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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11356
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I just read somebody's post about somebody who sees a yellow

Customer Question

I just read somebody's post about somebody who sees a yellow half-circle in one eye (in my case, it's the left eye) which follows eye movements. In my case, however, I don't see the half-circle when the eye is open: it's visible only when my eye is closed. Always exactly the same shape at the same position (the half-ring is formed by the outer portion of a circle). I first noticed it about a year ago and since them it has never subsided nor progressed).
I talked about it to my ophthalmologist, and he said that it was just the progressive loss of cornea transparence which causes this). His answer did not satisfy me, however. First, he was kind of distracted when I told him about this (my visit was a control one after an operation for strabismus a full year ago - yes, it does coincide with the time of the operation). Secondly, I don't see why I would perceive a luminous "ghost" circle when my eye is closed! It rather seems to me that it is a retinal phenomenon: I would compare it to the images that one sees after being subjected to a luminous "flash".
What do you think? I'm worried.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
Hi. I'm Dr. Rick and I have two decades of ophthalmology experience. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
First of all, you are correct. This has nothing to do with your strabismus surgery....and I very much doubt that it is related to changes you the transparency of your cornea from aging.
What you are experiencing sounds like the normal, physiological "images" that you brain can form from the normal dark current that flows through your photoreceptors at rest (in the dark or with your eyes closed).
Although they are commonly present the vast majority of people never notice them because your brain tends to filter them out. I, personally can see them as concentric circles "fading away" to nothing if I concentrate when laying quietly in a dark room.
This is not a sign of any sort of retinal, ocular or visual pathway/brain problem and is nothing to be worried about. That being said, once you have learned to see them, you will tend to notice them much easier for the rest of your life.
So. What is the take home message? Don't worry. What you are experiencing is your brains response to the normal dark, or resting, current present in your retinal photoreceptors.
If you are still concerned you could have a complete exam by a retina specialist...but, from what you have posted, I expect everything to check out normal.
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.

Thank you for your opinion, Dr. Rick. It certainly makes more sense than any explanation I have got so far. However, something still puzzles me seriously and stops me from taking your answer as relevant to what I was trying to describe. This type of "consultation" has its obvious limits, but still, I think with good fait on both sides, we should be able to understand each other.

So, here's the problem: I think you are referring to the sort of random "ghost" images that one can see after closing the eyes in a dark environment. I'm very familiar with that phenomenon, but this is NOT what I'm talking about.

Many things with the "dark current" hypothesis do not fit to what I am experiencing. First, I told you that it is NOT a random phenomenon, as one would expect from that residual electrical activity in the brain visual centers: I see a clear-cut, well-shaped yellowish and rather bright half-circle with my left eye only. One would expect that "dark current" activity to be a LOT, a WHOLE LOT more random than this !!!

I don't want to extend this to an endless discussion that would end up being very costly. So, unless you can propose me an alternative hypothesis that takes into account the problems the first one has, I will simply accept your opinion as a fair attempt to help me. You are right, I should persist and ask for an exam.

Please forgive me, but my mother had a detachment of the retina in one eye that happened rather abruptly. She told us about some warning signs that she had experienced prior to the virtually complete loss of her vision in that eye. I may be too cautious, but my mother's sad experience has raised my awareness to that possibility.

Thanks again for your honest answer!

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
Richard,
Thank you for your reply.
As a retina surgeon I can tell you that nothing that you have posted makes me think you are having a retinal detachment. There is no need for you to be concerned about this.
Also, you are correct, dark current would be more random, although, it could be present very frequently. It would, however, tend to come in different shapes and intensities over time.
Since yours has never gotten worse and has never,ever, gone away, it does not fit the description of an ocular migraine or, really, even retinal dark current.
I would be very interested to see if a complete exam, possibly including electro-physiologic studies, by a retina specialist shows any pathology in your retina.
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