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HomeAnswersOphthalmology (Eye Care)nystagmusCan PVD and retinal detachment cause flashes of light in the eyes?

I sometimes feel the light of my room is flickering, but it is not. What can it be?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At September 6, 2020
Reviewed AtJuly 30, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I saw brief flashes of light under my left eye thrice this week. Now suddenly, I sometimes feel the light of my room is flickering, but it is not. Is it only in my vision?

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thanks for writing in. Flashes of light without any symptoms of eye pain or headache usually indicate the irritation of retina, which is being pulled on often by the vitreous a jelly-like substance inside the eyeball. The ophthalmologist should check out persistent flashes. They will dilate your pupils and see if there are any retinal holes or breaks due to the vitreous pulling effect. Holes or retinal tears will require laser treatment if present to prevent a retinal detachment. The vitreous loses jelly consistency sometimes in people with high myopia (nearsightedness) or who are genetically predisposed. Please meet an ophthalmologist tomorrow.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

Do I have PVD or retinal detachment?

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

You might not have those things. It could be an early stage of vitreous syneresis. If you see a shadow or curtain in your side vision, there could be a retinal detachment. PVD (posterior vitreous detachment) can be diagnosed only on examination. Some people complain of a ring-like floater. Do not worry. If any of those things are there, treatment within a week will sort it out. Try to make an appointment soon. Do not lift heavyweights in the interim.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

I do not have any side curtains, and I only experienced flashes three times in total, but since today I feel like my vision is flickering. At first, I thought it was my light, but it was not. Like it suddenly gets dark and goes away very fast, this happens in both the eyes, but the flashing occurred in my left eye.

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It is unlikely that you would have these symptoms in both eyes if it is retina related. If you have any sweating or dizziness, that could indicate a syncope. Perhaps low blood pressure or hypoglycemia. You can get both checked when you visit the hospital. Sometimes these symptoms disappear overnight.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor.

Thank you for your reply,

The flashes have not reappeared. But, the flickering is making me worried.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Please do not worry. Sleep peacefully for at least eight hours. Nothing will happen. It will likely be gone tomorrow.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

Since yesterday, the flickering has increased in both the eyes. I am sure I do not have retinal detachment because it is happening in both the eyes. Yesterday night for a brief moment, my flickering became very constant. I cannot go to the doctor due to the ongoing pandemic. Is there anything I can do to make my symptoms less noticeable? The flickering happens two to three times in an hour.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

You can take some bed rest. If it is happening in both eyes, it may not be a retinal issue, although degeneration of vitreous usually occurs in both eyes if one is prone to it. You need not worry about going to a hospital during the current situation as safety measures are in place as the doctors also do not want to be exposed. You will likely have to meet a neurologist too if the eye examination is normal. Do you have any headache or pain on moving the eyes? Do you see colors as washed out or dull? Any other signs like numbness of limbs or tingling? Any family history of diabetes or hypertension? Any dizziness?

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

I do not have any dizziness or pain in the limbs or pain while moving the eyes. I do not see colors washed out or dull. There is no family history of hypertension or diabetes. For an hour, I did not get any flickering as such.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Another thing you can do is ask someone around you to examine your eye with a torch and see if your eyes are moving rapidly. It is called nystagmus (repetitive and uncontrolled movement of the eye). Also, check if your pupils are the same size. Can you do that?

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

Sure I will get back to you soon. When I held the torch towards my eye, my pupils were the same size, but in both the eyes, I could see them becoming big and small. For instance, I kept the torch on one eye; it became big and then small, and later the other eye, it became big and small in the same manner.

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

What about any nystagmus? Someone else will have to look because if you check, you will not make out. It will be good if they look for it when flickering happens. Alao, do you have any ringing sound in the ears sometimes? Try standing straight with your eyes closed and both arms straight out sideways, and see if you feel like you are losing your balance.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

Yes, I feel like I will lose my balance, but I can control it when I close my eyes. I feel that my eyes are moving or flickering fast. I do not have any ringing sounds in my ear. But after a while, my eyes feel like normal, and the flickering does not happen often.

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Are you eating correctly, or do you have any loose motion? You can try tablet Neurobion Forte (Vitamin B12 supplement). Sometimes, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nerve problems.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

Yes, I am eating properly.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

When you say flickering, you mean light flashes or shaking of vision or eyelid?

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

It feels as if my eyes are shaking. But I never noticed it before when you told me to check my balance. Yes, my eyelids also shake.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

That is probably nystagmus. But someone has to see it to confirm it. If it is there, you will have to meet a neurologist as soon as possible. Meanwhile, buy Neurobion Forte. No harm in taking it.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

When will my symptoms go? I am anxious. Is it something serious?

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

There does not seem to be a problem in the eye, I feel. The twitching of eyes is often seen in calcium deficiency or electrolyte imbalance. If it is only the twitching, then you can try an ice pack on the eyes to soothe the irritated nerves. You also told me about flashes and vision flickering initially. If it is nystagmus where the eyeball moves rapidly, then it is a neurologic or ear problem. And only the physician can diagnose what it is.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor.

I do not feel my eyes moving very fast, and I will try the ice pack, but fortunately, since I messaged you, I did not get any flickering in my eye yet.

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Buy Neurobion Forte today itself. Do the cold compress, and tomorrow if it is still there, please meet the neurologist. Do not worry about coronavirus. Take one tablet daily for at least two weeks.

Patient's Query

Thank you very much, doctor.

Will do the needful.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Good night and take care.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Asha Juliet Barboza
Dr. Asha Juliet Barboza

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)

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