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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7917
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I have flashes of light in my eyes that started about ten years

Customer Question

I have flashes of light in my eyes that started about ten years ago. I went to a retina specialist and he diagnosed that the gel in the eye was pulling away from the retina. There was a dull pain associated with it. I had another episode a year later with the same history.

Here lately I am having these symtoms more than once a day.

The condition starts with a small ball of bright light that starts to enlarge in a spiral shape until the light has enlarged and goes off the end of the eye. The light at whatever position it is in blocks my normal vision. It also may begin at different locations in the eye. The shape of the flashing lighted area looks like a checker board that is skewed with black and white blocks and it seems like only the white area are flashing. It's hard to tell because the flashing occurs at a rapid pace. There is no longer any pain associated with it. The condition occurs simutaneously in both eyes
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
You may very well have a vitreous detachemant as the retina specialist told you, however, I believe your current symptoms are due to an ocular migraine.

A typical migraine headache starts with shimmering lights, often times they surround a blurry area or have dots or jaggedly lines associated with them. They tend to progressively increase in intensity and sometimes march across the visual field causing difficulty with reading. Many times this is then accompanied by nausea, irritability, sensitivity to bright lights and/or loud noises. After the onset of the lights (called scintillating scotomas), the headache typically starts and the light show tends to progressively go away.

Many people can have this migraine phenomenon without the headache; it is called an acephalgic migraine. Some people even start having these late in life, or may have had a few much earlier in life that behaved differently and haven't had any for decades and then begin to have them; this is not uncommon. A family history of migraines is often present as well.

This is nothing to worry about. It is not a sign of a more serious underlying condition, brain tumor or anything like that. If the episodes become so frequent that they are bothersome there are medicines that can be used to decrease their frequency or stop an episode once it has started.



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Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7917
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and 3 other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Your primary care MD can give you medicines, such as low dose beta blockers, that can decrease the frequency of the symptoms. There are also stronger meds available if needed.

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