Have you been seeing light spots in your vision field? These are commonly referred to as flashes. Other people report seeing them as lighting streaks or shooting stars. While sometimes they can be minor and unnoticeable, other times they can be quite bothersome. They can also be a sign of an underlying eye condition, so it's crucial to know when to act.
Dr. Leroy Vaughn, our Ophthalmologist in Inglewood, CA, can evaluate your eyes to determine the cause of your flashes. Depending on the cause, he will recommend effective treatment. Book an appointment today!
What Causes Eye Flashes?
There are several reasons why you may be experiencing flashes. One possibility is that you have debris or a foreign object in your eye. This can happen if you get something in your eyes, such as dirt, sand, or makeup. The debris can irritate your eye, causing you to see flashes. Other causes of flashes are:
- Retinal detachment: This occurs when the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye, separates from the underlying layer of blood vessels. This can happen due to aging, an injury, or other factors. If not treated promptly, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.
- Migraine headaches: Migraine headaches can cause visual disturbances, including flashes. These flashes may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
- Eye irritation: If your eyes are dry or irritated, you may experience flashes. This can happen if you wear contact lenses or spend a lot of time staring at a computer screen.
- Posterior vitreous detachment: This occurs when the gel-like substance that fills the back of your eye (vitreous) breaks away from the retina. This is a common condition, especially in older adults. Flashes are the most common symptom of posterior vitreous detachment.
- Macular degeneration: This is a condition that causes damage to the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for central vision. It can lead to vision loss if not treated.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, leading to flashes.
When Should You Visit an Ophthalmologist for Flashes Treatment?
Sometimes flashes will come and go on their own, especially if they are caused by debris in the eye. However, if you experience flashes that are bothersome or accompanied by other symptoms, such as blurred vision or pain, it's important to see an ophthalmologist for an evaluation. This is especially true if you have any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes. Don't wait because vision loss can occur quickly.