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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11267
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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My eye is acting strange - last night straight poles looked

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My eye is acting strange - last night straight poles looked curved out of the corner of my right eye, and there were flashes of light along the same margin of vision. Today there seem to be more floaters, and my vision just doesn't seem right. Is this something that will go away on its own?

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

I see that you are offline but, as I think what is going on with your is very serious, I do not want to delay getting my answer out to you.

I am concerned that you may be experiencing a retinal detachment. In my opinion, you need to see an ophthalmologist IMMEDIATELY after reading this message. Do not delay.

Going to a regular doctor will not be of much value as they don't have the training and equipment to diagnose and treat this problem.

Could this be something less serious? Yes, of course. But, no matter what you need to be seen right away.

Also, do not eat or drink anything until the eye surgeon has examined you.

Does this make sense to you?

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. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I noticed something else while I was waiting - flashes like lightning along the same corner of my eye. Is there anything I can do between now and tomorrow morning when I can see the optho.? Also - could this be stress-related? I was taking a break from the trauma room - my husband was in a car accident (OK-ish now). Thanks!



Sorry to hear about your husband but I'm glad that he is on the mend.

I am a retina surgeon and can tell you for a fact that this has nothing to do with stress.

The flashes of light and floaters tell me you are having a posterior vitreous is some information on this issue:

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.

I am concerned about the vision changes you are having out of the corner of your right eye. I believe the reason you notice poles looking curved is because your retina in that area is detached and bowed forward, causing straight things to look curved.

I would be a lot happier if you could be seen by an eye surgeon tonight. If that is not possible, do not lift, bend, or carry heavy objects. Rest your eyes and go to sleep. Watching TV is ok but I would rather you not read and for sure do not shake your head/eyes.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight (not sure what time it is on your side of the world; it is 9 pm Thursday here) except for a sip of water to take your usual medicines. Expect that you will be having eye surgery tomorrow....

Does this make sense to you?

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.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you - no chance of an eye surgeon tonight, unfortunately - although I did leave a message for him. One persistent floater is acting like some sort of tumbling ciliate - or a small folding and unfolding contact lens, which is making me a little nervous. And the bottom right of that eye is a little like looking through a snorkeling mask that's collecting water. I'll check to see if you have any other thoughts and then stop reading...

Thank you for that extra information.

I would have to say that, at this point, I feel with 98% certainty that you are having a retinal detachment. The thing that makes this an emergency in my practice is that you still have good central vision.

This tells me that the very important part of your retina, called the macula, is not yet seriously affected. Once this area detaches the chances of having very good post op vision go way down. I hate to operate at night but for a peripheral macula on retinal detachment I get out of bed....

Just to sleep (there is nothing we can do about REM as you dream tonight), relax and get in as soon as you can. Oh 'ya, and don't forget to mash the positive feedback button for me ;)

I'm glad you reached out to try and learn about what is going on with your eye....

Take care, give my best to your healing husband, and don't panic.

Let me know if I can help you again in the future.
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your help. But I have to admit that I was feeling a whole lot more confident about this before I got to the ya and mash the button part of the conversation - it sounds a little sketchy. I wish I hadn't read that part, although I did mash - the advice was very helpful.

Gotta put shoes on my gets cold up here in the Midwest :)

I like your analogy "acting like some sort of tumbling ciliate" A comparison that only a sharp mind trained in Biology would come up with.

Thanks for helping me to smile....

Let me know how things turn out. Good night.

I've just come out of the OR after repairing a complex retinal detachment and my thoughts turned to you. I was wondering what your ophthalmologist found on exam the other day.

I hope everything is ok and you are on the road to recovery.

Take care and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you in the future.


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