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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11407
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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For the last two days, I notice flashing light in the left

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for the last two days , I notice flashing light in the left eye when I look left. Is that anything to worrie about?
Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm Dr. Rick and I have two decades of ophthalmology experience. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

how long did the flashing light last?

Dr. Rick :

did you have any other symptoms?

Dr. Rick :

Have you ever had any eye surgery/issues before?

Dr. Rick :

Was your vision affected?

Dr. Rick :

do you have any medical problems or take any medication?

Linda,
Dr. Rick says:
10:42 AM
Hi. I'm Dr. Rick and I have two decades of ophthalmology experience. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
10:42 AM
how long did the flashing light last?
10:43 AM
did you have any other symptoms?
10:43 AM
Have you ever had any eye surgery/issues before?
10:44 AM
Was your vision affected?
10:44 AM
do you have any medical problems or take any medication?
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.

It only last for a second, ,I have no other symptoms,, I have had no surgery or eye problems, my vision was no affected, I have no Med. promblems, I take blood pressure meds

Linda,
Thank you for that extra information. It is very helpful.
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), a shadow/veil in the periphery of your vision, or a decrease in your vision that doesn’t improve in a few minutes this can be worrisome for a retinal detachment. You would need to contact your ophthalmologist promptly in that case.
What can you do about the floaters? Well, floaters don't go away, and they don't really get worse. Over time they tend to "sink" out of your central vision and you brain "filters" them out so you don't notice them so much anymore. They almost never cause significant visual problems except, of course, if they cause a secondary retinal detachment as discussed above. The only way to decrease or remove the floaters is with a major surgery called a vitrectomy. As a retinal specialist for almost 2 decades I've only done this procedure to remove floaters in a handful of cases.
Here is a video of the actual surgery to remove floaters:
http://www.retinavitreous.com/video%20files/intro_floaters.html
In January 2013 a new drug, called Ocriplasmin, was approved by the FDA to dissolve vitreous strands in a particular eye condition called vitreomacular traction. Perhaps someday this drug could be used to also remove floaters…. Only time will tell.
While you did not mention floaters sometimes people see the flashes without noticing floaters at first. 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
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