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Peripheral white flashes of light in the dark
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ScipioneC posted:
Hi.

I wonder if I am posting in the right section, because I suspect this topic could belong to the field of neurology. But what do I know?

It started a few months ago. Before falling asleep I got this strange flashes of light that seemed to come from "behind" or "inside" my eyes, and affecting my peripheral vision. As if the head was glowing, so to speak and my eyes caught the glow. Not that I actually believe my head was glowing (duh), but that was the sensation.
Since the first time I have been having the flashes almost every time I am about to fall asleep. I don't fight them or are scared by them, nor kept awake by them. They are very curious and I just wonder about them.

The flashes come in bursts, sometimes very frequent or powerful, some other times mild or very faint which is almost disappointing.

The weirdest thing is that now I developed the ability to actually provoke these flashes voluntarily. I don't know if this describes the phenomena exactly, but here is how it feels: I am laying in bed in the dark, I have my eyes half-closed, and I perceive nothing but a faint disturbance of light coming from the environment. Then I do a "deep focus" with my eyes, as if i was trying to look at something very close or very far from me and instantly the flashes of light start.

OK, this sums it up. I found other people describing similar symptoms on the internet but no actual answer as to what causes this.

I am male, 40, more or less in health.
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Alan M Kozarsky, MD responded:
Peripheral flashes of light, sort of like flash bulbs going off, can be a symptom of a retinal tear or an early retinal detachment. That is why we encourage people with new symptoms of light flashes to see an eye physician immediately.

That being said, it sounds like you are having your "light flashes" in both eyes which would make it very unlikely to be related to retinal tears.....i.e. it would be extremely unlikely for both eyes to develop identical retinal problems at the same time.

So, it does not sound like you have the typical kind of retinal flashes and if the lights are being seen in both eyes, this strongly suggests that the cause is not the eyes themselves but some deeper process.

However, it would not be a bad idea if you started out with an eye exam because all subsequent doctors (neurologists) will need to know that your eyes are normal before looking for other causes.
 
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ScipioneC replied to Alan M Kozarsky, MD's response:
Thank you for you answer!

yes the phenomena happens in both eyes and it is completely symmetrical.

This is why I also thought at something neurological. But I agree seeing an eye specialist is the place where to start.

I have been reading about this "posterior vitreous detachment", whose symptoms, at least on the page, sound somewhat like mine. Is that to be generally ruled out as well, if it happens symmetrically?

Just to speculate, any idea as to what could be happening neurologically to cause something like this?

Thanks for your help
S C
 
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Alan M Kozarsky, MD replied to ScipioneC's response:
No need to speculate. Lets leave this to the neurologists after seeing the ophthalmologist.


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