What Seeing Flashes of Light Means for Your Eyes

 seeing flashes of lightEyes change as you age, and sometimes, it’s normal to see flashes of light. This is caused by the natural degeneration of a liquid in your eye called vitreous material. While these flashes are harmless, there are other cases where such flashes may indicate an undiagnosed eye condition.

Where Do Light Flashes Come From?

When flashes of light occur, they are not coming from any actual light entering the eye. Instead, they are caused by changes to the vitreous gel pulling on the retina. In other cases, these flashes may be caused by applying too much force to the eye, such as aggressively rubbing them or being hit by an object.

Some conditions can cause you to see light as well. A migraine aura can appear like a shimmering, wavy line of light similar to a heat wave. Some patients experience auras even if they do not get a headache.

Migraine auras are not caused by the eye itself; instead, scientists believe that they develop as a result of slower brain activity called cortical spreading depression.

What Are Light Halos?

Halos look like rounded frames of light emanating from headlights, streetlamps, and other reflective surfaces. These often indicate cataracts, but they could stem from another condition, such as glaucoma or Fuchs’ dystrophy.

Those with heightened eye sensitivity may also be more prone to seeing halos of light. When the eye has been exposed to too many UV rays, halos can develop due to a condition called photokeratitis.

Photokeratitis affects the cornea — the clear front part of your eye — and the conjunctiva — the tissue that covers the white part of your eye and the interior of the eyelids.

When to See an Eye Doctor

You should schedule an appointment for an eye exam if:

  • Your vision becomes cloudy or has dark spots
  • There is a “curtain” or dark area across your vision
  • Flashes occur after being hit in the eye
  • The flashes of light come on suddenly or increase in intensity or frequency

At Physicians Eye Clinic, we will perform an in-depth exam and identify the underlying cause of your vision problems. Our team of skilled ophthalmologists is highly trained in all types of eye conditions and surgical treatments.

Please call 425-259-2020 or contact our office in Everett, WA, to schedule your next appointment.

Posted in: Cataract

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