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What causes a light flash that I see on left side of eye?

Customer Question
what causes a light flash that I see on left side of eye?
Submitted: 5 years ago.Category: Eye
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Answered in 21 minutes by:
6/7/2012
Eye Doctor: Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist replied 5 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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Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?
Doctor DanB : 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. 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.  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. Does this information help address your concerns? Does this make sense? Do you have any other concerns that I haven't addressed?I am happy to be able to help you today. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need.If you would be so kind, please help me get credit for my efforts in answering your questions and press the ACCEPT button for this encounter; this allows part of the funds that you have deposited to the website to be released for my efforts to assist you. This does not end our conversation, however-we can continue to discuss any of your concerns without further charges until you are satisfied.Any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. Thanks for your inquiry!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.
Customer:

Thank you for answering my question. I do have floaters also I will see my opthalmologist

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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