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I see flashes yet my ophthalmologist says my eyes are fine. What could it be then?
About 5 months ago I started to see floaters in my vision. I went to my ophthalmologist and she said they were normal of someone with myopia and that I would eventually get used to them. The biggest problem happend 2/3 weeks ago, when I started to see little flashes of light in my right eye (which is also the eye with more floaters). I see it almost everytime I suddenly move my eyes upward or from right to left (also with head movement) and I'm looking at the sky or a white / light surface. It looks like a headlight of a car is pointing at me or like someone's got mirror and it's reflecting some tiny light right into my eye.

I read somewhere flashes could be caused by PVD (posterior vitreous detachment) or even retinal detachment, so I got really worried and went to see an ophthalmologist as soon as I could. Since my ophthalmologist was completly booked I went to the emergency room in the public hospital. The doctor there ranned all sorts of tests and said she saw nothing wrong in my eye or my retina, tears nothing. I asked her what was causing me to see flashes then, and she responded "I'm sorry, but I don't know. They'll probably go away soon."

2 weeks after and I'm still seeing the flashes.

I'm already an extremely anxious person (this last year I have been going in and out of doctor's offices because of different "problems / diseses / pains" only to find out they were all the result of anxiety) but this is making me feel so BAD like never before... I'm terrified, I can not sleep or eat properly, my chest feels tight and I'm crying everyday. I have made an appointment with a psychologist because I can't handle this anymore. I'm only 19, by the way.

Does anyone here have the same or do you know what is possibly going on in my eyes? Should I go to see another ophthalmologist? Could this all be just anxiety ??

Thanks in advance.
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Avatar universal
Get a OCT scan performed by a retinal ophthalmologist if you have not done so already.  That will give you imaging you can look at and hopefully peace of mind.
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Oh! Never heard of a OCT scan. I'll look it up
Thank you, MrPresley.
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177275 tn?1438375244
Try and get a referral to an Eye MD ophthalmologist that specializes in retina. There are extra test and special expertise that is used looking for problems.
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Another test that a retinal ophthalmologist may perform is fundus photography, which provides detailed images of the retina.  If done, he/she will probably use contrast for some of the photographs.  I currently see my retina specialist twice a year, and he has the OCT done every time, while the photographs have typically been done once a year or so on every second or third visit.
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177275 tn?1438375244
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I've already scheduled an appointment with a retinal ophthalmologist/specialist  for tomorrow. Hope he or she can tell me what I have.
Thank you both so much for the advice!
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177275 tn?1438375244
Please take the time to post what the retina Eye MD finds as a learning experience for others who read this discussion thread. thanks very much
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Yes, of course. I was going to post here yesterday but my vision was fuzzy due to my eyes being dilated.
Woah, I feel so much calm now!! Finally, someone explained to me what was going on with my eye.

I'm just gonna try to explain and repeat what the doctor told me (sorry if I use wrong terms). So it's seems I have PVD which is when the vitreous gel separates itself from the retina. Even doe it is more common with poeple of old age (as the vitreous gel gets "old" and shrinks), in my case it was because of my high myopia (I'm 4.0 and 4.5). This is because the eye of a myopic is bigger and so the vitreous might start to detach itself from the retina.

While the most common symptom is to see floaters, sometimes you can also see flashes of light. They happen when there are still vitreous areas attached to the retina and so, when I move my eyes quickly, the vitreous pulls on the retina causing to see flashes. I will only stop seeing flashes when the vitreous separates itself completly from the retina. When it's an old eye the process is faster (the vitreous is older) and the flashes might only last 2-3 days, but because my vitreous gel is still very young it might take longer for me (many weeks, even months).

Now, the only "dangerous part" is that when the vitreous detaches itself complety from the retina it might tear it and consequentionly - if not treated quickly -  lead to vision loss.

The ophthalmologist made an echography to my eye (I could see the little guys!) and then he deleted my right eye and looked at my retina (using some kind of lens). For a myopic my retina was actually pretty strong so it is unlikely my retina will tear when the vitreous detaches. Even so, I still have to make regular check ups, especially during this early phase. Of course I have to go back immediately if I see a sudden increase of floaters and flashes.


In the end it's nothing I have to worry about too much. Just relax, do the check ups and try to get used to them in the meantime!


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Avatar universal
That's good news.  The vitreous in my case pulled on the retina enough to cause very noticeable visual changes (wavy lines, spotty vision like looking through water droplets on a lens, etc) in the form of an epiretinal membrane (ERM) in the macular area which required surgery to correct.  Keep your checkups, your eyes will thank you.
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177275 tn?1438375244
That was an excellent explanation CNHo. And one I agree with and a description I have often posted.  If the retina tears usually there is a change in symptoms so that the flashes are brighter, more common, may occur without head movement and in bright light. Often there are new floaters which look like soot or hundreds of tiny black dots.
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I'm sorry to hear that, MrPresley. I've learned our vision is really precious and we should never take it for granted.
Yes, I'll keep doing my checkups! Hope your vision is better now!
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Oh! Thank you, Sir. I was afraid I made a mistake or wasn't very clear.
I see... thank you! I'll run to the ophthalmologist office if I see something like that.
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It's great now, CHNo.  It was all new experiences involving a retinal specialist and cataract surgeon but my current corrected vision is 20/15 with contacts.  I'll call it a win.
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Sorry, I was out for a while... Glad to hear that, MrPresley, and I hope everything continues to go well!!

Oh, and just one more thing I want to clarify! JHnMD said that that flashes would be consider dangerous if seen in bright light. But I ONLY see flashes in bright light, just like floaters. My ophthalmologist said it was normal, because I had to have light entering my eye to see them.
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177275 tn?1438375244
For you go by what your ophthalmologist says that has looked in your eye. Mine is a generalization for the average PVD. More troublesome if bright flashes seen in bright light than in the dark.
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An OCT is pretty much useless if your having flashes in your peripheral vision as it scans your central vision and without a "dim curtain" coming over your vision you could still have a retinal detachment and it would not show on an OCT. The preferred method of examination of the peripheral retina is with a binocular indirect ophthalmoscopically or BIO. And involves your doctor using headgear and a lens to look in your eyes. A newer technology that allows imaging of the peripheral retina is a scanning laser ophthalmoscope which can image almost the entire retina at once. This is a much more useful imaging tool for your case.
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