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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question

Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3074
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Hello. Starting this afternoon and then continuing on into

Resolved Question:

Hello. Starting this afternoon and then continuing on into the evening, especially when driving in the dark, I seem to have a slight vertical flash in my left eye.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 5 months ago.

Dr. Dan B. : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you noticing any new floating dots specs or lines in your vision? Does this flash seem more electrical and quick or does it seem more psychedelic in nature and shimmery?
Customer:

Possible "shadows" in my left eye, but I'm not sure. I don't seem to be having the flashes right now.

Dr. Dan B. : Are these flashes quick like electrical in nature or are they shimmery and lasting for several seconds at a time?
Customer:

The flashes are quick, vertical, and electrical (sort of like a mini lightning bolt).

Dr. Dan B. : Is it one larger continuous shadow you're seeing in your peripheral vision or are there several shadows that float around?
Customer:

When I use my reading glasses, my left eye vision seems just a little shadowy,

Customer:

like I want to blink and clear up my eye. I'm not sure that I'm having the flashes right now. Also, with my reading glasses off, things seem to be better; I don't seem to see the "shadows."

Dr. Dan B. : Have you had any surgery or trauma to this eye?
Customer:

No.

Dr. Dan B. : Okay. Give me just a minute to type up my answer.
Dr. Dan B. : 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). Some people with new onset flashing in their vision have developed spots in their vision that are new also (or they have been there for awhile) and 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" 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. But this traction on the retina can happen even in the absence of floaters and can result in an intermittent sparkle, flash or other lighted phenomena. Most often this happens when the eyes are moved quickly, or when you change lighting environments (going from light to dark or dark to light) or reading. 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 these flashes. It is also this traction and shifting of the jelly against the surface of the retina that can produce this flickering or sparkling flashes. These flashes tend to be small, like starbursts and are usually intermittent; they can also appear larger as an arcing or encircling 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. People who have had prior eye surgery or trauma, or who have had prior problems with the retina such as retinal thinning, holes, breaks or tears are at the most risk for this happening. I recommend doing your best to see your ophthalmologist as soon as you are able to have a complete eye exam to determine if there is any problem with the retina; If any of these four signs I described above happens then you need to see one emergently.
Dr. Dan B. : Does this make sense?
Customer:

I live quite close to a hospital. Should I go to the emergency room?

Dr. Dan B. : Are you significantly nearsighted?
Customer:

Yes.

Dr. Dan B. : Do you know the number on your prescription?
Customer:

Do you mean D 750 and D 600?

Customer:

I meant D -7.50 and D -6.00

Dr. Dan B. : That's it. Thanks. If there has been no surgery or trauma to your eye then I don't think you have to rush to the emergency room. I would take it easy this weekend and try not to read too much or do too much strenuous activities. And then go see your ophthalmologist on Monday. However, if you started to notice a whole bunch of new floating spots or dots, you see a curtain or veil come over your vision that you cannot see light through, or your vision drops significantly then you should go the ER.
Customer:

Sound good. Can I keep a record of our conversation?

Dr. Dan B. : Yes. There should be a link on your page that says 'share'. If you hover your cursor over this, it should give you the option to either print out or email the transcript to yourself. If that fails, I would recommend just selecting the text with your mouse cursor, hitting Ctrl+C, and then opening up a word processor document such as Microsoft Word, hitting Ctrl+V (paste) and that will allow you to keep the transcript. Make sense?
Customer:

I have a MacBook Air, but I know how to cut and paste, but I'll try the hovering cursor.

Dr. Dan B. : Okay. Do you have any other questions about this?
Customer:

Not really. When I take my reading glasses off, I can see the channel on my cable box from at least 20

Customer:

feet away. What do you think?

Dr. Dan B. : That's a little unusual for somebody who is such a high myope like you. I have a hard time reconciling that with your glasses prescription without examining you.
Customer:

I have my contacts in. Otherwise I'd never be able to see the channel. What I mean is that my vision seems

Customer:

OK for now. Even with my contacts in, I still use reading glasses for reading or working at the computer.

Dr. Dan B. : Okay. I understand what you're saying. That's a good sign that your vision is still intact. If you notice a significant change in the vision than that should prompt you to go to the ER.
Customer:

OK. Sounds good. How do I "check out" of our chat?

Dr. Dan B. : All you have to do is provide feedback by pressing one of the smiley face buttons for feedback.
Dr. Dan B. : Your feedback is important to me and will help me improve my encounter with future customers. Please rate your encounter with me by providing positive feedback (by pressing the smiley face); any bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. If you feel like your concerns are not resolved or you have a problem or issue with anything I have said or haven’t said, please don’t issue a negative feedback rating—My goal is your satisfaction and I would rather work together to solve your concerns, until you are satisfied, than have you leave our encounter unhappy and unsatisfied. 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. Thanks for your inquiry!
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3074
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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