Eye flashes

What are eye flashes?

Eye flashes appear in the visual field like sparks of light. They don’t happen externally from sources of light around you, they happen from inside the eye. They usually aren’t a sign of problems; however, they can be a warning for some conditions. People who have eye flashes may also have eye floaters.

A diagram of eye eye with labelled parts.
Changes in the vitreous gel (the liquid that fills the inside of the eye) and retinal problems could be a cause of eye flashes.

Prognosis

In some cases, flashes are a sign that a patient has a condition that can lead to vision loss, particularly when the experience of flashes is new and sudden. If you’re suddenly experiencing eye flashes, it’s advisable to seek help from a doctor. They are usually harmless, however.

Symptoms

Flashes appear from within your eyeball. Their appearance has been compared to sparks of light and lightning.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your eye specialist immediately to arrange a check-up and/or to find out if you need immediate emergency assistance.

  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Persistent flashes
  • Large eye floaters
  • Your eye is painful

Medical tests to diagnose eye flashes

Eye flashes can be diagnosed through a clinical eye exam performed by an eye specialist. If they cannot identify the cause i.e. conditions that cause eye flashes aren’t visible, then an eye ultrasound may be recommended.

What are the causes?

The vitreous gel is a jelly-like liquid substance that fills the middle of your eyeball. When the vitreous gel shrinks or changes, it creates a physical force against your retina, which is responsible for sensing light and sending signals to your brain. Flashes naturally become more common with age, but can be caused by physical force or conditions:

Can eye flashes be prevented?

Eye flashes usually increase as people age and therefore can’t be prevented. They are usually harmless, however, unless they are caused by a condition that threatens vision quality.

Treatments

Treatment is based on the underlying condition that is causing the eye flashes. You should always check with your eye specialist if the flashes are harmless or if the retina has been damaged. If the retina is torn or detached, it might require surgical treatment such as retinal detachment surgery.

Which type of specialist treats eye flashes?

Specialists in ophthalmology will be able to help you with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that cause eye flashes.

This website uses its own and third-party cookies to collect information in order to improve our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences, as well as to analyse your browsing habits..