How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Rick Your Own Question
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11414
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
48069651
Type Your Eye Question Here...
Dr. Rick is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Today I suddenly began experiencing arcing flashes of light

This answer was rated:

Today I suddenly began experiencing arcing flashes of light in my left eye. It happened while working at my computer. It happens after blinking. Do I need to rush to an eye doctor immediately? I am a female, 51 years old, good vision but now need reading glasses for tiny close-up print.
Dr. Rick :

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

Dr. Rick :

Are you having any floaters at all?

Dr. Rick :

Any changes in your vision?

Dr. Rick :

How long do the flashes last?

Dr. Rick says:
5:39 PM
Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
5:40 PM
Are you having any floaters at all?
5:40 PM
Any changes in your vision?
5:40 PM
How long do the flashes last?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. I look forward to helping you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't have floaters, and do not have any changes in my vision. The flashes are very quick - a fraction of a second. I don't have them constantly, but probably one every minute or so.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, I don't have floaters, no changes in vision, flashes are very fast, but occur when I blink and move my head.

Dawn,
I am confused. You have given me a bad rating when all I have done so far is to try and learn more about what is going on with your eye so I can properly advise you on what to do.
I am sorry to see that you have given me a poor rating for the assistance I have provided. Ratings do not apply to system malfunctions...only to the quality of the expert.
I would ask that you give me a chance to provide you with further data so that you have the information you need to address your issue.
I would appreciate a good or excellent rating and will work hard to obtain it if given the chance.
Thank you.
I would ask that you change your rating to a positive one. As a retina surgeon I can help you with this issue....
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I gave a bad rating because I read at the top of the page that my chat was over before I saw answers at the bottom, and I had just paid $38. This is a confusing website. I

Sorry about that.... I will pass your observations onto the engineers and see if they can clean that up so it is not so confusing.
What you are experiencing is most likely vitreoretinal traction from your vitreous jelly shrinking, which it does naturally. Many times people experience floaters too but some, like you, do not have the floaters.
Let me tell you a little bit about this process:
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.
Does this make sense to you?
I will standby just in case you have more questions.
And, once again, thank your for your understanding about the web page.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks - this is helpful. It seems odd because it started so suddenly and is now frequent, every time I turn my head. I will definitely see an opthalmologist ASAP. If this is vitreoretinal traction, will I always have this from now on, or is this temporary?

Dawn,
No. It won't be forever because eventually the jelly will disconnect from your retina and the flashes will stop.
The retina has no pain receptors so anytime it is stimulated, by a punch to the eye, or vitreous tugging on it, it says "Oh. I must be seeing light." and it sends this message to your brain.
Make sense?