Chrome 2001
.
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
 
.
. .
.
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
InteliHealth
Ask the Doc
4464
Ask the Doc
Ask The Expert
Harvard Medical School
Image of a cadeusus
. .
General Medical Questions
.
Question : I occasionally see flashing lights, like lightening, that other people don't see. What could cause this?
.
.
.
The Trusted Source
.
.
Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

.
.
August 14, 2013
.

The first condition that needs to be considered is a tear in your retina. Although this is an uncommon cause of flashing lights, it is the most worrisome.

The retina is the delicate layer of tissue that lines the back of the inside of the eye. If torn, this can lead to a retinal detachment, which means the retina separates from the tissue layer below it. This condition can lead to significant vision loss.

Retinal tears almost never happen in both eyes at the same time. Cover one eye and then the other. If you see flashing, flickering, or streaking lights in only one eye, then you should arrange for an eye exam right away. In addition to a retina tear and detachment, flashing lights in one eye can be caused by other diseases affecting the retina or the jelly-like fluid in front of the retina (called vitreous).

A more common cause of flashing lights is migraine. Before the headache of a migraine attack settles in, many people experience visual disturbances. It may be flashing lights, sparkling or shimmering lights, or zigzag bright lines. These will be seen in both eyes because the images come from the brain, not the eye.

After a blow to the head, a person may see flashing lights. If the lights flash in just one eye, then the blow may have caused a retina tear. More likely, both eyes will see the flashing lights (commonly referred to as “seeing stars”), especially if the blow is to the back of the head. Visual images are processed in the back part of the brain, called the occipital lobe. In theory, the trauma can stimulate the occipital lobe to create the flashing lights.

.
.
InteliHealth
.
Ask A Question
.
.
InteliHealth
Do You Have A Question?
.
. . .
.
Ask The Expert Archives
Topics
.
InteliHealth
.
InteliHealth

    Print Printer-friendly format    
   
dmtatd
dmtATD
dmtatd
126747
InteliHealth
1998-05-15
f
InteliHealth
NULL
411, 4464, 4581, 4582, 7991, 7992, 7995, 7996, 7997, 8122, 8438, 8463, 8464, 8465, 8466, 8467, 8468, 8469, 8470, 8471, 8472, 8473, 8474, 8475, 8476, 8477, 8479, 8480, 8481, 8482, 8483, 8484, 8486, 8487, 8488, 8489, 8490, 8760, 14219, 20807, 21346, 21349, 21351, 23926, 23938, 24017, 24025, 24075, 24151, 24510, 24519, 24549, 24869, 24878, 25107, 25518, 25646, 25968, 29367, 29516, 29595, 48666, 48812, 59367,
4581
.
.  
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
.