What does it mean if I see flashes of light?
In this video, ophthalmologist and Sharecare Advisory Board member David Demartini, MD, describes the causes and solutions for flashes of light in vision.
Some people can have what we call ocular migraine, where they see these little flashes of lights
or sometimes scintillations, or it looks like heat in their visual field. [MUSIC PLAYING]
If you see flashes of light in your eye, the usual reason is something is stimulating the retina.
Flashes usually mean that the vitreous gel is moving around inside the eye. And it tugs on the retina.
And the retina says, I see light. I see light. That's the greatest majority of people that see that.
Most of the time, it does not mean that anything needs to be done. We always like to have these patients come in.
We dilate their pupils. And we look at their retinas. And make sure that there's no holes or there's no tears starting in the retina.
And so we can reassure them. Most people, after they've had their exam and they find out that the retina is OK,
within a few months, the tugging stops, or it moves, and they don't notice the flashes of light
afterwards. The flashes are also a common phenomenon after even routine eye surgery.
We take out a thick cataract lens and replace it with a very thin implant lens.
So there's now more space inside the eye. That allows the vitreous to move around much easier than it did before.
And when the vitreous starts moving around, then it will tug on the retina. And that's where the little lights usually come from.
Again, after an examination of these people, usually, if the retina is fine, these little flashes of light
will quit within a few months. There's one other situation where people may see lights.
Usually, it's bilateral. And that's with migraine headaches. Some people can have what we call ocular migraine, where
they see these little flashes of lights or sometimes scintillations, or it looks like heat in their visual field.
And they may go on for half an hour or even an hour. And it will go away. And it's really not an eye problem.
It's back in the brain, where the eye works in the back of the brain. And that's where this is coming from.
Again, we don't treat that, because it usually doesn't mean that there's any problem going to develop from that.
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