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Dr. James
Dr. James, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
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Experience:  Eye Physician and Surgeon
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Had an episode of heavy (scary) floaters and bright flashers

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Had an episode of heavy (scary) floaters and bright flashers on July 5th and 6th. Went to an optometrist on the 6th and was cleared as far as detached retina was concerned. I did miss my blood pressure medicine(Diovan 160 mg) two days in a row (July 2nd and 3rd) and started taking again on July 4th. Blood pressure has kind of yo yo'ed last few days as the medicine apparently gets back into my system ??? Doctor did explain the possible reasons for this occurence (tethers in eyes getting old and letting loose) and possibly the disruption in BP medicine. I just turned 57 -wearing glasses for about 50 years. I feel fine and seem to be returning to a more normal state each day, however, still have some floaters and occasional flashers (more at the end of the day,it seems). My main question is -What type of time frame should I allow for a return to "normal" condition. Also would you recommend an MRI (or such) in case of a "tumor" in the noggin? Any additional input,welcome.-Randy
Hello Randy,

I understand your concern. Your symptoms of heavy floaters and flashes are typical of a posterior vitreous detachment (what your optometrist described to you). Around your age, many people have the gel within their eyes get more liquid, similar to jello left out. It is a normal process. As it liquifies, it will pull away from you walls of you eyes. This happens to many people, but causes no symptoms at all.

In your case, the gel pulling away from the wall of your eyes is attached firmly to some parts of the retina, causing the "flashes". This puts you at risk for retinal tears, holes, and possibly retinal detachment.

Because you are actively having symptoms, it is recommended that you get repeat dilated exam. You may ask your optometrist if he/she is comfortable with the exam, or refer you to a general ophthalmologist or retina specialist. These exam should be covered under your medical insurance.

A vitreous detachment may take weeks to months for fully occur. During this time, you are at risk for retinal problems. If the floaters and flashes are stable and not increasing, my normal routine is to see patients a week later, then 1-2 weeks later, 1-2 months laters, then 4-6 months after that.

This is assuming that all the exams are normal. If you have an increase in flashes and/floaters, you need to call your doctor sooner, since there has been a change.

It is not necessary to have an MRI for your symptoms.

The blood pressure is not likely to related to your symptoms. Sometimes floaters are due to blood in the eye, which and be related to your blood pressure. Your optometrist should have seen blood if there was any.

Hope this information was helpful.

Dr. Khu
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