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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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one of my eye..I wear contact lenses and have done

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I have for the last day been been experiencing something strange with one of my eyes.

There is a flash, like you get after you look at something bright, whenever I blink and what I can only describe as like a fingerprint shape blob in my field of vision which casts a shadow over whatever i'm looking at, it moves when I move my eye but won't go.

I wear contact lenses and have done for the last 10yrs (i'm 30yrs old) but never had any problems with them and my other eye is fine.

Any ideas on what the cause/treatment is for this please??

Hello and thanks for your question.


Flashing lights can be due to traction on the retina from the vitreous jelly (occupies most of the volume of the back of the eye and is connected to the retina). If you have floating dots or spots that are new and that tend to follow your eye movements, floating behind and then catching up to the same position they occupied before then your symptoms sound consistent with what are called vitreous floaters. These floating spots or smudges as some people call them, are tiny pieces of the vitreous jelly that occupies a large amount of the volume of the back of the eye. This vitreous jelly, when we're born, is the consistency of a jello jiggler (thick jello). As we age it liquifies and becomes more fibrous bands and water.


Because of this liquification and the resultant fibrous bands that are left, there becomes more points of traction that the jelly exerts on the back of the eye where it is attached. As we move our eyes in different directions and as our pupils change shape, or even as we rub our eyes, some of these bands can become unattached from the back of the eye and a piece of it floats around, attached still to the rest of the jelly. It is this traction of the vitreous jelly on the retina that can produce these flashes. These flashes tend to be small, like starbursts and are usually intermittent; they can also appear as an arcing light. This process can happen more frequently in an eye that has had surgery. Trauma, such as what happened to you yesterday can also be an instigating cause of these symptoms.


One of the most important things to understand these flashes is that this tractional process can rarely lead to a retinal detachment, so it is important to know the 4 signs of a possible retinal detachment. These are: 1. sudden increase in or new floaters, 2. flashing or arcing lights that are persistent and not going away, 3. a shade/shadow/spot in your vision that you can't see light through, or 4. a large drop in your vision which doesn't improve after a few minutes. For any of these symptoms you must see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.


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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 see an eye doctor.

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