How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. James Your Own Question
Dr. James
Dr. James, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 2286
Experience:  Eye Physician and Surgeon
Type Your Eye Question Here...
Dr. James is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

When I wake up in the middle of the night and move my eyes

Resolved Question:

When I wake up in the middle of the night and move my eyes quickly to one side, I see a spark in the middle of my vision (in both eyes, depending on which way I'm moving my eyes) for the first 2-3 movements. It doesn't happen any other time. Is this nomral?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. James replied 7 years ago.

How old are you?
When did this start?
Do you see any floaters in your eyes?
When was your last eye exam?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am 25 and a high myope (-7.25) in both eyes.

I noticed it a few months ago. I had never really moved my eyes in that manner before (i.e. with my eyes closed in the middle of the night).

I have floaters, but no more than before.

I went to a retinal Opthamologist in September 2009. He diagnosed me with Retinal Epithieliopathy (I also see other flashes during the day, which led him to this diagnosis). I am going back in December to see him, in order for him to monitor the progression of the Epithieliopathy.

Expert:  Dr. James replied 7 years ago.
You also have a thick jelly substance in your eyes called the vitreous. In most people, the thick jelly will liquify over time. In high myopes, the liquifaction happens much sooner. This can lead to more floaters and a PVD earlier than normal. A PVD (posterior vitreous detachment) is where the liquified jelly pulls away from the wall of the eyes. Sometimes, it can stimulate the retina and cause the flashes of lights you see. When you move your eyes quickly, the vitreous swirls around and can precipitate these flashes.

The amount of flashes you see seems to be stable, so no need to worry at this time. You are at increase risk of retinal problems such as tears and detachment.
If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light (like a lightening 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.

Remember to press the green accept button. It was a pleasure helping you with your question. Best wishes to you. Feel free to ask any additional questions.
Dr. James and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for the information! This is a great service. I am very pleased!
Expert:  Dr. James replied 7 years ago.
You're welcome. Best wishes.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I have another question. Sometimes when I move my eyes really quickly to the side (either direction) I see light a shower of little pin prick lights (hundreds). This doesn't always happen and is most noticable in the dark. Sometimes it is over my entire field of vision, and sometimes only in the top part. Usually it is just my left eye, but occassionally it is both eyes. Would this be related to the other flashes?
Expert:  Dr. James replied 7 years ago.
I believe the pin prick lights are related -- caused by the stimulation of the peripheral retina when you move the vitreous gel suddenly. Since you are under the care of a retina specialist, you should have gotten a thorough exam to check for any problems.

If you notice changes in frequency or character of the flashes or new floaters, let you doctor know.
Dr. James and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you