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What causes visible pulsation in the retinal arteries?

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Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1954
Answered : 4160 Questions
Hoping for some counsel from a certified opthamologist. The following has happened several times over the last few weeks.

If I wake up around 3 in the morning to go the bathroom (pretty bright light in the bath), and then return to the bedroom (fairly dark but with some very modest ambient light),I see what appears to be very faint light flickers. It has regular timing - coincides exactly with my pulse rate.. Almost like my pupils are trying to adjust. If I look out the window where there is some ambient light,or return to an area with light, it immediately stops.
It only seems to happen at night when moving from a lighted area to a dark one.

It has never happened in the day, or if the lights are on, or in the dark if my eyes are already adjusted.
I am very hypochondriacal and am concerned. Does this sound concerning to you?
Thank you.
Tue, 24 Apr 2018 in Vision and Eye Disorders
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
Due to pulsating eye vessel

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for asking on HealthcareMagic.

I have gone carefully through your query and understand your concerns. It seems that your question is lying unanswered for quite a while and no ophthalmologist is available to answer it at the moment. Let me assure that I have the requisite training and understanding required to answer your query.

The described problem seems to be occurring due to a pulsating retinal artery or a peribulbar (around the eyeball) artery. The pulsations that you see and feel are real and do not mean that you are hypochondiacal. Nevertheless, the condition needs a thorough evaluation and glaucoma needs to be ruled out. You need to visit an ophthalmologist for the same.

Let me know if I could help further.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes visible pulsation in the retinal arteries? 7 hours later
In your opinion, does it seem glaucoma would be worst case. I'm stressing out over this quite a bit.

When it happens it seem to affect both eyes and why would it only happen ( and only occasionally), when moving from a bright lit area to a dark one? I also (other than a little blurring from my cataracts) have no vision loss?
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 4 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Glaucoma is not essentially present

Detailed Answer:
You need not get stressed out. It is not mandatory that glaucoma is present, but it is indeed a possibility to consider. The blood pressure also needs to be checked. If things are fine you have no reason to worry.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes visible pulsation in the retinal arteries? 39 hours later
Thanks - I'm trying to see an eye Dr. next week. Sorry to bug you.....if it's not glaucoma (I had pressure read a year ago and it was mid teens ) - could it just be my pupils trying to adjust
in the dark while reflecting my pulse rate . Thanks again and sorry to be so difficult.
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Vascular malformations need to be excluded

Detailed Answer:
I do not suppose that it is the pupils trying to readjust. A vascular abnormality needs to be excluded and therefore it would be important to visit your ophthalmologist and to get it evaluated. If the findings do not point to something serious, there is no reason to worry.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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