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Seeing stars....
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Seeing stars....

  Thank you for answering my question about my daughter's Grave Disease Eye problems.  Now I have a question about myself.  I see "stars" a lot.  I don't know if this is an eye problem or another kind of problem, or whether it is just normal.  Certain things make me see stars all the time....example, bending down, exercise, etc.  Other times I see stars for no reason.  By seeing starts I mean I will see hundreds of flashes of light in front of my eyes.  They go away if I close my eyes.  The flashes can persist for a few minutes at a time, but for no more than 5 minutes at any one time.  Sometimes I just see a few "stars" but more often an episode will bring too many stars to count, The flashes of light seem to flash at random and will disappear as strangely and suddenly as they start.  I don't know if it means anything, but it can be a little unnerving.  There are too many flashes to ignore....even if I try to look through the stars or beyond the stars, I can still see the flashing.  Overall, my vision does not seem to change...there is no blurring.  Doesn't seem to matter whether my glasses are on or off.  Even though exercise can start them, occasionally the stars will flash at rest.  Is this a visual concern?  Is this normal?  Do I need to consult a doctor, and if so what kind?  If it is a problem, what types of disorders could cause such symptoms.  Incidentally, this has not been a sudden onset....for years I have noticed these symptoms, but it used to be just a few isolated starts once in a while...recently there are a lot more episodes, each episode takes longer to resolve, and there are a LOT more flashes!
  Thanks, Deb
There can be several causes of seeing flashing lights.  
Sometimes, flashing lights or jagged moving lights can be associated with migrane (migraine) headaches.  Usually these flashing lights occur prior to the headache and are in both eyes; however, there can be migranes (migraines) with no flashing lights and only headaches or migranes (migraines) with only flashing lights and no headaches (ophthalmic migranes (migraines)).  
Flashing lights can also be caused by pulling on the retina.  This can be associated with floaters.  In this case, the symptoms are usually in one eye at a time.  Anyone with new floaters and floaters should see an ophthalmologist to have his or her retina examined.
Flashing lights may occur if one exercises too hard as blood can be shunted away from certain parts of the brain and the eye to muscles.  In this situation, one should try to stop exercising and see if the flashing lights stop.
It is difficult to provide more specific information without examining you.  I think you should see either your ophthalmologist or primary care physician for further evaluation.
This information is provided for educational purposes only.  You should see your physician for specific diagnostic and treatment options.

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John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
Discover Vision Centers of Kansas City
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