Causes and symptoms of eye flashes

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Some people may experience flashes in the vision but they are not clear what these flashes actually are. In fact, flashes are visual effects where a person sees sudden flashes of light. In some cases, such an effect can be an arc of light. Or a light bulb flashes on and off in the peripheral vision. Visual flashes may bother many people and even be scaring. Also called flashing lights, eye flashes in the visual field are similar to eye floaters.

Vitreous detachment usually causes visual flashes

The reason for eye flashes varies significantly among different people. Aging-related damage to the vitreous humor in the eye is one of the common causes. Once the vitreous gel in the eye rubs or pulls on the retina, eye flashes occur. This is a medical problem formally called vitreous detachment. They usually appear as lighting streaks or flashing lights in the vision. Furthermore, eye flashes caused by this eye condition occur usually in together with eye floaters.

Old people are more vulnerable to vitreous detachment

It is easy to understand that the vitreous gel in the eye of older people changes more than that in youngsters. As people age, the vitreous gel begins to thicken or clump, so that eye flashes happen more frequently to older individuals. Although these eye flashes are usually temporary and do not indicate a serious condition, they should be under monitoring and deserve precautions. They are just natural occurrence that can be off and on for several weeks or even months.

Standing up suddenly is another possible cause

Many people have experienced visual flashes when they stand up suddenly, especially after a long time of rest or work in a seat. This vision effect is caused by blood flow changes. This feeling is just similar to that when a person gets hit in the head or in the eye. In common words, it is “seeing stars”. In most cases, this form of eye flashes needs no serious concern.

Migraine may cause eye flashes

Another eye disease named migraines can also cause eye flashes. Usually lasting from 10 to 20 minutes every time, migraine brings jagged lines or heat waves in both eyes, which originate from a spasm of blood vessels in the brain. Frequent migraines require a doctor’s visit.

Abrupt or unexplainable eye flashes deserve extra attention

While most cases of eye flash are not serious, light flashes that are sudden or unexplained are worth an immediate visit to an ophthalmologist. Like other sudden visual problems, abrupt eye flashes sometimes signify an underlying eye disease or injury. Actually, torn retina is usually associated with sudden form of eye flashes.