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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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My husband had a small retinal detachment repaired at the top

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My husband had a small retinal detachment repaired at the top of his vision last Thursday. He also had a vitrectomy. About an hour ago he noticed flashing colored lights at the bottom of his eye. He said they look like a string of colored Christmas lights. What could be causing the colored lights? Should we worry? We talked to his doctor tonight and she said that retina issues are always white flashes.

Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?


Doctor DanB : Given that he has had a vitrectomy recently, his retina is still at risk for problems. These flashing lights are indicative of traction on the retina. This could mean that the tear has reopened. for this reason, I would recommend contacting his surgeon to get an exam ti make sure his retina is still intact. Does that make sense?

the lights are not in the same place as the tear. they are at the other end of the eye. We did talk to the surgeon and she said she was not worried about it but I am.

Doctor DanB : The reason the lights are at the opposite end of where the tear was is because the part of the retina responsible for vision in the inferior half of the visual field is the superior retina and vice versa. I think your surgeon is the ultimate word in this case; since they ate the one who operated in the eye and who knows the specifics of his retinal anatomy, if they are not worried, that is a reassuring thing.

He has an appointment to see her Fri morning. Do you think this is something that can wait that long?

Doctor DanB : As long as the symptoms don't change significantly, I think that is fine. In the meantime, though, I would recommend for him to take it easy and not read too much.

what about head down positioning?


he only had to do that for the first 2 days

Doctor DanB : Was he instructed to maintain face down positioning?
Doctor DanB : After 2 days?

no. just not sleep on his back and he wears a small backpack full of hockey pucks to keep him from turning over.


it really works!

Doctor DanB : Yeah I imagine it does! Lol! Then I think he is fine to continue this.
Doctor DanB : But I don't think it's necessary.

ok. Do you think the flashing will go away over time?

Doctor DanB : Unless the surgeon instructed him to restart that.
Doctor DanB : Yes, the flashes should subside over time, though the time it takes for that to happen varies from person to person.
Doctor DanB : Do you have any other concerns or questions about this topic? 

is it typically hours? days? weeks?

Doctor DanB : Usually several days, but can be a few weeks.

I guess I just have to trust the surgeon. I really do like her but this is my husband's vision and I worry.


I don't have any other questions.

Doctor DanB : I would worry about you if you didn't worry. If you trust the surgeon, then I think you can stop worrying.
Doctor DanB : I hope this has been helpful. Good luck to you both. Your feedback is important to me and will help me improve my encounter with future customers.  If at any time you feel this process has been helpful, please rate your encounter with me by providing feedback; any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. This does not end our conversation, however-we can continue to discuss any of your concerns without further charges until you are satisfied.     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! 

Thanks for your help.

Doctor DanB : My pleasure.

Good night.

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