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Why do I have flashes in my eyes 15 months after ICL surgery?

I did ICL in Jan. 2020. Before the ICL I was about -5 in both eyes with some astigmatism.  

But since the surgery I have daily flashes of lights in my peripheral vision mainly in my left eye but occasionally also the right.  

These flashes of light occurs (sometimes not always) when I  

move my eye

when I close my eye (if I close them a few seconds)

When I enter a dark room  

or when the lights are out.  


The flashes have changed somewhat since the surgery. Just after the surgery I saw bubbles like when you look at a glass of soda, and see the gas bubbles swim up the surface.  

Some of the flashes I thought got bigger over time, but usually they are smaller now. The flashes could also look like a beam starting at one point and going down to the middle of the lower lash.  

Some of the flashes went down and then split up in two directions, but every eye flash always followed my peripheral vision but only one side (the side closets to my ear). Never saw

a flash close to my nose for example.  

Now they are usually a single white circle. And it lasts for only half a second and then it's gone.  

Before every single flash lasted from 1 second to 0,5 second.  


I did ask the surgeon about having eye flashes prior to the surgery. because I told him I had experienced eye flashes on 3 occasions prior to the surgery. 2013, 2015,2017.  

First time I experienced eye flashes I went to see the eye doctor and he told me the eye looks fine and it probably was a PVD and that it will eventually settle down and when it does, I won't experience more flashes. I had flashes for 3 months and then it stopped.  


On next episode of eye flashes, I went to another eye doctor that thought it might be eye migraine. Because I was so young, female and 24 years old at that time. And I had a previous experience of eye flashes. It went away after a few months, maybe like 4 months. I never experienced any headache during the flashes. And no sick-sack rainbow pattern from the flashes.  


Next occasion was 2017 and I went to see the doctor again. He wasn't an eye doctor but a doctor at the primary care, which is common in Sweden. Went to him since I was told by the previous doctor it was eye migraine. Since I didn’t have any headaches, he told me to wait it out.  



Since it's been 3 years since the flashes and I thought it was eye migraine I asked the surgeon if I would see flashes again and he said probably not.  



But now I'm experiencing the worst and longest episode of flashes of my life. Ive had flashes now for 15 months without a day's rest. At the moment they come every 5-60 mins. Which means I can have several flashes every hour.  

The first months after the surgery, I had flashes every few mins (1-5 mins). And they could come in pairs or more. Like waves. Now they only come one at the time.  


Of course, I went to the surgeon numerous times to see what was wrong. He couldn't find any retinal detachments, or bleeding, tear. He saw some floaters. He said the nerve optic nerve wasn't inflamed. We checked the IOP, it was fine he said.  

I was really worried so I went to see other eye doctors as well to get their opinions. They told me the retina looked healthy. One doctor said he couldn't see that the vitreous was detached anywhere. They did OCT-scans that they told me looked good.  

The surgeon told me he doesn't know it will go away, but it might.  


Some other doctors told me it probably will go away with time.


The Surgeon told me that he thinks it’s a PVD. That the vitreous is pulling somewhere. I have no clue how PVD can go on for 15 months? Can it continue for years? And now I'm starting to think the continually irritation/pulling on the retina maybe caused the nerves on the retina to spontaneously fire? Causing the flashes? (but that’s my theory, I don't know if it is thinkable)

Or is the ICL pulling on something? The surgeon says that the ICL doesn't pull on anything and is placed safely in the capsular bag. And that the ICL is at a good distance from the natural lense.  


So, what is your opinion? You guys think it's safe to keep the ICL? there are risks removing it too. Do you think the flashes get better if I leave the ICL in or remove it?



Another worry I have is about the cataracts. They told me every 1/100 patients get cataracts. But  now I'm questioning where they get those numbers.  

I know it's very common with cataracts as you get close to your 60s. But I´ve seen studies that show that some get them after 5-10 years after implant.  

And I'm so sad if that's the truth because I asked if I will get cataracts after my 50s and then I would have 25 years enjoying the ICL. Of course, I knew the risk – but to me it seems higher now then I realized at that time.  


Another worry that they didn't mention is the endothelium cell loss that I found out through studies that some patients loose 30% of their endothelium after 10 years. And I'm scared if I will be one of them and if it is treatable. Or will I need invasive surgery like a corneal transplant - and how will my quality of life be then?


So now I'm basically scared of every possible long-term complication. Like glaucoma too. But my pressure has been fine on every checkup. And I have the newer versions of Toric ICL with a hole in the middle to help aqueous humor flow to the cornea.  



So, my question is what do you think about the flashes I described? You think it will get better/worse? What should I do? Treatments? Leave the ICL in place or remove it?

Anything else I should avoid now like heavy contact sports, running, jumping? ( I run occasionally but no contact sports at this time)


And what do you think about the long-term effects of ICL? Should I worry about the endothelium cells?  

I was in the belief that if children can get IOL after cataract surgery and live healthy lives then this IOL should be safe to? I made parallels to the cataract surgery that it was safe, and a routine operation. But now I'm questioning my choices.  


Should I worry about glaucoma? But there are good treatments for glaucoma?


Anything else I should think about?

Thank you in advance.  

A worried ICL-patient.  
1 Responses
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233488 tn?1310693103
It is not at all likely this is migraine. The flashes with migraine are not momentary. They pulse like a neon sign and last a few minutes to over an hour, in a young person usually followed by a head ache. They are not suddenly there/suddenly gone like a bolt of lightening in the dark.    I am not a fan of  ICL, have never recommended them to patients, and there have been a fair number of unhappy patients post here.  We cannot make diagnosis over internet. That being said the most likely cause of your problem is the ICL.   My suggestion:  1.  see an eye MD ophthalmologist with special training and a practice exclusively retina/vitreous disease.   Go over your story,  tell him if he finds no problem with the retina you are thinking of removing the ICL.  As his/her opinion.   See a different refractive surgeon, not the one that put the ICL in AFTER you have seen the retina Eye MD.  Ask that refractive surgeon  their opinion about removing  the ICL.    Problems like you are having when due to ICL is called Positive Dysphotopsia.
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