Q. I get recurrent flashes in the right eye. At what point is this situation an emergency?

Answered by
Dr. Souhad
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 26, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am a 63-year-old female. I started getting flashes in the right eye a couple of days ago, and now have a floater in the shape of the flashes. I was not too worried. But today flashes have started up again in the same area. Given the pandemic, eye doctors are only open for emergency care, and I really do not want to get exposed. At what point is this situation an emergency?

I am currently on estrogen patch, Sertraline, and Nexium.

Dr. Souhad

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Flashes can signify many conditions affecting the inner layers of the eye starting with the vitreous (the gel structure pressing down the retina - in high myopes it is usually dissociated) where floaters are usually located. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, elements of blood can form in that space and start floating (floaters).

The way to detect if it is in the vitreous is to look sideways and if the floater follows the motion of the eye (slowly in the same direction) then it is in the vitreous and does not require quick intervention. If the distortion is in the same position in whatever direction you look then we are talking about the retina and retinal detachment which should be urgently excluded. If you are seeing a halo around the source of light then your eye pressure might be increased and requires urgent attention.

Was this answer helpful?


Thank you doctor,

The floaters definitely move with the eye. I am more concerned that the flashes have started back up, although right now they are intermittent. Should I be concerned or just monitor and not exercise for a few days?

Dr. Souhad

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Considering that the flashes are nonetheless persisting, I would refrain from any exercises (especially bending down) or carrying heavy stuff. I would also like you to compare the eyes (close one with your hand) and evaluate the vision in all directions and see whether you feel that some part of your visual field is not as adequate as the other eye (that would be effective and informative only if the eyes have the same refractive power). Otherwise, I would recommend that you get a comprehensive eye exam (not in an emergency room, especially with the spread of the virus).

I hope this helps.

Was this answer helpful?


Ask a QueryAsk a Query Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat
Also Read Answers From:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

What is the cause for eye floaters problem?

Query: Hi doctor, I am 56 years old male. I have eye floaters problem. I have blood pressure. I am taking tablets for it.  Read Full »

I have sudden blurring of vision on one eye. Is it due to retinal detachment?

Query: Hello doctor, My vision was crystal clear this morning. I just woke up from a nap, and the vision in my left eye is blurry. It has not cleared up in the past half an hour. Twice over the years, this has happened, and it normalized over a few hours, but I am in a jungle now. So, I would like to err ...  Read Full »

My grandmother has eye floaters with minimal eyesight. Please suggest solution.

Query: Hello doctor, My grandmother is 65 years old. She has a problem with eye flashes for four years. She complaints of getting lights in her eyes in various shapes like stars, sparks, and pictures of various colors. She is left with only 5% eyesight. Please recommend the best medicine and eye drops for...  Read Full »



Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask an Eye Care Ophthalmologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.
Enter Your Health Query
You can upload files and images in the next step.



Disclaimer: All health Q&As published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.