What causes flashes of light in your peripheral vision?
Small arc-like momentary flashes of light in the peripheral vision are commonly experienced during vitreous separation. The vitreous pulls on the retina which makes one think they are seeing a light but it is caused by movement of the retina. Rarely flashes are associated with a tear in the retina.
Flashes of light in your vision come from inside your eye or brain. They are not caused by lights or anything else outside of your body. Most flashes happen when the vitreous gel inside the eye shrinks or changes, pulling on the retina (the light sensitive lining of the eye).
- But warning signs almost always appear before it occurs or has advanced, such as:
- The sudden appearance of many floaters — tiny specks that seem to drift through your field of vision.
- Flashes of light in one or both eyes.
- Blurred vision.
- Gradually reduced side (peripheral) vision.
- Eye flashes result from thickened vitreous gel pulling and rubbing on the retina, causing visual effects that look like lightning streaks or light flickers. These flashes may appear off and on for a few weeks or months, but normally fade over time.
- Benign eye floaters are tiny floating specks or cobwebs in your vision. Migraines are a common type of headache that can cause severe pain, aura or flashes in vision, and tingling. Dry eye syndrome can cause pain, blurred vision, redness, light sensitivity, and often makes reading unpleasant.
Retinal Tear. A tear in the retina can occur with vitreous detachment (see discussion above), with trauma or eye injury, or in areas at risk for a retinal tear, such as "lattice degeneration". The symptoms of a retinal tear usually are of a flash of light in the peripheral vision followed by floaters.
- Ocular Migraine Symptoms. People with ocular migraines can have a variety of visual symptoms. You might see a small, enlarging blind spot (scotoma) in your central vision with bright, flashing or flickering lights (scintillations), or wavy or zig-zag lines surrounding the blind spot.
- Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is a very common eye condition. It's caused by natural changes to the vitreous gel which takes up the space inside the eye. Although PVD causes some frustrating symptoms it doesn't cause pain, harm the eye or cause permanent loss of vision.
- Small arc-like momentary flashes of light in the peripheral vision are commonly experienced during vitreous separation. The vitreous pulls on the retina which makes one think they are seeing a light but it is caused by movement of the retina. Rarely flashes are associated with a tear in the retina.
Flashes. When the vitreous gel inside your eye rubs or pulls on the retina, you may see what looks like flashing lights or lightening streaks. You may have experienced this sensation if you have ever been hit in the eye and see "stars." These flashes of light can appear off and on for several weeks or months.
- If you suddenly notice spots, floaters and flashes of light, you may be experiencing the warning signs of a detached retina. Your vision might become blurry, or you might have poor vision. Another sign is seeing a shadow or a curtain descending from the top of the eye or across from the side.
- Eye floaters can be clumpy or stringy; light or dark. They are caused by clumps or specks of undissolved vitreous gel material floating in the dissolved gel-like fluid (vitreous) in the back of the eye, which cast shadows on the retina when light enters the eye.
- A vitreous detachment does not harm vision on its own. But in some cases, the fibers can pull so hard on the retina that they create a macular hole, or a retinal tear that leads to a retinal detachment. These are serious conditions. Early treatment can help prevent vision loss from a macular hole or retinal detachment.
Updated: 16th October 2019