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What causes light flashes in vision? - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 24-Apr-2014
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Vision and Eye Disorders
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 106 Questions
User:Yesterday I was sitting at my desk working on the computer and then answered the phone and all of a sudden I started seeing flashes of light out of my right eye. I had no other symptons and it lasted about 10 minutes
Doctor:I read your query. Tell me , did you have any pain or a headache when the flashes happened?
Doctor:Ok. And dizziness?
Doctor:Do you take any migraine medications?
Doctor:OK. Well that means that the most likely explanation is vitreous detachment
Doctor:Sounds scary, but actually it's not big deal and it happens to people as they age
User:When it happened it made me a little nervous so I drank some water and took an xanex (I sometimes have panic attacks)
Doctor:especially in near sighted people
Doctor:The vitreous is a gel-like fluid which fills most of the eye. As people age, this vitreous becomes more and more liquefied.
User:It looked like squares that were flashing over and over
Doctor:Yup. That's it!
Doctor:It has loose attachments to the retina, and more firm attachments to the optic nerve. At some point in a person's life, the vitreous liquefies enough to shift position in the eye.
Doctor:usually happens from age 45 on
Doctor:might happen earlier if you squint alot
User:I remember it happening about two years ago when I was watching TV. Will certain type of light affect it as well?
Doctor:type of light not so much. But if you are squinting alot BECAUSE the lighting is poor. That will bring it on
Doctor:The flashes might come and go for the next few days this week.
User:Well it was scary! anything I can do to prevent? should I see a doctor or wait until my yearly eye check up
Doctor:but they should go away after a week
Doctor:Make sure that you're vision doesn't need any correction (make sure you don't need glasses)
Doctor:and make sure the computer work that you do doesn't strain your eyes (give yourself lots of rest, just close your eyes for 5 minutes every hour or so)
Doctor:Overall, all that fancy stuff i said amounts to eye strain. :-)
Doctor:Always Happy to help!
Doctor:What else can I help you with?
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