age 25 as well. The presence of these photopsias is not dependent on poor vision to exist; in fact most people who have them usually have fine vision, unless they've had some major problem with the eye or surgery on the eye.
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