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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11313
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Last night I had flashing in my right eye only whenever I

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Last night I had flashing in my right eye only whenever I moved the eye. It appears as a round circle (like the circle around the colored portion of my eye). My vision seems fine. I DID call my opthalmologist last evening, and she seemed unconcerned. My question is this: Should I put myself through the ordeal of having my eyes dilated and examined yet again, or is this flashing when I move my eyes something that IS relatively benign and will subside in a few days, as my opthalmologist suggested? I am still somewhat scared and worried and need reassurance that I will be okay. I just don't know if I should go ahead and make an appointment or not. My eye doctor seemed slightly exasperated with me. But years ago both of my corneas got rather badly scratched, then I went through a period of dry eyes and some floaters, and the changes that occur with menopause, and I have remained somewhat in "fear mode" around my eyes and worrying about any potential loss of vision. I am female, age 57.
Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

I am glad to hear that you contacted your ophthalmologist as it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your eyes.

Dr. Rick :

Your symptoms have nothing to do with your corneas so there is nothing to fear along those lines.

Dr. Rick :

We have been experiencing problems with the chat system for the last few days. Our engineers are working on it. However, I'll switch over to the Q&A system. This system works a lot like 'text messaging' but an email is sent to each of us anytime something is posted to this thread. We can continue to work on your question there..... :)

We have been experiencing technical difficulties with the chat system. Please allow me to retype my chat here for your review:
Dr. Rick : Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Dr. Rick : I am glad to hear that you contacted your ophthalmologist as it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your eyes.
Dr. Rick : Your symptoms have nothing to do with your corneas so there is nothing to fear along those lines.
How long did this flashing light last? Did you have any other symptoms?
I'm sorry about the problems with the chat system locking up on us but, don't worry, we can finish your question here.
I will standby for your reply.
I see that you are offline. Let me tell you what I think is going on with your eye:
You are likely experiencing a PVD or posterior vitreous detachment, a common event that happens in many people.
You have a thick gel material in the middle of your eyes called the vitreous. Over time as it liquefies, this gel material collapses on itself, forms little clumps that you can see as dots, lines or bugs. As these clumps form the vitreous pulls away from the wall of the eye. In the process it can stimulate the retina -- causing the flashes that you may see.
It is recommended that you see your ophthalmologist to look at the retina to make sure there are no problems such as a retinal hole or tear. In most cases, there are no problems, but this exam is precautionary and allows for preventative treatment of any lesions that are found.
If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light (like a lightning 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.
Is there anything else you would like to discuss at this point or have all your questions been answered to your satisfaction?
I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.
Thanks in advance,
Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So, do you feel I need to see my opthalmologist related to this issue? As I mentioned, she seemed unconcerned. But I am still scared and do not know if my right eye is really okay. Diane

As a retina surgeon I can honestly tell you that, in the vast majority of cases, you have nothing to worry about.
It is not an emergency that you get in for a dilated exam by your ophthalmologist, especially since you had one not too long ago. I would only suggest that you get a dilated exam in the next few weeks or so, or immediately if you have any of the symptoms I discussed above.
So. What is the take home message? No need to panic :-)
It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you, but, as I do work for tips, I want to make sure you are happy before rating me.
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. Diane

My pleasure Diane.
Please don't forget to mash the excellent feedback button for me :)
Have a good day.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I appreciate your new message. I am still having occasional flashes. I have an appointment with my opthalmologist on April 4th. Is that okay to wait that long? My vision seems fine otherwise, but the flashes in my right eye ARE making me somewhat concerned.

One of the very best parts of talking with you has been the part where you said I do not have to panic. When it comes to having any sort of issue with one of my precious eyes, it can be a bit tricky NOT to panic.

Diane,
Yes. April 4th will be fine from what you have posted.
You will continue to have flashes of light until the jelly comes completely free. This can sometimes take months :(