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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question

Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3161
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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when the lights are off i get this visual snow type and every

Customer Question

when the lights are off i get this visual snow type and every now and then blue flashes but these are not all the time just on occasion could you tell me whats wrong thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 3 years ago.

Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Can you chat?
Customer :

hi

Customer :

sure

Doctor DanB : Would you say that these lights you're seeing are more electrical looking or psychedelic in nature?
Customer :

electrical

Doctor DanB :

Do you have any floating spots, dots, or cobwebs in your vision?

Customer :

some floaters on occasion but not alot

Doctor DanB :

When you get these flashes, are they instantaneous in duration or do they last several minutes?

Customer :

maybe like a second

Doctor DanB :

Have you had any surgery or trauma to either eye? Are you nearsighted?

Customer :

no surgery and not that i know of im on the computer all day long too

Doctor DanB :

Any headaches with these?

Customer :

in the back of the head mostly is real tense

Doctor DanB :

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). Your floating spots 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 "bugs" or cobwebs (they can come in many shapes and sizes) 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 flashes that you may see.

These flashes tend to be small, like starbursts and are usually intermittent; they can also appear as an arcing light. One of the most important things to understand about floaters is that the process of a new floater happening 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.

I would recommend doing your best to see your ophthalmologist as soon as you can and if any of these four signs I described above happens then you need to see one emergently.

Customer :

ok thanks do you think it is dangerous

Doctor DanB :

I don't think it is dangerous, but just something that needs a good exam to make sure nothing's happening wrong with the retina. Many people have these and have nothing wrong and nothing bad happening to the retina because of it.

Customer :

ok could it be from another disease or something

Doctor DanB :

Almost never is it from a disease, but rarely it can due to optic nerve problems or rare retina problems.

Customer :

thats what i thought it might be optical headaches since the back of my head is always hurting

Doctor DanB :

I think the way you've described them, these are flashes from retinal traction and floaters, but certainly flashing from migraines is something that is to be considered. However, your history is very classic for flashes from retinal traction.

Customer :

ok thank you i was really worried i guess i have anxiety too lol i was thinking it was fro plaque build up or something

Doctor DanB :

I can certainly understand the worrying, I tend to do that to. I think after you have a thorough, dilated eye exam by your ophthalmologist you'll be able to stop the worrying as most people end up being just fine.

Customer :

ok thank you for your help

Doctor DanB :

You're welcome. Do you have any other questions about this that I can help you with?

Customer :

im guessing thats all oh one thing can you get migranes without having a family history

Doctor DanB :

Yes, you certainly can, but it's less common.

Customer :

ok thanks im through now :)

Doctor DanB :

I am happy to be able to help you today. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need.

If you would be so kind, please help me get credit for my efforts in answering your questions and press the ACCEPT button for this encounter; this allows part of the funds that you have deposited to the website to be released for my efforts to assist you. This does not end our conversation, however-we can continue to discuss any of your concerns without further charges until you are satisfied.

Any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. Thanks for your inquiry!

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.

Doctor DanB :

Were you satisfied with our discussion? is there anything else you're not sure about?

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