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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 8517
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I need to describe my flashes to you, please. Urgent

Customer Question

I need to describe my flashes to you, please. Urgent

I've talked to a retina specialist
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. My name isXXXXX and I have two decades of ophthalmology experience. I'm online and happy to answer your question today. I am a retina surgeon.....

Dr. Rick :

I see that you are offline. I will switch to Q&A format. This format 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..... :)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there. Around Memorial Day I noticed flashes in my peripheral,vision. They are like lightning bolts that move and I can't catch at the bottom of my eye. Besides that I see pulsating (I think) sparkles everywhere in my vision. I really notice them in dim light or a poorly lit room or a white background like the computer screen. I don't think they are floaters as those seem to be dark squiggles and these are more 'electric' 4 weeks ago my retina specialist said I had a pvd in both eyes. I kinda understood but not really. I got checked up on again by him 4 weeks later (last Thursday) and he said the pvds are still there. My symptoms are the same :( it is so scary to have your vision messed with. Bright light seems to be a bit bothersome too but I don't noticed the sparkles in the bright light as much. Will I just wake up one day and they will be gone? My retina specialist did not seem worried but to me, flashes in vision are very worrisome
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there. Around Memorial Day I noticed flashes in my peripheral,vision. They are like lightning bolts that move and I can't catch at the bottom of my eye. Besides that I see pulsating (I think) sparkles everywhere in my vision. I really notice them in dim light or a poorly lit room or a white background like the computer screen. I don't think they are floaters as those seem to be dark squiggles and these are more 'electric' 4 weeks ago my retina specialist said I had a pvd in both eyes. I kinda understood but not really. I got checked up on again by him 4 weeks later (last Thursday) and he said the pvds are still there. My symptoms are the same :( it is so scary to have your vision messed with. Bright light seems to be a bit bothersome too but I don't noticed the sparkles in the bright light as much. Will I just wake up one day and they will be gone? My retina specialist did not seem worried but to me, flashes in vision are very worrisome
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
Jen,

What you are describing is consistent with ocular migraines, a condition that I not only treat in my office but that I have been dealing with personally for decades.

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.

I, personally, have been suffering from this condition for almost 30 years. I almost never got the headaches after the visual effects.
There was one time, I was in the middle of a very delicate retina operation, when an attack started. After a few moments I lost most of my central vision and the inferior part of my visual field. I, calmly, removed my surgical instruments from the patients eye and we all sat around in the OR for 15 minutes until my vision returned. Other than that my ocular migraines have not really caused me any significant problems :o)

Is there anything else you would like to discuss at this point or have all your questions been answered to your satisfaction?

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Its happening every second of every day. Ive had them for the last 3 weeks and even longer but before I could kind of ignore it. I have retinitis pigmentoaa and these flashes are scaring me as if they are a precursor to going blind. I have had severalPanic attacks because I can't escape them. My retina specialistsSaid RP is unlikely the cause since I still seeVery well and have a healthy eye and have aPVD in each eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
jen,

I agree with your retina doc....the RP is most likely not the cause.

Since you are having the flashes so much, please ignore the migraine stuff above...this is not your problem :)

It is probably from your PVDs. As long as you are following up with your retina doc, there is not need to worry.

This is not a sign of blindness to come -- do your best to relax. If needed, seek help for your panic attacks.

So. What is the take home retina advice? You will be OK.

Does this make sense to you?

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok so (for the third time) I had my retina specialist do another check. He said no tears or detachment and that my macular was great and everything looked healthy (as can be with RP). He said that the sparkles or flashes can last longer than the textbook 4-6 weeks and that I was going to be ok. I was sobbing in the office. It's just so scary when something messes with your sight. I also explained that light coming in from windows or over head canned lights are really bothersome. He said that is a usual complaint from his PVD patients. I noticed the flashes get worse when i get up fast, run down the stairs, or move my head a lot. They are still there when I am just sitting though. I hope they go away soon =( Does this all sound about right to you?

Is light and glare sensitivity normal for pvds? Today was rough, felt like I had to keep my eyes closed while on our boat and felt like lamp lightning was bothersome.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok so (for the third time) I had my retina specialist do another check. He said no tears or detachment and that my macular was great and everything looked healthy (as can be with RP). He said that the sparkles or flashes can last longer than the textbook 4-6 weeks and that I was going to be ok. I was sobbing in the office. It's just so scary when something messes with your sight. I also explained that light coming in from windows or over head canned lights are really bothersome. He said that is a usual complaint from his PVD patients. I noticed the flashes get worse when i get up fast, run down the stairs, or move my head a lot. They are still there when I am just sitting though. I hope they go away soon =( Does this all sound about right to you?
Is light and glare sensitivity normal for pvds? Today was rough, felt like I had to keep my eyes closed while on our boat and felt like lamp lightning was bothersome.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jen,

I'm glad you are getting such excellent care from your retina doctor.

I agree with your doc -- with a normal exam, on multiple occasions now, you -- really -- have nothing to worry about.

I've had a PVD in my left eye for 30+ years now and, when mine first started, I had flashes for quite some time. Since your exams have not shown any pathology, everything is OK.

You are not going to loose your vision from this. I promise :)

Your glare and light sensitivity may be worse due to your anxiety...it is not a sign of anything wrong at this point.

I see that you have not given me any positive feedback for my assistance yet :(

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 8517
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For the last 6 weeks (since I was told
I have the pvd in both eyes) I've
Had such a sensativity to Like canned lights & window light. I never noticed it before this pvd stuff. Do I assume that's what it is from? He said all checked out fine...
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
R u still there? One more question... It's above
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Sorry. It has been a crazy week so far in the clinic an the OR so I've not been online lately....

I would not expect a PVD to cause light sensitivity. You might notice the floaters better in certain light, but the light itself should not be uncomfortable from a PVD.

If you are sensitive to light then a search should be done for other causes.

Does this make sense to you?

Once again, thank you for your patience :)

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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick
Ophthalmologist & Retina Specialist
5459 Satisfied Customers
Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest