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Flickering in vision in the dark and night
Hi,

I noticed there was another posting similar to mine but I was hoping you might be able to provide more information.  
I am a healthy 27 year old female with no history of health issues in my family.  I want to know more about why I see flickering (as another person described "strobe-like flickering" when it is dark.  In a way it looks almost like little dull lights (though its not quite lights, more like electricity..) flapping their "wings."  It looks as if something is constantly moving, hundreds of them fluttering around.  I can see it out of the corner of my eyes, straight ahead, up, down, close to me, at a distance...

I started noticing these flickerings a few years ago.  I see the flickering only when it is dark, whether its during the day when I am wide awake and just going into a dark room or at night before I go to bed.  If I wake up in the middle of the night and look around, the flickering is more pronounced.  I have asked other people if they see this flickering and they don't know what I am talking about.  I have had my eyes checked, seen a doctor, etc and I am fine and healthy.  

Is this just an optical illusion?  A trick that my eyes are playing on me in the dark?  Am I really seeing things?  Is there something wrong with me?  I don't recall seeing these flickers when I was younger.  Now I see them any time there is darkness.  Thanks.  Let me know if you need more information.
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I forgot to add that this flickering isn't something that just lasts a minute or two.. I will see the flickering continuously as long as its dark.  As soon as I turn on the lights, I no longer see the flickering.
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233488 tn?1310696703
There are regular posts like this and I am not able to give a "most common cause" response. I would suggest you consult a neuro-ophthalmologist. Find one a www.aao.org

On the other hand none of the posters have found that this was due to anything serious (or at least that they have subsequently shared with us).

JCH III MD
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can you see it when you close your eyes? do you have any blind spots in your vision?
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Hi,

No I don't see it when my eyes are closed and I don't have blind spots in my vision.  My vision is perfectly fine, its just when its dark that I see the flickering, kind of like snow on a tv but larger...
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Hi, I may have been the person who posted the flickering lights with strobe like patterns or sometimes looking like a star burst/fireworks display.  In my case, I see them with my eyes closed, and my eye doctors always say-'its' the vitreous'.  When my eyes are open, I see wave forms moving about in front of the one eye with this condition.  Those wave forms are in the same location as the starbursts I see with eyes closed.  Recently, one eye doctor said part of my problem is that there is a vitreous veil sitting right in front of my macula, and the turbulence of vitreous in the eye causes that to flucturate, thereby the starbursts.   My central vision in that eye is not as good as the other eye, and since it is my major eye, the 'bad' eye dominates my brain's view.
I should note that I saw a small spiralling condition in the eye about 1-1/2 years ago, and at that time the eye doctor said it was 'in your mind'.  Now it has expanded and certainly not my imagination.  No matter how much I complain about the condition, my eye doctors all say they will not do a vitrectomy to help me-too dangerous.  boy, those of us with these phenomenae really need help, but it seems all we get are comments like 'cope'.    
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Hi, I may have been the person who posted the flickering lights with strobe like patterns or sometimes looking like a star burst/fireworks display.  In my case, I see them with my eyes closed, and my eye doctors always say-'its' the vitreous'.  When my eyes are open, I see wave forms moving about in front of the one eye with this condition.  Those wave forms are in the same location as the starbursts I see with eyes closed.  Recently, one eye doctor said part of my problem is that there is a vitreous veil sitting right in front of my macula, and the turbulence of vitreous in the eye causes that to flucturate, thereby the starbursts.   My central vision in that eye is not as good as the other eye, and since it is my major eye, the 'bad' eye dominates my brain's view.
I should note that I saw a small spiralling condition in the eye about 1-1/2 years ago, and at that time the eye doctor said it was 'in your mind'.  Now it has expanded and certainly not my imagination.  No matter how much I complain about the condition, my eye doctors all say they will not do a vitrectomy to help me-too dangerous.  boy, those of us with these phenomenae really need help, but it seems all we get are comments like 'cope'.    
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You and I have a similar star burst condition.  Dr. Hagan suggested you go to an neuro-ophthalmologist.  I am seeing one this Friday, and will relay what he says about my condition to you.  As I mentioned, my starbursts are seen when my eyes are closed, and that same location is where I have blurring and waviness when the eye is open.  Another observation about my trouble eye is that it feels heavier, and there is a dull ache at the upper part of the eye globe.  Doctors have told me I should not feel such ache in that area, only in the cornea where all the nerve endings are.  Then the eye doctors say-'dry eye', a convenient way to try to appease the sensitive patient.  I do have dry eye, but not where the dull ache occurs.  Any such achiness for you?  I also have a PVD in that eye, and wonder if it is moving causing the achy sensation.  Russell903
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I finally saw a neuro ophthalmologist yesterday.  Acuity 20/20 and 20/30 OD and OS.  Pressures @18 both eyes.  Tested for pupil response, sensing of odors, contact to face and around eyes, tapping around eyes, w/no significant concerns.  dilated inspection of both eyes indicate very, very mild dry ARMD and both optic nerves look healthy, however the left OS eye showed effects of high pressures.  I told him I have great discomfort when wearing my glasses inside or outside unless I use sunglasses.  He was surprised at that considering my acuity levels.  I asked him what was the reason for the spiraling sunbursts I see continuously with eyes closed or open-left eye only.  He could give me no answer, because he cannot see the sunburst,,spiralling pattern.  He asked if I or my family have lupus or rhematoid arthritis, and I said no.  He's having me take some blood tests to rule out these and other possibilities.  Of course, I asked why both eyes are not affected if it is a blood disorder, and he could not answer.  Summary-another doctor who tells me I'm in pretty good shape and should not be suffering as I do.  I cannot watch TV, read a book, do close up work, and have not done so for over six months.  I continue to search for the answer to my problems of spiraling and blurry vision, but may well have to seek those answers from others than the standard medical community.  To be frank, the condition is such that it will probably drive me crazy before I lose my total vision.  Torture, and doctors just say, 'cope'.  
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233488 tn?1310696703
Russell903   Would you have felt better if they found a brain tumor? or epilepsy? or a bursting blood vessel in your brain?   Of course not.  Sometimes no news is better than bad news and no diagnosis is better than a fatal diagnosis.

In my practice on a daily basis I see people with symptoms I cannot explain on the basis of the exam or tests we've done. I have to tell them let's watch this and see what happens. Hopefully it goes away. Hopefully it stays the same or gets better. If it gets worse or something new develops we do more tests, repeat tests, get more consults, send them to Mayo clinic, etc.

This is called watchful waiting. Its not ignoring you or your symptoms.

If somethings changes see another neurologist and neuro-ophthalmologist or go back to the one's you've seen

JCH III MD
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I understand that there can be no answers to conditions such as mine.  I've waited and waited to see if the conditin in the OS eye would stabilize, and it has not.  Yes, my acuity remains the same as when I first heard I had several eye diseases two years ago, but my ability to retain focus has left me.  So I can get good scores on acuity, but the actual vision retention is short lived.  I still think it's a circulation problem  that has not bee tested and excused.  You mentioned Mayo clinic as a place to go to one other forum person-is there some MD there that is a starting point?  

Thank you Dr. Hagan, your comments are always appreciated.

Russell903
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There are many world class referral centers: Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Wilmer Institute of John Hopkins medical school, Emory University, Washington University in St. Louis, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami.

I would start out in the neuro-ophthlamology section of any of these places. There are many more in the USA.

JCH IIII MD
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i see what looks like little fireflies but i only see them when i turn my neck. have you found out what it is?
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I have the same srobe like effects going on very fast flickering of light sometimes i get it in the day light but only at the corner of my vision. It usually happens when I relax my eyes and dont focus on a point for example if im watching tv and look away for a while i can see the tv screen flickering like mad in my side vision and when I look at the screen straight on its prefect but the flickering stays a little bit after but isn't as strong ? It is different when I go to bed once it is dark the flicking or pulses of light happens all over its like there's a lightening storm going on, this happens when I have my eyes open and when I close them it turns more into an orb like shape green in colour and kind of radiating or pulsing slowly? I am 21 and have only had these experiences for the past year never had anything of the sort before ? It comes and goes for me some days are better than others, used to play a lot of shooting games on the Xbox but hav stopped playing because i thought my eyes just needed a rest from focusing on aiming in game but this didnt help it still happens. I also have good vision which is 20/19 meaning one eye is slightly stronger than the other. If anyone can give me an answer or has similar experiences to me please contact me at Sully.***@**** thanks for your time
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I have this too and mentioned on MyChart and didn't get past doctor's assistant, who said flickering lights are not unusual for my condition (CSCR). As usual, they don't understand what I write because they don't take the time to read that it is dark flickering like a bad TV set.

Self diagnosis is I need a prescription update (I do) because the muscles in my eye are straining and, so, vibrating. When I'm exercising at night on the bike, the flickering is noticeable in the dark. I found that, if I relax my eye and try not to focus on anything, the flickering goes away. This seems to support my theory.

Please note that this seems to be a field where doctors are behind. We live in a time where everything is triage because there are too many patients and doctors no longer have time to try and understand that which they see as minor things.

Fortunately, with the eye, it does seem that you can ignore most things. I've gone through a lot with this eye and one thing to note: once you notice something, you notice EVERYTHING, including things that were naturally happening before that you didn't pay attention to. It is often best to try not to notice things, since the eye is far from a perfect device, which is why your brain is so good at correcting the image. Think about it and the brain isn't so good at it. It's not easy, I know, but doable. For another example, think of your shoes. All of a sudden, you feel an itch. Maybe a little discomfort. Did you notice it before you thought of your shoes?
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