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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10788
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I have noticed today that I have started getting a light flash

Resolved Question:

I have noticed today that I have started getting a light flash in the outer side of my right eye when i move my head quickly to the left. Also a few times when I blinked my eye i saw this same flash of light. It doesn't happen every time i blink. Probably 2 or 3 times in the last couple hours. From what I have read it seems to be symptons of retina detachment. What is your advice?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

It sounds like you are experiencing a posterior vitreous detachment.

Dr. Rick :

You have a thick gel material in the middle of your eyes called the vitreous. Over time as it liquefies, this gel material collapses on itself, forms little clumps that you can see as dots, lines or bugs. As these clumps form the vitreous pulls away from the wall of the eye. In the process it can stimulate the retina -- causing the flashes that you may see.

It is recommended that you see your ophthalmologist to look at the retina to make sure there are no problems such as a retinal hole or tear. In most cases, there are no problems, but this exam is precautionary and allows for preventative treatment of any lesions that are found.

If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light (like a lightning storm), or a shadow/veil in the periphery of your vision, this can be worrisome for a retinal detachment. You would need to contact your ophthalmologist promptly in that case.


 


What can you do about the floaters? Well, floaters don't go away, and they don't really get worse. Over time they tend to "sink" out of your central vision and you brain "filters" them out so you don't notice them so much anymore. They almost never cause significant visual problems except, of course, if they cause a secondary retinal detachment as discussed above. The only way to decrease or remove the floaters is with a major surgery called a vitrectomy. As a retinal specialist for almost 2 decades I've only done this procedure to remove floaters in a handful of cases.


 

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick :

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Dr. Rick :

I see that you are offline. I'll switch over to the Q&A system. This system works a lot like 'text messaging' but an email is sent to each of us anytime something is posted to this thread. We can continue to work on your question there..... :)


 

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like to discuss pertaining to this issue.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is this something that could wait until normal office hours on Monday or should it be treated as an emergency
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
As long as you are not having symptoms of retinal involvement that I discussed above, it is perfectly OK to wait until Monday. Make sure you are examined by an ophthalmologist as they are the best trained physician to deal with this issue.
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