Any history of flashes of light needs to be evaluated with a detailed retinal examination. This is especially true for an older person, persons with a higher negative refractive error
or high myopia
, diabetics and in the event of trauma. In many cases, where the eye is otherwise normal, the flashes are due to vitreoretinal traction bands in the vitreous cavity that are pulling on the retina and manifesting as a flash. Sometimes the traction band tears away on its own and there is no damage but just as often, it takes away a part of the retina leaving a hole or culminates in retinal detachment
. Again,the location of traction is important since superior sites are more dangerous than inferior ones. You also need to check for any curtain- like appearance within your field of vision that blocks a part of what you see. This is a strong indicator of retinal detachment. Obviously, since there are so many factors that indicate severity and complications, a detailed and dilated retinal examination is a must. If you have no curtain like sensation in your field of vision you may go to your eye doctor no later than next day. however, if the flashes are persisting and there is an obstruction in field of vision, please visit your ophthalmologist as soon as possible since retinal tears
are best treated early to prevent detachments and detachments are , similarly, best treated early to achieve best vision results as you probably know was the case with your mother. Fortunately, retinal detachments alone are not hereditary.