Seeing Flashes of Light

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Medically Reviewed By:

Masashi Mimura

Masashi Mimura, MD

Ophthalmology

From our team of 50+ doctors

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People with these symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Seeing spots of light that expand for 15-30 minutes before disappearing

  • Seeing jagged spots of light, like the teeth of a saw

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Content updated on Sep 6, 2022

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Seeing flashes of light

Possible causes

  • Cataracts

    Degeneration of the lens inside the eye, causing it to become opaque. As a result, lights appear glaring and vision becomes blurred. In the elderly, cataracts are usually caused by aging, In children however, it may be due to genetic conditions, drugs, or viral infections while in the womb.

  • Diabetic retinopathy

    Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that causes vision loss in patients with diabetes. due to damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Your retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of your eyes and responsible for turning the light signals your eyes receive into images in your brain. These damaged vessels in the retina will result in blurring of vision or even vision loss.

  • Macular edema

    Macular edema is the buildup of fluid in the macula, the area in your retina responsible for central vision. Macular edema occurs when there is fluid leading to swelling in the macula. This buildup of fluid will lead to blurring of vision and vision loss in severe cases. Macular edema can be commonly caused by a blockage in your retinal arteries or veins as well as diabetes.

  • Pathologic myopia

  • Diabetic macular edema (DME)

  • Severe myopia
  • Central retinal vein occlusion
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Related serious diseases

  • Retinal detachment

    An eye condition that causes holes to appear in the vision when looking at things. The cause is a peeling off of the retina (sensing layer of the eye). This is usually due to aging, eye injury or diabetes.

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Do you see flickering or flashes of light even when you are in a dark room?

  • Do you have headaches or does your head feel heavy?

  • Do you have redness, pain, or itching in your eyes?

  • Do you see tiny shapes or dots floating around in your vision (sometimes appearing like insects)?

  • Do you have problems moving your eyes in a specific direction?

Other Related Symptoms

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Medically Reviewed By:

Masashi Mimura

Masashi Mimura, MD

Ophthalmology

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