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Dr. A.S. Desai
Dr. A.S. Desai, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
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Experience:  MS Ophthalmology with 13 years of surgical expereince
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i am experiencing vertical flashes in my left eye today along

Resolved Question:

i am experiencing vertical flashes in my left eye today along with floaters. It seems to happen when I turn my head sideways. This is new and unexpected. I have not had anything like this before.What does this mean?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. A.S. Desai replied 5 years ago.

Welcome to Just Answer

The most common cause for flashes and floaters ( in the absence of any reduction in vision or any foggy vision ) is posterior vitreous detachment( PVD).

PVD is a condition in which the thick gel at the back of the eye gets detached from its retinal attachment as a result of aging. During this the retina gets irritated or kind of stretched and gives rise to the symptom of flashes of light. Once the vitreous gets detached , it gets clumped and gives rise to the symptom of floaters ( wavy line/cobwebs/black strings). It is otherwise a harmless condition which needs no further treatment except for the fact that very rarely it may induce tiny peripheral retinal tears. Now these retinal tears can be detected by a dilated eye exam and if found they can be safely sealed with lasers. If left alone the retinal tears have a remote tendency to get converted into a frank retinal detachment.

Just to make you aware of the symptoms of a frank retinal detachment - There can be sudden onset of flashes of light with a shower of floaters. Characteristically this is associated with a drastic reduction in vision in a part or the entire visual field and is more often experienced as if looking through a curtain or veil. In such an event emergency treatment is needed by a retinal surgeon.

In the absence of the above mentioned acute symptoms suggestive of a RD, you can take an appointment to an ophthalmologist for a dilated eye exam just to have a look at the back of the eye( not an emergency). But in case you feel that apart from flashes and floaters , there is a significant reduction in the vision in the left eye then get your eyes examined by a retina specialist immediately.

Thank you and best wishes

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Views expressed are for information purpose only and cannot substitute a visit to an ophthalmologist
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