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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
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Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I get a few seconds of flashy light when I go outside and sometimes

Resolved Question:

I get a few seconds of flashy light when I go outside and sometimes when I wake up. I think just in one eye.
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 :

You are likely experiencing a PVD or posterior vitreous detachment, a common event that happens in many people.

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.


Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

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.
It was a pleasure to assist you with your question. Please let me know if I can do anything else to help you in the future. Positive Feedback and/or Bonus is welcomed and appreciated.

Let me know if there is anything else you would like to discuss pertaining to this issue.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi. Does the flashing from pvd particularly happen when going outside and first thing in the morning? It doesn't happen every time in either case.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
That is an excellent question. And, yes, it can happen at anytime. This is common.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
How long is this likely to last - weeks? months? Thank you for your response so far.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
That varies from person to person but usually a few weeks or so
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I hope you don't mind another follow-up. Can stress ever cause flashy vision bursts- or can this be linked to Pvd? I am extremely busy at the moment and wondered if there was a link. I will
certainlyhaveyetest. Also, is it possible that I am n
ow noticing it more because I have started to worry about it? It is still only a very few seconds once or twice a day, but I am finding myself looking for flashes when they have happened before - for example when I go outside or when I wake up.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
No. stress does not cause it. And, yes, a PVD is the most common cause of flashes.

Yes many people, once they notice the flashes and start to worry or pay attention to them tend to notice them more. This is normal.

It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you at no additional charge :-)
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