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I'm having a downward flash of light outside my left eye

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that is like a single...
I'm having a downward flash of light outside my left eye that is like a single drop of rain. What could be causing that? I shampooed my hair earlier with some selsun blue. Could it be a reaction to the sulfer?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Eye
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
4/4/2011
Eye Doctor: Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist replied 6 years ago
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3,343
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Hello and thanks for your question. 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 in your situation have developed spots in their vision that are new (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.
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.
These flashes tend to be small, like starbursts and are usually intermittent; they can also appear as an arcing 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.
I would recommend doing your best to see your ophthalmologist as soon as you can to have a complete eye exam to determine if there is any problem with the retina; this is especially important if you have had any trauma or surgery to the eye or if you are significantly nearsighted (myopic).  If any of these four signs I described above happens then you need to see one emergently.
Does this information help address your concerns? Does this make sense? Do you have any other concerns that I haven't addressed?
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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.
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3,343
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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