Avatar universal

For those with the bright spot when blinking symptom

There are several of us on here who have a similar eye complaint: seeing a bright flash, like the afterimage of a flash bulb, when we blink, and sometimes, on upgaze. This is  transient symptom for most of us, lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. When the "spot" in our visual field passes over a dark background, the spot appears light. When the spot passes over a light background, it appears dark.

So far, the doctors haven't been able to diagnose us, and perhaps that means it is simply some idiopathic phenomenon. But, in any case, I'm wondering what other similarities we might all have that could bring us closer to a an explanation.

For instance, other factors about me which might be clues are:

I take 100 mg of Zoloft a day
I would describe myself as high-anxiety and stress
I clench my teeth, usually on the same side as the effected eye
I have alot of sinus problems around my eyes
I have double vision due to a weak muscle in one eye
I have many floaters and one very prominent one in the eye without the bright spot

How about you?
1326 Responses
Avatar universal
I would also add that my bright spot is significantly worse after working at the computer (which I do several hours a day).

I can not see my bright spot in dim/dark conditions. It is aggravated by bright light and light-colored backgrounds.

Avatar universal
Hi astroturf
I would also describe myself as anxious and a worrier
I'm not on any meds
I do clench my teeth and grind them at night
I have a TON of floaters, since I was a kid
I have migraine with aura
I cannot see the spots in the dark, unless I'm watching TV or on the computer etc
They are most noticeable against light backgrounds, the sky and when glancing at anything with contrast. horizontal blinds and lined paper are awful.
Avatar universal
does your spot show up on an Amsler grid?
can you see through it or is it a scotoma (blind spot)?
can you see in when you watch TV? on the computer monitor etc? what about when you are reading? are you aware of it then?
Avatar universal
Yes, my spot shows up in the Amsler grid. It is in the upper right quadrant. It appears as a whole, with the grid lines becoming slightly distorted as they "fall into" the whole.

Yes, I can see through the spot. It is not a totally blocked scotoma. Sometimes it appears light grey. Other times it is almost pinkish. Sometimes blue. It looks very much like the afterimage of a bright light and goes through the same variations of color. But it is never a black, opaque spot.

Yes, I see the spot when I'm watching TV or at the computer. Mostly, it shows up when I see it cross over the edge of the TV/computer screen.

I can never look directly at the spot as I can do with my big floater in the other eye. This spot is fixed in the same position, and it's not exactly central.

It seems to show up mostly when my eyes are  moving and the light/background conditions are changing. Once my eyes are steady and fixed on something, the spot disappears. But if I, say, look up from the computer screen, and then back down at it....the spot appears again.

Avatar universal
I do wonder about the clenching, though, because I clench very VERY hard on that side. Sometimes, the side of my face goes numb from clenching. Other times, my ear or eye starts to hurt. It seems reasonable to me that tensing all the muscles on that side of my face might irritate the optic nerve?

But then, I'm no doctor.

Avatar universal
I can see through some of my spots a little, others make the grid lines disappear.

Mine don't have color, just range from white like a bright light to gray through to black (interestingly, they are only truly black indoors when I have sunglasses on and am looking at a fluorescent light! not sure what to make of that)

Like you, the spots are most noticeable when they fall on the EDGES of the TV screen, monitor etc.

I can't look directly at them either.

I'm sure if I could sit down with an expert and they took the time to look at all the pieces of the puzzle, a lot might be explained. Unfortunately, in my experience doctors simply don't have the leeway to do that, through no fault of their own

Same with the eye movement too. If i'm busy typing on the computer, I don't really notice them, but if I glance down at the computer screen and back up, they "flare".

I hvae a lot of tension in my neck, shoulders and jaw and wonder if there is a connection also.

Avatar universal
I should also add, I got a new spot yesterday afternoon. Now I have two "active" annyoing spots in my right eye at once, which has never happened before. While most of my spots are pemanent, after a few weeks they "fade" to small scotomas and I don't really notice them all the time (like I do with the new ones"). The old ones are visible mainly under the circumstances I mentioned above, unless I got looking for them.
Avatar universal
Ok I am curious about all of this.

I have just been diagnosed with AZOOR/AIBSE it is characterized by a blind spot, and flashing lights within that blind spot. It is a retinal disease and affects the rods and cones. They don't know much about it, there is no treatment, it is rare (but perhaps many people aren't being diagnosed right), lots of floaters in the affected eye are common. I actually have it in both eyes but didn't notice the blind spot in my left eye, but it is active in my right.

Have any of you ever had a mfERG this would diagnose if this is actually a retina or optic nerve problem?   Ask your opthalmologist about it.

I was misdiagnosed with optic neuritis for 9 months. I don't notice my flashing lights all the time, different light levels either show it as light like a moving fan or black like writhing snakes.
Avatar universal
That's interesting. On my last opthalmologist visit I actually asked about MEWDS, AZOOR, enlarged blind spot syndrome etc and all were ruled out. I had no clinical signs. I did have an ERG when all this started and it was negative.
Tell me, do the flashing lights "flash" independent of eye movement or blinking? Mine don't.
Avatar universal
New development in my case:

Last week, the Amsler Grid had a "hole" in the upper temporal region due to my "bright spot."

This week, now that the bright spot is diminishing somewhat, the "hole" on the Amsler Grid appears more blurred.....and it seemed to MOVE, drifting downwards.

All of which makes me wonder if this is some kind of giant floater?

Or maybe something fluid related?

Avatar universal
I may or may not have similar condition. I have  central serous retinopathy in one eye, but a series of smaller "spots" with same pathology - they appear when I blink fast, or look at computer screen then look away. Been to eye hospital and told nothing wrong after slit exam (though no flourscene scan).
It's difficult to tell, but I reckon I have 8 to 10 of these small light sensetive areas. I wouldn;t know I had them if I wasn't continually checking my vision to see the progress of my CSR. They might, of course, be a number of things, my number one suspicion  being they are small detatchments of a layer of the retina.
Of course, my retinologist would disagree, which leaves me wondering whether they are what you describe.
I am what you'd call a type 1 personality, and had quite a stressful run up to Christmas with child in hospital, general SAD, and, after the CSR showed up, the fear I was going blind.
The condition, whatever it is, has been stable for a couple of months now, and maybe even on the decline. I'm not on any medication other than lanzoprazil for acid reflux and st. John's Wort.
I have trouble sleeping and sometimes take temazapam, grind my teeth, and have ongoing sinus problems, for which I was using nasal decongestants, until I read that they often have cortisol in them, which can cause CSR, and possibly the other problem.
I've also heard coffee and chocolate can affect CSR.
The reason I mention all this is that the pathology of what you suffer from seems similar to CSR, and as such, the things mentioned may affect it.

Hope that's of help.
Avatar universal
That's very interesting. The symptoms you describe fit mine.

From what I understand, CSR is diagnosable on a dilated exam, of which I've had many.

my symptoms have also occurred over a 9-year period, so if it's some chronic recurring form of CSR, you'd think I'd have a diagnosis by now.

I haven't been able to isolate any "triggers" for my spots, which is why my doctors are now suggesting some form of migraine variant.

Do you have migraines with aura?
Avatar universal
I'm really beginning to think this might be related to clenching teeth and TMJ. (See my most recent new question on the forum).

It is reassuring to hear that you have had this for 9 years, doobie, and have not had a serious diagnosis yet. Of course, I realize that is frustrating for you, but also reassuring that if this were something really really bad, surely it would have been discovered by now and/or gotten worse with more symptoms.

Avatar universal
Another thing I noticed yesterday:

When I put on makeup and touch my right eyelid (top or bottom), I see the flash. If I touch, however lightly, anywhere around the eyelids (even the corners), I see the flash. Which again makes me think this is some kind of nerve/muscle near the eye that is being reactive.

How does the color of yours change?

When I'm outside, mine appears pinkish (but only after I blink, otherwise I don't see it at all in very bright light)

When I'm inside and the lighting conditions are constantly changing (going from light to dark room, etc), it appears grey. Sometimes it looks yellow, but that is only when it is really "fired up."

Another weird thing: the size changes. If I'm looking at something close up (such as computer screen), the scotoma appears to be small. When I'm looking at something far away (such as the window across the room), it appears much larger.

Avatar universal
I used to have visual migraines with auras. i've not had one in a while, though.
How many spots do you have? The thing that concerns me about my non CSR symptoms is that I have quite a lot. Like I said, the only thing really like it I've seen mentioned on the internet is RPE detatchments, which can just come and go of their own accord, though can be evidence of something more serious.
I'm kind of ambiguous about it all. I've had three people look at my eyes though slit exam (two opthomologists and a retinologist), and none have seen anything sinister other than my CSR.
As I understand it, though, RPE detatchemnts can be difficult to see, so maybe.
In many ways I'd be happy to have a non-specific condition, so long as it seems non-sinister.

Here's a thing to try, though. With me, I can make the spots appear by blinking, looking from light to dark, but also by getting something small like the end of the arm of my glasses and waggling it in front of my eyes.
Can you see yours?

The only reason I ask is that I remember reading that blinking to induce a symptom is unreliable as it distorts the eyeball. But being able to replicate it without blinking suggests to me there is a problem - however big or small, with the RPE - that is, the layer that deals with the transfer of light through the retina. Obviously, it can't keep up with the fast change in light like the rest of the retina.
Like I say, though, I've trauled the internet for my specific symptoms, and nothing really comes to light, and my retinolagists says there's nothing he can see (though i would have prefered an angiogram, just to make sure).

Oh well.
Avatar universal

yes, my spots appear under the conditions you mention. If I look at the sky, for example, they will appear when I blink, then fade away.

However, if I look at something with high contrast - like the example you mention of your glasses - I will see them all the time. horizontal blinds are the worse - then I can see all my spots, even the old ones. Dittor the Amsler grid.

Re the blinking distorting the eyeball, that's one possibility. Another is that the"flare" of the spot on blinking is some kind of afterimage effect involving the dead area of the retina.

I, of course, prefer the former explanation.

I've googled like crazy too, and the only similar cases i've found have been here.


the color of my spots changes according to the background, ranging from almost black against white to bright white against dark. I don't seem to get any other colours, just shades of grey.

The size and intensity does vary, however, without predictability.

I'm really at a loss to explain it. If i had more intimate knowledge of the workings of the retina, I might be able to figure it out. But my doctors don't really have the time or patience to listen to my layman's explanation of how my spots "behave" under different conditions.


Avatar universal
The peculiar thing with mine is that when I see them using the glasses technique, they appear more clearly, and look almost like faint blisters or perhaps raindrops, which is initially why I though of small retinal detatchments. . Of course, I can never be that precise, as they are never visible for that long, and the more I try to make them visible, the more they seem to fade away.
But like I said, the retinologist couldn't see anything, telling me the retina was perfectly smooth with no problems, so unless he missed something (and he was the head consultant at my hospital), or there's something subtle under the surface, I'll just have to wait and see.
(should have mentioned, I'm getting a second opinion at the Royal Manchester eye hospital, which is the place to go for eyes in my neck of the woods. It's the UK, though, so it will probably take a couple of months to get seen, now it's down as non-urgent).

Here's another question. How big are your spots? If I hold my arm outstretched, mine are about half the size of a fingertip. I know that's a bit vague, but I don;t know how else to rate them. They're also pretty blurry, so that doesn;t help, either.
Avatar universal
My biggest fear is that this is related to the brain in some way. But then we'd have it in both eyes, right? Also, wouldn't even the most minimally trained doctor be able to recognize something potentially serious to the brain? I mean, we have no medical background (except for our constant Google searches), so the fact that this many doctors have not urged us to get an MRI pronto must mean that there is something in our symptoms that excludes that possibility in their mind. If I'm making sense.

My husband says I pay too much attention to my spot and that if I'd just forget it, it would go away.

Do you ever get headaches at night from all the squinting and looking at (searching for) your spots?

The whole things makes me so depressed sometimes.
Avatar universal
I know exactly what you mean about it changing appearance when something is waving in front of you.

The other day I was swaying back and forth holding the baby, and in the background, my eyes just happened to be passing over a window with a curtain over it. So, my eyes were going back and forth from curtain to lit window, curtain to lit window. In that setting, my spot was very distracting, almost flickering.
Avatar universal
Can you ever look directly at your spot?

I can't.

It's always in the upper temporal area. I only see it if I'm fixated on something right in front of me.

Have either of you had MRIs?
Avatar universal
No MRIs, but I'm pretty sure mine is related to my retina. My understanding is that you have a pigment layer in your retina that carries light through the retina and to the optic nerve. When I get my Central serous retinopathy, the centre section develops something similar to a blister. It disrupts the flow of this pigment, and makes it visible, especially when I blink or move my eyes from a dark area or a light area. Basically, the blistered area can;t keep up with the non-blistered area and so the dark or light lingers in the area of disruption.
This is what I suspect is happening in my other eye.
Why it;s happening is what worries me.
It could be small detatchments which, I've read, can accompany CSR and can go of their own accord.
That's what I suspect it may be.
THey may also recur, which is what may be happening.
But until I get a second opinion and ask the questions I should have asked last time, then I won;t know for sure, and it's the constant uncertainty that grinds me down.
I've had it two months that I know of now, and I continually move from feeling like it's probably okay to wondering if I'm going blind.

One thing my Retinologist did say though, was that the more you focus on something in your eye, the more your brain sees it. I think he was suggesting that your brain learns to kind of fill in the blanks and make up for the errors, but if you constantly look for the errors and find them, then your brain sees them more clearly.

Of course he did end with "The brain is a powerful thing," which to me smacked of "You're imagining it."

Personally I'd be happy if I was imagining it. Just so long as they could prove it to me.

If it's any consolation, when I first had my CSR, I was convinced I'd have a brain tumour. My doc said she really doubted it, though, because usually with brain related problems there is more than one symptom. Typically, you'd have a collection, like dizzyness, hearing problems, character change, strange tastes, maybe strange smells, headaches etc. Single symptoms were usually rare in such cases.
Avatar universal
As i understand it, if the problem is on one eye, then the problem has to be occurring BEFORE the optic chiasm, which is the part of the brain where the optic nerves cross. anything from there back would manifest in both eyes.

So, yes, the problem could be with the brain, not the yes in our cases.

It could be the optic nerves.

Gotte, my spots do not look like droplets. They most definitely look like an afterimage of some sort. They vary in size, but the largest would is probably larger than a fingernail at  arm's length.

I have had an MRI of my optic nerves, but I never went back for the results (fool).

Can you see yours on an Amlser grid? can you see through it?

I can't look directly at my spots, since they don't move and aren't at my point of focus (yet!). they behave exactly as your does, with the curtains, window etc.

There is defintely something in regard to the brain becoming trained to notice things.
If  you always think about your nose interfering with your vision, for example, you will become increasingly distracted by it.

I'm not saying this is in our heads, but we do become hyper-aware of our vision, which doesn't help and increases anxiety.
Avatar universal
It's funny, because when I use the glasses technique, I can find so much. I can see all the veins, I can even see the fine texture of the retina, but when I see the veins and the texture I can;t see the spots. It's like they're at a different level. Of course, that's after weeks of practice, though.
I remember reading on here someone commenting on how they could even make out the blood cells moving in the veins, which wouldn;t surprise me.
When I wasn;t looking for anything, of course, I saw nothing, which kind of underlines the point about hyper-awareness.

It's a mystery to me. Maybe I'll find out when I finally get seen again by a retinologist.
Avatar universal
Have experienced this symptom for years, my flashes tend to be mainly in the left eye occasionally in the right, I too have many floaters. Would agree with the tension thing in the shoulders and neck and like others on here I'm a worrier.

Have had an eye exam all seems OK, I think that there is truth in the fact that the brain does seem to draw attention to them and may well be a psychological thing/stress thing.
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