Updated by Mike Rosco, MD 3/8/23 6:52PM PST
It is not uncommon for the symptoms of flashes to persist after a posterior vitreous detachment, or PVD. Flashes and floaters, common symptoms of a PVD, may also be warning signs of a possible retinal tear. Retinal tears oftencause a retinal detachment. Do persistent flashes mean increased risk for a tear or retinal detachment?
Ways to Stimulate the Retina
There are two ways to stimulate the retina. Light is the most common stimulus. Light enters the eye and falls onto the retina producing vision. The second way to stimulate this inner lining of the eye is by physical manipulation. Ever rub your eyes so hard you see patterns of light?
Another example of physical stimulation of the retina is a posterior vitreous detachment. As we age, the back (posterior) portion of the vitreous gel inside your eye separates from the retina. The anterior portion, however, remains adherent. Simply remember that the back part of the vitreous separates, but the front part never does (and that’s where the tears occur).
Flashes from a PVD
Part of the vitreous is now free floating in the eye and the other part is “tethered” to the anterior retina. (Think of a flag pole. Half the flag is flapping freely in the wind, while the other half is attached to the pole.) As the eye moves, part of the vitreous is free floating, while the other portion is attached to the retina. The part still attached gently tugs, causing the perception of flashes as the retina is stimulated. If the tugging is too hard, the vitreous that is still adherent can pull the retina with it and create a tear.
First 6 Weeks are the Scariest
The first six weeks following the initial symptoms of a PVD are the highest risk for developing a retinal tear. Statistically, this is the period when MOST retinal tears occur. There are exceptions.
It is during this period, as the vitreous separates from the retina, where the tugging forces change inside the eye. Usually if a tear is to occur, it happens within days to weeks. However, sometimes no tear is found yet the symptoms persist.
What Does This Mean? After the diagnosis of a posterior vitreous detachment is made, I recommend re-evaluation at 6 weeks after the initial symptoms began, or sooner if the symptoms worsen.
If the symptoms remain relatively the same, patients usually return at the 6-week mark. I look for any new tears at the follow-up exam. If none are found at the second exam and the symptoms have remained the same or decreased,I don’t ask for an additional exam.
Persistent flashes are worrisome. Are you at risk for a retinal tear? Studies vary, but generally speaking, if you experience these symptoms from a PVD, there is an 8-16% chance you will have a retinal tear.
Persistent flashes occur because the vitreous remains adherent to the retina. As we discussed, gentle tugging causes the flashes. If you had a retinal tear, the vitreous is still adherent to the tear, and it, too, is stimulated by the moving vitreous.
This vitreous pulling, or “vitreous traction,” is common and may last a long time, even if you do not have a retinal tear.
The recommendation of retinal specialists (and the AAO) is that you seek re-examination urgently if the flashes INCREASE as this may be a sign of a new tear.
Flashes that persist, but are not increased, are probably not an indication of a greater risk of tear. It is a sign that you’ve had a PVD.
Vitrectomy surgery can be performed to alleviate the symptoms, though generally speaking, these symptoms are temporary and will resolve in time.
161 replies on “Persistent Flashes After Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)”
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I had a posterior vitreous detachment over two years ago. Six months later I had one in the other eye.
I suffer flashes of light they stopped for a couple of weeks about six months ago and returned just as bad.
I’ve seen three doctors and they all tell me not to worry. This is ruining my life. I’m a wreck (I am a very nervous person normally anyway) I don’t know what to do. I also see a big flash of light when I go from a well lite to dimly lit room. I can almost feel it. I also get the same flash when two colors such as red and blue are next to eachother. I have had this since I was a kid. I am now 60.
I have many patients similar to you…intelligent, great insight, yet anxious/nervous.
The best I can recommend is to listen to your three doctors. I would agree that persistent flashes generally do not mean increased risk for a tear or retinal detachment.
I suppose you could consider a vitrectomy to decrease the flashes.
No idea how to help you with the red/blue phenomenon.
Best of luck, listen to your docs, see them when you are worried.
I recently developed PVD. floaters and flashes diagnoised by my eye doctor. I am scheduled for catarac surgery in March . Should I still have it? I know PVD can be a side effect of caterac surgery. What should I do?
Proceed with cataract surgery. A PVD is a natural event…it occurs in everyone. At times, cataract surgery can precipitate a PVD, but it usually happens without preceeding surgery.
Best of luck,
Thank you for responding. I wish I could relax but this drives me crazy. I don’t understand why some days I get a lot of the flashing and some days I don’t. It doesn’t make any sense. The doctors told me not to restrict my activity in any way that it won’t make it any worse. Is that right? Also I seem to feel the sensation in my eyes when I get the flashing Is this normal?
I am in agreement. As long as your retina is attached and there is no evidence of a tear, the flashes may be “normal.”
I have had right eye buckle surgery in December 2010. I am still off work. I find that i have floaters which stay to the bottom right of my eye and i get a tug like sore feeling when not wearing my glasses in the same area this stops when i put the glasses on again.
I suffer double vision and sometimes when i bend down and come up again i get a total blankness in the eye for a few seconds.some times the floaters would make me think i have a blind spot like when i detected the tear. Also when coming out of dim light into a supermarket lit area i suffer with floaters really bad
I have a eye review now on 12th next month is there anything i should be worried about or is what i said sound normal.
Not sure if what you are experiencing is really worrisome. If your symptoms change dramatically, inform your doctor.
Make sure your IOP is normal. Concerned by your remark about loss of vision when bending over.
Dear Dr. Wong, I periodically have flashing in my right eye only. This started in my 40’s. My optometrist indicated PVD. A few years later, I had loss of vision in that eye for less than a few minutes. It’s been at least 5 years without the loss of vision, but the flashes persist once every several months/year. I went to an ophthalmologist and she could not see a PVD. It’s been a few years now and I went to a new optometrist and he states no PVD visible and maybe carotid artery or occular migraines (I’ve never had a migraine). I googled and found retinal migraines …and carotied artery dissections. I’m scared. My optometrist doesn’t feel I need to rush out and do anything.
He did indicate a mild case of myopic retinal degeneration (I did not have my pupils dilated.).
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated….should I run, not walk to a doctor and if so which kind?? cardio or optho….help!
A PVD is not always easy to diagnose, but eventually does happen to everyone and to every eye. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence of the other two scenarios other than it is on the list of possibilities….
Uh, how old are you now? If you have an cardiac risk factors or stroke risk factors…maybe see a cardiologist. An isolated episode that hasn’t happened again is going to be tough to diagnose.
Dear Dr. Wong,
Thank you for the reply. I turned 54 on the date you posted my reply, so the visual loss happened when I was probably 48 or so. I’ve no cardiac issues (b-9 heart murmur) that I am aware of. I did phone my original optometrist and he said PVD can cause temporary loss of sight so between your comments and his, I feel better. Yes, I suppose the only way to know it isn’t cardiac related is to see a cardiologist, but at this point I will accept it is just PVD and stop worrying. Thank you again.
Forgot to mention that I find it odd that the flashes occur in only one eye …if PVD is to occur in both at some point. Do all PVDs cause light flashes?? Thank you again
I’m a 53-year old female. I started seeing a black “line” flash to the left of my focal point about a week ago every time I moved my eyes left or right/up & down. That line also looks like a white flash when the room is darker; either way it’s a “flash” and it’s continued steadily now for a week when I move my eyes around. I also noticed 2 new floaters within a few days of the initial flash. I saw a retina doctor who told me it was the vitreous fluid pulling on my retina and to come back in 2 weeks. I My question is: Does it help avoid a tear if I avoid moving my eyes around so much? I’ve tried to move my head slowly versus darting my eyes to avoid those flashes. I notice when I talk animatedly to people, the flashes increase so I’m trying to relax and do things slowly to avoid the flashes. Is this helpful at all to avoid a tear? Thank you! This site is very helpful.
In my opinion (and this may differ from your doctor’s), you can NOT avoid getting a tear by slowing down eye movements….read on.
While I agree with your premise, I am stating that it is impossible for you to prevent rapid eye movements;
1. when reading
2. when startled
3. when someone/something is passing in front of you
4. during sleep (rapid eye movement, REM,)
I could be wrong, but I’m appealing to the practical side of your brain!
Great question and comment. Thank you.
Dear Dr. Wong,
I started to experience these persistent flashes of light after my c-section 2 weeks ago. The anesthesiologist tried 6 times until he had successfully given me epidural anesthesia and they told me i have to lie on my back for 24 hours to prevent any spinal headache or such..
Do you think these have any connection to the flashes of light that I am seeing? Do i have to see a doctor immediately for this? what can i do to minimize photopsia?
Thank you for your reply. This would really help. I am really worried for my health.
Sorry for the delay.
Congrats on the baby!
I would think that the flashes are NOT related to a the c-section. Can’t imagine how.
Yes, I would get them checked out.
Nothing you can do to minimize the photopsia….outside of operating to remove the vitreous.
i just started getting falshes in my left eye. About a year and a half ago i had a PVD in my right eye with the same symptoms. No retinal damage. Can I assume that since my vision is fine with this new set of flashes there is no retinal damage. Can i play tennis with this?
You should get checked. Any new flashes and/or floaters could mean a retinal tear and there is no way to know this without proper dilated examination.
Hello Dr Wong,
i had retinal detachment 6 months back they did vitrectomy and had silicon oil put in my right eye there after there were some minor holes so they did cryo and screal buckle across the eye and there after removed the oil and cataract surgery. for last two months no issues but now i have notice a very minor dim flickering light/ flashes at bottom of my eye, its not very frequent but i am worried, can you please help, is it normal?
what do you mean comment waiting moderation
Each and every “new” comment on my website must get approved before publishing….it prevents spammers from “publishing” on my site.
Sorry for the delay.
I have just been diagnosed with PVD i would see blue flashes mostly at night or when it’s dark but they have now delveloped to greeny blue and now white lines/zig zags and I see them at all times not just when it’s dark. Has been happening for 3 weeks but got a lot worse this week, i’m 29. When i was about 11 i fell off my bike and hit the side of my head on the kerb and since then I have had a floater so not sure if it’s related to that (it also damaged one of my teeth had to have nerve removed) it is annoying I have had a full eye exam and have no retinal tears or detachments. Would the optician have been able to see PVD from looking in my eye or photographong the back of my eye or any their tests? seems strange the doctor prescribed it not the optician. Hopefully it will pass soon.
Best of luck. Curious as to what type of doctor diagnosed the PVD?
A PVD is usually seen on examination only, yet is not always readily apparently (it’s sometimes very difficult to “see”).
I am 51 and got an iol done on 19 jan 2012.I am so shocked that exactly 2 weeks after the iol floaters and semi circular flashes apeared in the eye.I am showing the retina specialist.Did this happen due to the surgeons inefficiency?When will this whole thing settle down?I have got good vision thanks to the iol ,but I had not bargained for flashes and floaters.The flashes are occasional.When will they go away?I am getting panic attacks ,well almost,and fear an emergency of retinal tear could happen anytimet .Grateful if you could advice.
This was not a result of the surgeon.
1. A PVD may have been present before cataract surgery, but not noticed until after surgery due to the improve contrast and vision. This may not be exactly the case as you mention a 2 week period where you saw well.
2. The volume of the IOL is much less than the volume of the natural lens, thus a PVD is more likely to develop after cataract surgery.
My recommendation is to make sure you get your retina examined to look for a tear. The symptoms usually decrease with time, but that time varies considerably from patient to patient.
Hello Dr. Wong:
First, let me just say thank you so much for your website and blog. I am a 48 year old female, “mildly” near-sighted, and was diagnosed with PVD three weeks ago by a retina specialist after a sudden onset of floaters. The floaters have subsided to just the light cobweb effect, very very light and hardly noticeable but I am getting regular flashing now.
My retina doc said that the risk of a retina tear or detachment is highest for the first three months after diagnosis. He has me coming back for follow-up in three months but said to call him day or night if I experience any changes or start experiencing the “curtain” coming in from the side of my sight. I was running every day for 5 miles a day and when I asked him if I could continue he hesitated and said he tells his patients to live their lives, that I am at high risk whether I run or not. That scared me so I stopped running. This has me very depressed. The whole situation has me terrified, panicked, and is a huge life change esp with giving up working out. I have read online so many different things about working out – some people say don’t do it at all or risk blindness, some say its okay to run and do all the same things I was doing, and some say to just wait 6 weeks.
I am also very very scared because since my visit to the retina doc, I have been getting the peripheral light flashes a lot. Sometimes I don’t notice them at all and then I have days/nights when they are greatly increased (or at least I am noticing them more). The doctor said to call if things change but I am not sure if I am supposed to call him for these increases in light flashes since they seem to increase for an evening and then go back to where they were the next day. Sometimes they increase and I get very freaked out and then by the next morning I am not noticing them much so I just don’t know if I should be worried or calling him or what?
This constant daily worry is driving me literally crazy. I don’t know how much more of this panic daily that I can take. I am starting to wish I would just go blind in that eye already to stop this constant worry (not really though) but that’s how much this worry is affecting me. I don’t know how I am going to deal with this for a whole year or more until this viscous detaches and is no longer a problem. Truthfully, I don’t think I can take this for that long. It is severely adversely affecting my life, my mood, my work, everything. I am sinking into depression because of the worry and because of the lack of exercise, and I am thinking that having only one eye would be better than this depression and stress over this.
So the questions that I am hoping you can answer for me are:
When is this an emergency? When should I be calling my doctor? How much do the flashes have to change or increase to constitute an emergency? Or am I safe not calling him unless I start to get the curtain moving in over my vision? I don’t want to be calling him or worse driving up to Baltimore and taking time off of work all the time if I am overreacting to normal characteristics and changes of this condition. But of course I don’t want to go blind either!
Also, what should I do about working out? Can I work out at all at this point (three weeks after diagnosis) and while I am experiencing flashes? I bought a spin bike thinking that would be less jarring than running but haven’t begun to use it yet because I am afraid. Can I lift weights, bike, run, anything? Or do the flashes mean that things are just too dangerous to do anything?
Please know how appreciative I am of you even reading this email. If you have a fee for online questions like this, please let me know. I wish my doctor had this type of online help or service.
Thank you so much
1. This becomes an emergency, in my opinion, when the flashes/floaters have obviously increased in either frequency or quantity. You should call your doctor if these symptoms increase, intensify or worsen (pick your own modifier).
2. The “curtain” might mean that you have developed a retinal detachment. Your doctor is trying to identify when your risk of having developed a retinal tear (remember a retinal tear can develop into a retinal detachment) has increased, hence, increase in the symptoms in #1 may be a sign that a tear has developed.
3. Working out, in my opinion is very safe. Every night we go through REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is a stage of sleep where the eyes beat violently back and forth. It is my opinion that most damage occurs during this time of sleep and that the forces generated during this phase of sleep are stronger than the forces generated while we are awake….including running/excercising…I agree with your doc. Weights, bike, run..sound fine.
Thank you so much, Dr. Wong, for your post. I truly am so grateful to you for this information… and for giving me the good news that I won’t increase my risk for tear by weight lifting and running. I actually had wondered about REM sleep but I didn’t know until I read your post how violent our eyes move during REM. Very interesting!
I do have a few other questions but I don’t want to be a bother – so if you don’t get to these questions, I understand.
– If my flashes and/or floaters were to noticeably increase, how much time would I have to get to my doctor and have it repaired? I know it is a medical emergency but does that mean I would have to get to him within the hour? a few hours? a day? I’m a worried about not getting to him in time.
– In your opinion, do you think my doctor said that I am at highest risk the first three months (instead of the 6 or 8 weeks that I have read in your information and in other literature) because maybe he saw something more serious such as a hemorrhage or other complication? (I ask about hemorrhage because during the hours when the floater onset first occurred, one of the floaters that appeared was a fat squiggle which looked more dark red than black like the other ones. My floaters are almost gone now and I only notice the very light hair like floater occasionally. Wish I could say the same about the flashes.)
– My doctor said this will be something that will take months and months, and I am assuming he meant for the viscous to detach totally from the retina. In your experience, how long would you say is average for this to occur and at which time I am no longer at risk?
– Also, I am curious why this happened to me. I am 48 which I thought was young for PVD and my near-sightedness is not that bad (I didn’t even need glasses until I was around 30). Interestingly, I had some dermatological procedures a few hours before this happened. I had IPL and a laser treatment for which my eyes were taped shut. I also had Dysport injections. The one above the PVD eye was extremely painful, much more so than the others. Could any of this have been enough trauma to the eye to cause PVD? (I assume that the Dysport itself could not have caused some weird reaction which caused the PVD?)
Again, I really can’t thank you enough for this blog and for your posts. Helping those of us who are scared and panicked is such a wonderful, kind thing.
1. If you develop new onset flashes/floaters, the AAO recommends your seek attention within 24-72 hours.
2. Your highest risk following a PVD is during the initial 6 weeks. Don’t know why your doc felt otherwise. Maybe he is extra cautious. I have no way of knowing.
3. A PVD develops or occurs most likely over a 6 week period.
4. This happens to everyone….the more near-sighted the younger, but this is a naturally occurring event.
5. You are welcome!
Dr. Wong, Great site! I was hit on the eye lid, so not straight on, while playing basketball on Thursday. Vision was messed up for about two minutes, gradually coming back to normal. Sort of like rubbing your eye for a minute, then opening it. No problems or pain for the next two days.
Saturday night I was driving looked quickly to my right and saw a quick flash in my peripheral of the right eye. Thought it was strange, and started moving me eye left and right, and kept seeing flashes. When I got home I noticed two or three floaters and the flashes continued if I looked hard to the right or left.
Now, the next day, and the same floaters are there and no increase. The flashes have diminished a lot. Just a couple throughout the day. No pain. No loss of vision. Nothing blurry. No “curtains”.
Going to have it examined tomorrow. Could this be a coincidence and be PVD presenting or could it be from being hit? I’m 50 and I’ve had floaters in the past, but not as dark as one of the new ones and no flashes that I’ve noticed. Had an eye exam two months ago with the picture of the back of the eye and everything was perfect. Appreciate your help. Thank you!
Sorry for the delayed response. In my experience, a PVD does not usually occur after trauma. Don’t know if you were hyper aware or not. Hope you are well.
Hello Dr. Wong,
I’m 33 years of age with one good eye. I’m currently being followed for RVD in that eye and recently had a horseshoe tear that was repaired with laser a few weeks ago. I have a great group of docs following me, but am concerned about additional tears due to RVD. I’m also myopic. How common is it to have a second tear? Also, how long does RVD typically last and how frequent does it come back over one’s life span? I’m very anxious, but am being followed very closely by retina docs once a week to be on the safe side. Any additional information would be much appreciated. Thanks so much!
I don’t know the acronym RVD. Do you mean posterior vitreous detachment?
If so, it is uncommon for a second tear to develop, but given your young age, it’s pretty smart to follow you weekly.
All the best. Let your doctors worry for you!
For some reason, my original comment has been removed? I’m 33 years of age with one good eye. Loss my other eye due to ROP. I’ve been diagnosed with PVD and recently had a horseshoe tear lasered a few weeks ago. I’m currently being followed closely (once a week), but am concerned about new tears developing. How common is this? I continue to occassionaly see flashes and floaters (floaters are mostly on left side of vision), particulalrly when moving my head. How long does PVD typically last and how frequent does it return over one’s lifetime? I know that seeing my retina doc once a week will hopefully catch anything before it progresses further. Any advise or additional information would be much appreciated. I’ve been told that this will settle down (PVD) after sometime and the increased threat will pass. Thanks for the information on the site.
Every comment posted here gets reviewed by …..me personally. This is the best way to avoid spammers from overtaking my blog.
I try and answer my comments 2x/week, but not always.
I think you’ll find your initial comment posted below.
In a nutshell, your docs are smart to follow you weekly given your history and your relatively young age having a PVD.
Sorry for the confusion and delay,
Thanks for answering my original question. I had a follow up visit today and doc still see’s some vitreous adhering (tugging) on the retina in some places. Still seeing flashes of light on occassion and docs can see “debris” floating around. It has been suggested to do a more extensive laser around the outer periphery of the retina, considering this is where my retina is weak due to being so myopic. My biggest concern obviously is doing what I can to prevent the retina from detaching with only one eye. Still anxious about so much information and what the best course of action is. I’m hoping that all of this will all settle down soon. Do you agree that laser is the best course of action? Is there any drawbacks to having that done more extensively? Are there any other options that I should consider or ask at my next appointment? Going back on Thursday.
One more question, with only one eye, would I be a candidate for virectomy to remove the vitreous that is causing all the issues? Doctor did mention it, but said it might advance small cataract I have in the eye now causing an operation down the road. Thanks again.
I had my follow up appt. today and met with my regular retina doctor (had been out for a few days) and he advised placing a scleral buckle on the eye to reduce the risk of future tears and possible detachment. He said that my situation was one, due to my eye’s length that simply lasering around subject areas would really not help. He said that by applying the buckle, the vitreous would no longer be pulling as hard on the retina and thus reducing the risk for more tears down the road. He also mentioned that with the buckle in place, the risk of a more complicated detachment down the road is significantly reduced. I would appreciate any feedback that you might have. He said there are risks to any surgery and being that is my only eye with vision, he certainly wanted to bring that up, but also said the risks are quite low (1%). I’m also seeing Dr. Michael Lambert in Houston fora conusltation appt (Retina Vitreous of Texas). I wondered if you were familiar with him and his work in the field? Forgot to ask this during appt, but during the buckle, is the vitreous be removed also?
I experienced quite a lot of black floaters (which I know are called floaters but they never moved and flashed at me – a black flasher…?) this time last year. Never experienced a light. After attending the eye emergency clinic, I was given immediate laser surgery for a retinal tear. This did not work so they did it again.
After the second laser didn’t work, they gave me cryo surgery. After a month, I was told it had worked well and a nice scar was forming.
A year on, I still see the black flashing quite regularly but I am now experiencing white flashers which look like a bright white light, move around the outside of my eye for a few seconds and then disappear. This is later followed (sometimes immediately, sometimes not) but the same black “floater” I saw last year (“floater” still does not move).
Should I go back and have an exam or is it normal to still see the same black flashers and now these flushes of bright white light?
If there is no substantial change, most likely you are okay, but with your history, I’d prefer you go back and get checked out.
i have been facing floaters since three months. Since two months i am facing flashes in eyes (rarely means once in a week) do u think this PVD. please lewt me know because i am really scared about my eyes
A PVD can indeed cause your symptoms of flashes and floaters, but other causes exist, too. Also, you and I (without examination) can not determine if you have a tear in your retina.
Get examined to make sure you don’t have a tear or other problem threatening your eyes.
Hello, Dr. Wong. My question is about black dot floaters that descend in a shower. 11/2011 I had bilateral cataract surgery. 12/2011 I had bilateral PVDs that resulted in large ring floaters, flashes in the peripheral vision, and showers of black dots that sometimes can be mistaken for a swarm of gnats.
I’ve read that the black dots are caused by bleeding. Here it is 06/2011, and I still see showers of black dots. Is that normal? I’ve returned to my ophthalmalogist several times this 2012 because an increase in black dot showers made me fear for my retina. However, my doctor could not see any retinal tears/detachments.
Also in 2012 I have been diagnosed with Grave’s disease that dries my eyes out, and in 05/2012 when I returned to my ophthamalogist, he said I was growing “secondary cataracts” that will need to be lasered out. Can my persistent black dot showers be related also to the above conditions? I have regrettably had a decrease in my 20/20 visual acuity that I briefly enjoyed following my 11/2011 cataract surgeries. Thanks for your time.
Black dots in your vision can be, but are usually NOT, caused by blood.
You did correctly by going to the doctor to ensure there is no retinal tear.
Graves’ Disease has nothing to do with the floaters or secondary cataracts. You will probably benefit from the treatment for the secondary cataracts.
Hello my name is James I’ve been experiencing flashes for about 7 months, it feels like here lately they gotton worse, I’ve had eyes dialated and checked out and my eye Docter can’t seem to find anything wrong I’ve even went as far to have blood work and a cat scan and all came up
Good. Can you give me a seccond
Opinion it seems like I’ve come to a hault to find out what these flashes are or if there ever gonna go away I see them in both eyes but mostly my right eye.
There are 3 causes of flashes;
1. The vitreous “tugging” on the retina and is the most common. You did right by getting checked for tears.
2. Neurologic: the most common are headache/migraine related “flashes.” This diagnosis must be made only after excluding all other causes of headache/flashes.
3. Inflammation inside the eye can sometimes causes weird light patterns or “flashes.”
If indeed the flashes are due to the vitreous (ask your doctor), you’ll have to realize that they may persist.
I have what seems like a tiny flash of light in the corner of my left eye and a donut shaped floater in the same eye .I have had it checked out at the optician and he says it’s PVD but he also asked if I can see this flash with my right eye when my left eye is closed which I can , I am now being referred for further tests .I am really worried that could be more serious .
I agree with further evaluation as there are many causes of flashes, some benign and some potentially dangerous. Without the luxury of an examination, I can only recommend following through with the referral.
Hope this helps,
Dr. Mike Rosco
Dear Dr. Wong:
I had an intense pulsed light facial cosmetic treatment (with radiofrequency). I was treated very close – right up to the eye. Immediately after the treatment I noticed excessive clear floaters, not squiggles but just clear jelly-like floaters that really disturbed my vision. I’ve seen an opthalmologist but he could not see the floaters. Since the facial treatment used radiofrequency and IPL and is designed to heat and shrink collagen, it is possible that is just simply heated the collagen structure in the vitreous and caused them to shrink? If so, what can I do to get rid of the floaters being age 38? They cause my vision to be blurry and at times very uncomfortable (tightening of the muscles around the eye and head pain as well). All was normal before the IPL with a very slight bit of nearsightedness. I’ve heard of others getting floaters after IPL and even found iris damage reported in literature after cosmetic IPL so I’m worried.
There is really only one treatment for floaters…vitrectomy. A few people/doctors promote YAG laser for certain cases, but my opinion is that laser poses too high a risk for causing retinal tears/retinal detachment…
Not sure your doctor needs to “see” your floaters to confirm your problem. Too many docs get hung up on this. If your floaters move “to and fro” with eye movement, the problem can only be within the vitreous.
Hang in there! Hope you find some help.
Best of luck, please contact us if you’d like to come for a visit…from wherever you are!
Thanks for the excellent website and for your willingness to accept people’s posts and answer their questions – that is great of you. I am a 51 year old white male and strongly nearsighted (6 diopters). On July 3 I had a PVD in my left eye with lots of floaters and some loss of outside peripheral vision and like many others was VERY upset by this change in my vision. My retinal specialist found 12 small tears which he treated with cryopethy – this was very traumatic for about a week and I hoped my symptoms would improve – but they didnt. In fact I then began having numerous bright flashes in that eye so I saw him again and he found two addional tears which he treated with a laser. My symptoms have not improved but with regular visits I am at least not letting them worsen. I continue to be scared of the flashes despite his assurances (like you) that these are common. I guess the point is if they get worse, then there is a problem. I wish this could just be fixed but I guess it cant be. Once the PVD symptoms stabilize, he told me we could address the loss of peripheral vision. I know you havent examined me but what could cause the loss of peripheral vison? And can I hope the flashes may subside eventually? I still have lots of floaters.
1. Thanks for your comments.
2. 12 tears? I would have operated to remove the vitreous and possibly a scleral buckle, but that’s my opinion. Glad you are stable.
3. Loss of peripheral vision. No idea, except;
i. you are detached
ii. copious floaters
iii. coincidental vision/optic nerve/brain problem
4. Floaters can be removed with vitrectomy and also decrease the chance of additional tears and flashes.
Again, just my thoughts. Oh yes, flashes usually subside/disappear after weeks to a few months.
[…] 20.Persistent Flashes After PVD – Eye Diseases of the Retina Dec 15, 2010 … Flashes and floaters, common symptoms of a PVD, may also be … The second way to stimulate this inner lining of the eye is by physical manipulation. …. PVD can cause temporary loss of sight so between your comments and his, I feel better. … I started to experience these persistent flashes of light after my … https://retinaeyedoctor.com/2010/12/flashes-persist-after-posterior-vitreous-detachment/ […]
This is truly a great site. Dr Wong, I really want to thank you for this.
I have two questions
1. I had laser to repair 4 tears in my right eye retina. The rapid blue flashes have greatly diminished, but I get an occasional blue dot (every few hours) generally in the central vision that flashes relatively slowly. Could this be a settling down after the laser?
2.Are there any vitamins or supplements that I can take to improve the vitreous gel so it is more gooey (I guess) that is to prevent or improve this tugging of the retina?
1. Yes. But not sure when you had the laser. It is possible that your “symptoms” are related to the original tear and not the laser.
Hi Dr. Wong,
I`m 49 yrs old with my left eye nearsighted slightly above 6 diopters & my rite eye less than 4 diopters. I first had symptoms of flashes & PVD in my left eye on 27.8.12 with one horse shoe tear and shallow RD @ 10 o`clock on the same day.The doctors in GH did laser to barricade the tear later on the same day.After 2 weeks i went to a private retina specialist for second opinion,he said its better to do Pneumatic Retinopexy.Its been exactly 6 weeks now,Alhamdullillah, there`s no symptoms of flashes or increase of floaters since the first day.
My question Dr.Wong
1) How long for the gas bubble from the Pneumatic Retinopexy to go away?
2) How long for the PVD to complete in left eye and will my rite eye have PVD too?
3) Am i still in risk of another retina tear or detachment?
1. Depends upon what type and what concentration of gas is used. Examples: SF6, Air, C3F8
2. Everyone gets a PVD. Perhaps within the year for the right eye?
3. Yes. The highest risk of RD is during the first 6 weeks following a PVD. Scleral buckle surgery/vitrectomy can reduce this risk.
Dear Dr. Wong,
I’m 45 years old, strongly nearsighted and have lattice degeneration in both eyes with floaters. Eighteen months ago I started to experience flashes when I move my eyes from right to left in a dark room and 3 months ago the floaters increased in number. I had my checked and my physician tells me all is fine. My questions:
– are these flashes caused by tugging or did I have a PVD and it is because the vitreous bumps against the retina?
– can you have a series of PVD’s in one eye or takes the separation place once for the whole eye.
– with my symptoms is the development of a tear at all avoidable ? What would you recommend?
Flashes, if from the vitreous, may result from gentle “tugging” on the retina. They may be constant/permanent. You won’t be able tell if a tear occurred, but it doesn’t mean a tear is inevitable.
Hello Dr. Wong
i am 17 years old boy who suffered from flashes of light and a lot of floaters….
So i was hit in my my head before these symptoms start appear
but i am not sure that the blow is the reason
but i was taking an eye drops for inflammation and it contains cortisone
i use it for a week and i’am sure that the eye drops are the reason for the floaters and flashes…because the hit was very weak and can’t do that
i went to a doctor and he affirm that the eye drops is not the cause
please tell me your opinion ????
I would have to agree with your doctor as I am not able to examine you…but it seems legitimate.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist
I had a third vitrectomy a month ago to repair another RD (two redetachments since April due to PVR). Ever since, I’ve had intermittent flashes just below the center of my vision…usually an arc, as if part of the bottom of a circle. I’ve had four exams since then (including this morning) and the doctors have said they’re not seeing anything to be concerned about — my healing is going quite well. In this most recent operation, I had a portion of my inferior retina removed because of PVR and have silicone oil in my eye. In a previous operation, I also got a scleral buckle. In this morning’s exam, the doctor said he also saw some slight scarring around the edge of my retina, but “nothing we didn’t know was already there” and not causing any problems. Are persistent flashes like this common? At what point should I be concerned enough to call my doctor again?
Persistent flashes are indeed common. It’s hard to know when you, specifically, should call your doctor. I recommend to my patient’s they call when the flashing increases from the normal day t0 day pattern….especially if there is an associated change in vision.
It is also my experience that if the oil successfully reattaches the retina…it’ll stay that way…but that is my experience.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
I have floaters since last year. I didn’t know about pvd,during my last trimester pregnancy, I started seeing stars and sparkling bright dots which move around in the sky and also on brighter shades.now this bright moving dots cause sparkling lights even in dark,if I look at the lamp, I feel like seeing a shower of bright particles, I saw 3 doctors,(2 retinal)in last 6,4,1 months,DONE oct and optomap,all said reports are fine, one said the stars could be if traction of retina n he didn’t explain pvd, I was not aware of it that time, I called the office yesterday to ask about any pvd in my recent optomap test DONE last month, the medical assistant said no God at all. I can’t understand why am I seeing stars 24/7? Could it be vision snow,blue field synoptic phenomenon or both OR pvd…I am tired, depressed and my husband is tired of doctor visit.I am -8 in left eye n -9 in right eye with -1 cylindrical.
2. Sounds like nothing wrong with your eyes.
3. Are you more worried about the flashes or the floates or both?
Look forward to hearing from you,
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
Hello Dr. Wong. Im 30 yrs old. I was hit on the outer side of my left eye, near my temple 4 months ago. The day after, I noticed a circle flash type of thing in my vision when I look side to side. I only see the flash on bright solid colored backgrounds or white colored backgrounds. I don’t see it if Im outside or if its dark. 3 months ago I had a dilated eye exam and there were no tears or detachments in the retina. The flash has not gotten worse. My vision is good except for the flash. The ophthalmologist didn’t tell me much but I just want to know if this sounds like PVD and will this eventually go away? Thank you.
Really can’t say one way or another. Your ophthalmologist should usually be able to diagnose a PVD.
In my experience, a PVD is more ofen associated with floaters than just flashes.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA 22030
Presented yesterday in your office as a new patient with PVD in left eye. First, thank you for seeing me on such short notice; I saw how busy your office was. Second, thank you for this website. Was very upset about the photopsia I was experiencing & forgot to ask you several questions in the office, but the PVD article link you sent to me, which led me to your website which has even more helpful content, answered all my questions. What a great resource!
Thank you for alleviating my fears & for educating me about PVD. See you in 6 weeks.
Thanks for the kind remarks. Glad this site was helpful!
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA. 22030
A few years ago I had some flashing in my left Eye. Have you checked in with my doctor everything was OK and it went away A while I don’t know how long it took. Now a couple years later but this one is a little worse because it’s Classic PVD which I never understood last time with my other Eye. This I was accompanied by floaters Too . My question is it makes me so nervous and I am a very very person but now I’m noticing s flash again once in a while in my left too. Am I just hyper we are in noticing it now or can this flashing happen again after so long. You say a PVD only happens once completely why would you still have flashing once in a while ??
The posterior portion of the vitreous separates from the retina. The anterior portion remains attached. The vitreous is still tethered to the retina after a PVD, and hence, can cause flashing.
r – sorry for late reply.
Hi thank you for your blog. I am 42 years old have a history of iritis which is now not inflamed and was diagnosed with Pvd one month ago I’m still having flashes which really don’t bother me that much but what does bother me is the circle floater in my central vision ! as other posters have stated it is really affecting my life , my work and. giving me anxiety ! I’m seeing it all the time. In your experience do the circular fliaters ever drift out of your field of vision ? I’m not really buying the fact that my brain will tune it out after a while because it hasn’t yet ! I’m focused on it 24/7. Besides trying to be patient I ‘d like to consider my options Besides a virectony ( which sounds drastic to me ). I would like you to think outside the box and your formal training and ask you about the yag laser tx only done by 3 USA drs. Would you please take a minute to state your thoughts on this as an option for me if I can’t cope with this. Thanks so much.
Many times, floaters become less noticeable due to the fact they indeed migrate to a portion of the eye which is less noticeable. I agree that you don’t really “tune it out.”
Vitrectomy does remove the floaters at low risk. Low risk of infection or retinal tears.
YAG laser is not performed by retinal specialists. Most of us feel there is too much chance of getting a retinal tear. YAG is not covered by insurance and is NOT a new technology. The YAG laser is generally used by cataract surgeons for issues developing with an intraocular implant. The YAG laser uses its energy to “cut” tissue in sharp pulses. This may directly damage the retina or cause retinal tears.
I hope this was helpful.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Fairfax, VA. 22030
I am a 53 year old male and very nearsighted. Last week I saw 2 bright flashes in my right eye and then lots of floaters. I went to the eye doctor and he confirmed it was a pvd. He says I can expect the floaters to go away in 6-8 weeks. My question to you is this. Once you have a pvd in your eye, will you ever experience another in the same eye? When the vitreous membrane seperates from the retina, does it separate as a whole or in pieces? Thanks for your response.
Once the vitreous separates from the retina, it remains separated, that is, you can only have a PVD once in each eye. It separates as a whole.
Thank You Doctor.
All the best.
Hello Dr. Wong. My grandmother is diagnosed with a retinal detachment and is experiencing the black curtain. She’s getting surgery tomorrow morning. Is there a chance she will regain that part of her vision?
I hope she has done well. Anything can happen with successful retinal detachment surgery.
Hello. For the past week I’ve been seeing a bright white circle on the far side of my vision that either moves up or down. It’s brighter in the dark. I Just want to know what that means. Thanks.
No way to tell without an exam. Consider PVD, inflammation, migraine, etc.
Hello Dr Wong. I’m a 34 years old male. My power now is -4.5, cyl -1, 180 deg in both eyes since 2012. And also i have been seeing floaters since 2012 more prominently in my right eye. In the last two to three days when i look at both my peripheral side left and right i could see some purple like spot on both eyes. But I can see them only when moving my head sideways other wise they are not visible. Can you suggest me what should i do because I’m really depress right now thinking about all these problems. Thank you.
I’d make sure someone dilates your eyes and gives you a thorough examination….and then move on from there.
Hello Doctor Wong, thanks for the information. It is a really good explanation and it has put me a little at ease.
I am 30 years old and was hit about a month ago on my eye lid that caused laceration. After being stitched that same day. I saw two dark dots in my left eyes peripheral vision. That was the eye that was hit. After a week and a half I started seeing lights lime bubbles busting and sometimes like something leaking from top to bottom in the corner of my vision. I have been seeing that in the same area for more than three weeks now. Have been seen by four eye doctors and they all say the back of my eye is OK. Some used the slit lamp and the others used some sort of portable lenses with light. I am really worried of what I am experiencing. I really need your help doc. What is happening to my eye. I need it to survive. Thank you
Hope you are well. I lost this somehow and apologize for the tardy response.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what could have been happening as I can’t examine your eye. I hope you are well, but it’s good to know that those 4 docs felt your retina was in good shape.
Fabulous site. I had Pvd in both eyes 10 months ago. Fully checked by eye doctor. Still have some floaters and flashes, the flashes worry me is it common to have them for a long time. Thank you
You may indeed have them for quite awhile. As long as you doctor has examined you and there is no retinal tear or retinal detachment, then the floaters and flashes are, for you, a nuisance. r
Hi Dr. Wong, I am 17 years old and was told that I am a suspect for glaucoma due to a large optic disc ratio and high eye pressure. Recently, I have also been seeing flashes of light in my peripheral vision. Could this be connected? And should I visit my optometrist again?
Playing by the rules, based on your age, please have your parents contact me. Randy
I’ve been seeing persistent flashes and floaters (since young) for the past 5 months or so and a retina tear was detected on my first check. However, subsequent checks no new tears was detected and the flashes and floaters roughly remained the same. My most recent check was on 22nd feb and no new tears was detected. However recently i noticed there is an increase in flashes and floaters. I usually see the flashes at night or in dark places and floaters against pale/light backgrounds and it increases with eye movement. But now i see the flashes way more frequently than what i used to, even in the day. Even though I just had a check recently, and the doctor say there was no tears, would this mean that i’m fine or should i get checked again. I’m quite myopic though, -8 and -1.2. Appreciate your advice as i’m quite worried and stressed out over this and i don’t want to make unnecessary trips to the doctor if i’m just overreacting but neither do i want to go blind as i’m only 26 this year.
The warning signs are a sudden INCREASE in flashes or floaters. You may have constant flashes and floaters. If they increase above and beyond what they normally are, then get checked.
Forgot to mention that the increase of flashes i’m experiencing is a one off thing like I suddenly see many flashes for a brief moment for a few times and then it subsides.
About a week ago I started experiencing flashes in my peripheral vision, went to a retina specialist a couple days later and got told it was PVD. I haven’t seen any noticeable increase in the number of floaters I already have, but then again I can’t really do a count.
1. I’ve read that in the event of a retinal tear I might see a sudden shower of floaters but what if it happens during sleep?
2. Once the PVD I had run it’s course, hopefully without incident, am I going to experience flashes for the remainder of my life?
3. Is there a higher incidence of retinal tear associated with a symptomatic PVD?
4. What can be classified as acute symptoms of PVD in terms of flashes? I might notice 10 flashes per day when I’m in darker rooms or at night time. Considering I get them with the same frequency in bright conditions which go unnoticed, would that constitute as acute?
I’ve got my follow up scheduled in 3 weeks as per the instructions of the doctor, is there any reason I should reschedule at an earlier date?
Of all the sites I’ve stumbled across, yours seems to be the most informative and I appreciate that you take the time out to answer comments and questions posted here. Thank you for all your help!!
Sorry for the tardy reply. Hopefully you are doing well.
1. Can’t really respond. When you awaken, and you have a significant increase in floaters, get checked. It could be a sign of a retinal tear which can develop into a retinal detachment.
2. Probably not.
3. No. With or without symptoms, chance of tear is same.
4. Acute – sudden INCREASE in frequency.
Hope this helps. Thanks for the kind words.
Hi Dr Wong
I am a 33 year old healthy male. About 4.5 years ago (when I was 28.5), I noticed flashes in one particular region of my vision of my right eye (below and to the left of my central vision). The photopsia was dark/purple/greenish and had a characteristic of being like small dots or stars. It happened usually after I would move my eye and bring it to rest to focus on something. I went to two opthalmologists and they said possible PVD. Follow-ups after 6 weeks, slit lamp, OCT, all clear. Flashes continued for a couple of months and stopped.
1.5 years later (when I was around 31.5), I started having the same flashes in the same place. Again went to another opthalmologist, slit lamp was all clear. He said he didn’t see a PVD and it could just be vitreous traction. Flashes subsided after about a month.
Now, for the past few weeks I have started seeing the flashes again in exactly the same place (4.5 years after the first incidence). Went to an optometrist few days ago, OCT, widefield retina image, slit lamp all clear.
I am very worried and scared and dont know what to make of it.
1) I don’t have night blindness or any visual field loss that I have noticed. My vision hasn’t changed for the past 4.5 years. I am especially scared if it is something degenerative in my retina – but wouldn’t I have other symptoms if it was?? Also, I never have the flashes when I am looking far (e.g. driving – never had a flash even once). Wouldn’t a degenerative cause have constant flashes, and not episodic over years?
2) I work a lot in front of a computer and I noticed all three times a great deal of eye strain (and some work stress as well), before the episodes started. In particular, the previous two times they occurred was when I had been spending hours in front of my laptop working. Could there be an eye muscle/accommodative twitch/spasm reason behind it?
3) Any other thoughts?? Is there any (hopefully benign) explanation, or any reassurance?
1. My best guess: at distance your eyes move more slowly as you are tracking something. At near, you have more jerky movements as you look at different places on your screen. This may cause more current shifts and…flashes. As long as your doctor doesn’t find any abnormality, you sound fine.
2. Get checked for reading glasses.
Sorry for the late response.
Had my eyes checked 12 days ago
due to peripheral flashes when I coughed and sneezed. I sometimes saw flashes without cough or sneeze. Both eyes and had vitreous detachment in left eye 13 years ago. I am 70 years old now. I also have had ongoing sinus pressure and mild sinus headaches together with the cough. Eye exam went well with no issues found and doc said the flashes were from transient eye pressure. Now the Cough is nearly gone but not sinus pressure and I’ve been seeing flashes much much less, except today I saw about half as many as I did 12 days ago versus about a third as many as then up until today. Started doing sinus irrigation with Neti pot 4 days ago and that helped except today—I skipped the Neti pot today. How long will the flashes last? Could my optic nerve be swollen from the sinusitis? 12 days ago the doc didn’t mention anything about my optic nerve, just that he saw no tears or detachment.
Duration of flashes varies. In general, the younger you are, the longer they last. Neti pot probably has nothing to do with sustained flashes. Glad to hear no tears or detachment.
Dear Dr. Wong,
I hope you’re still taking questions here!
I’m 48, very near sighted, PVD in one eye 3 months ago. I’ve had three tears lasered, the first two about a week after onset of symptoms, the third a couple of weeks later. Have been followed closely since, no further tears or detachment. I do have moderate floaters.
The reason I’m writing is that I notice a persistent white-colored “shimmer” or flicker in the periphery of my vision. This is NOT the lightning bolts or camera flashes so often described by others. It’s especially noticeable when I transition from light to dark. Also, in bed at night, after lights out, for the first few minutes I see a steady blue glow in my periphery–almost like I’m seeing a gas flame out of the corner of my eye. This seems to go away after a few minutes.
Do you have any insight into what might be producing these symptoms and effects? My regular retina doc says its traction from the vitreous. But again, these seem different from what people usually describe as “flashes.” I’ve also found a few places online where people report similar and some suggest it’s an after-effect from the laser.
Again, I’ve had it checked and rechecked and been told each time the retina is “stable” but it’s still unnerving. I’d be grateful for any insight you might have. Thank you.
I’m sorry to be a bit late to respond. From time to time, I get descriptions such as yours, but really don’t have any other suggestion other than it might be the vitreous pulling on the retina. I agree, your description is different than “flashes,” but I don’t have a reasonable answer.
I am 45 year old.
I started experiencing flashes in eye in February (about once/twice a day). In March, i saw my ophthalmologist and he saw no tear/detachment. Follow up 6 weeks later in June, he found a small tear & we did laser on the spot.
After laser, my flashes instead of getting laser, the frequency increased & the spread of light was more extensive compared to before.
When i went back 3 weeks later, doc found that my tear has extended & retina detached (superficial).
I had vitrectomy 2 days later (12 July) with gas & cryo.
My concern is i am still experiencing flashes after surgery.
Last week my surgeon checked on me, said my retina is healing well and my flashes should reduce soon. But I don’t see my flashes reducing. Some days more (10 plus times), some days less (5-6 times).
Why am i still seeing flashes (always at the bottom left corner of my left eye)? Is it normal for my case? This persistence flashes is stressing me a lot.
Flashes can last a long time in a 45 year old (relatively young) even though a vitrectomy has been performed. Be glad no holes, tears or detachment.
Hi. I am a 58 year old female who has been legally blind in one eye since birth (coloboma). Almost a year ago now I ended up with PVD with hemorrhage in my good (very nearsighted) eye. Thankfully I haven’t had any tears or detachment. I still have slight flashing and one large floater that is very annoying. I get a lot of eye strain trying to read through and around this thing. My job requires me to be on the computer most of the day. At this point I’m wondering if there is any hope of these remaining floaters clearing up. A vitrectomy is out of the question. Too risky with only one good eye.
Agree this is not an easy situation. I’d give the floater 6 month to a year to see if it moves to a location in your eye which is less annoying. Vitrectomy is actually as safe or safer than cataract surgery.
Dear Dr nine weeks ago I had RD repair surgery and phacoemulsification+IOL.On my 7 week check up I was told I have a small PVD and also developing a PCO.A few days later I feet a small tug at my eye with irritation,could this be retina redetaching,I only have a few floaters & Weiss ring has now gone.Thank you
Sounds like you are doing well, but I’ll have to defer to your docs in the UK. Retinal detachments are painless.
My PVD was first noticeable ten weeks ago. I saw my optometrist two days later, and he said it was a PVD. He said no follow up was needed unless I saw the “curtain” or flashes other than the outside peripheral flashes that I had already been seeing.
Over the next six weeks I’ve had episodes that I can only describe as ink squirting from the lower inside corner of my eye. It happened two after my initially seeing floaters and peripheral flashes.
This happened two days after my initial episode, the four days later, seven days later, ten days later, and again three weeks ago, which is when I returned to my optometrist, who immediately sent me to a retina specialist.
The retina specialist said I was having vitreous bleeds due to tugging on my retina due to the PVD. I’m not in any other high risk groups.
The specialist said my retina looked fine, and I was likely out of the wood. The I had another bleed two days ago. No curtain or flashes.
Sorry for offering so much detail.
Here’s my question(s):
1. How will I know when this nightmare is over? For the first two or three days my vision is rough 70% obstructed by blood, which begins to become wispy like candle smoke, then a few days later it’s wispy/grainy and I can see better. After a week or so my vision is about 80 % clear.
In the last event (two days ago), for lack of a better word, I saw a pin point flash in the general location where the hemorrhage appeared to come from. That’s entirely gone, and the outer peripheral flashes are now far less frequent, and barely visible.
2). Is this a normal presentation for PVD and vitreous hemorrhages?
3). With the peripheral flashes greatly reduced and barely noticeable, am I likely going to be ok, i.e, is the PVD likely complete?
Thank you, and again, sorry for the length of this info,
1. Can’t really know, but repeated bleeding can be worrisome. As long as there is no detachment, careful watching is possible.
2. No. Most PVDs occur without hemorrhaging.
3. PVD is likely complete, but flashes can often persist.
Dear Dr Wong, I am 55 year old female who was diagnosed with a PVD back in 2012 in my left eye have had many eye exams since everything has been okay! The last week or so I have noticed a couple small sparkles in the same eye I had a pvd in my left years ago, can you still have sparkles or flashes in a previous eye that had a PVD? Thank you for your help!
You absolutely can continue to have flashes after a PVD. Make sure to stay in touch with your doctor.
Hi Dr. Wong,
I greatly appreciate your responses to everyone; it seems they have quite a soothing and common effect on people, especially those dealing with potentially sight-threatening conditions.
I am a young adult with very high myopia, -11 in both eyes. My Rx has not changed in the last 3 years. I have a question regarding my history of similar eye problems discussed on this board: I had a bilateral PVD in both eyes roughly two years ago. The onset was a bunch of floaters and flashing lights. Unfortunately, the PVD caused a retinal hole in both my eyes which I subsequently had lasered. Fast forward two years and the flashing lights have still persisted. Some days, I notice them more while other days, they are not very present. This is especially true when I sometimes get up and go to a darker lit area; usually when waking up and sitting up, the flashes will occur. In the mean time, I’ve had about a total of 4 more lasers done to my eyes for retinal holes. Will these flashes persist forever, and thus directly cause more retinal holes which become a risk factor for retina detachment? My ophthalmologist has told me the flashing lights are a result of vitreous traction or pulling on the retina. In my case, because the flashing lights have persisted for the last two years and are causing these retinal holes, maybe removing the vitreous entirely can alleviate this traction and thus stop these holes from occurring? I also have been told I have lattice degeneration in both my eyes. My ophthalmologist has not mentioned that the direct cause of my retinal holes are because of vitreous traction, causing the persistent flashing lights. Do you think it’s a possibility that it is the cause? Or could it be due to just lattice degeneration?
Thank you very much and I appreciate your time in answering these questions!
Persistent flashes are indeed annoying. If there is not tear, good news, but you’ll have to put up with the flashes. If you have lattice, make sure to get checked periodically and if symptoms change. Sorry I can’t give better advice.
Hi Dr. Wong
I am 31 years old and I had a PVD two years ago with flashes and floaters. Had a couple of retinal holes since then, all of which have been lasered. Since getting the flashing lights two years ago, they have not stopped. I’m still getting them almost everyday since two years ago. Is this a concern?
Sorry for the long delay. Not terribly concerned about flashing lights as long as you are examined regularly and if symptoms change. You are relatively young to get a PVD, but having said that, keep close to your doctor as symptoms persist and/or change. Randy
I had flashing lights 4 years ago. Eye doctor said he thought it was vitreous change but had mri and cartoidartery checked and everything was fine. A year and a half ago had PVD in right eye. No flashing but had a white line I would see on top of my eye. A year later the white line went down into the middle of my sight and now I never see it. Five months later I see a flashing light in right eye of peripheral vision every day at least once a day. I went to eye doctor and specialist and both don’t know if it is related to vitreous of not. I have this for 3 weeks now. Also had SLT a year ago. Very nearsighted. Causing anxiety.
Not knowing your age, it is probably related to the PVD. Make sure to stay close to your doctor and listen to his/her advice. I apologize for not being more helpful. Randy
Hi, I am happy to have this site with such a caring doctor to take the time to reply. I was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago with PVD. I have been a nervous wreck since then. The biggest change thus far is a few more flashes and some as of past 2 days that are much brighter than before. I don’t know if I have just become more aware of the symptoms of PVD now that I know it could lead to retina issues or if they have indeed gotten worse.
What constitutes “more flashes”? I notice them about 2-10 times a day. Worse upon waking/sleeping. Some are one tiny spot flash others like an arc in my peripheral vision, those scare me the most. I have had these symptoms much longer than the 6 weeks of being diagnosed but didn’t realize they were from PVD until I went in because my vision had gotten very blurry in one eye.
I feel like “increas in floaters/flashing” is way to vague because some days I don’t notice but maybe one then others it seems one an hour or several at once then nothing all day till time to sleep.
Sorry I am rambling, any thoughts appreciated.
Flashes and floaters are the most common symptoms of a PVD and/or a retinal tear. It’s the best advice we can give, though I understand the paranoia. Hang in there and sorry for the late response.
I was diagnosed with PVD in both eyes 2 years ago. I was told to wait, it would clear up, but it hasn’t. How long should it take for floaters to completely disappear? I had cataract surgery in both eyes 3 years ago and this developed shortly after. I’m 64 years old.
Hope you are well…and staying safe. Floaters can be remedied with vitrectomy and sometimes Nd:Yag laser. Randy
Great site, thank you. I had PVD in both eyes almost two years ago. I am 65 and had just had a very long operation for breast cancer and reconstruction. Quite dramatic PVD but no detachment or tears. But I am now experiencing decreased vision, all straight lines, especially vertical, are wobbly. I am told I have some retinal degeneration/scarring? Is this connected to PVD or a separate issue please? Another question, after PVD is one more at risk of a retinal detachment than before?
PVD can induce are ERM – a potential cause of distortion. Make sure to get a good dilated eye exam. You may consider a trip to a retina specialist. Randy
Apologize for the long delay.
Another question please. If one is experiencing a retinal detachment, how long does one have to get to see a specialist before permanent damage is done?
Tough question…the proximity to involving the macula is very important. Randy
Hello, and thank you for your website. I visited my optometrist recently for a prescription check, and she said my OCT showed a PVD “occurring” in my right eye.
My opthalmologist had notes that it was also occurring 2 months ago (nothing was mentioned) Does this typically mean that it should be complete
soon? I have NO photopsia or floaters – had a hx of a PVD in my left eye 3 years ago with a retinal tear and vitreous hemmorhage.
Thank you for any comments you can provide
Not sure what she meant, but think of a PVD as something that occurs over several weeks time. Regardless of what happens, make sure to call your doc if you notice increased flashes, floaters or a frank decrease in vision. Randy
Dr. Wong, Thanks in advance for this forum. I am a 40 year old male and have for a month or more now had occasional flashes of light out of the peripheral of my left eye. Sometimes the flashes are more frequent than others. Lately, the flashes have been happening about once a week. Most of what has been said on here describes what I have, but I have also noticed that I can almost feel this happening. It’s not really painful, but weird. I was under the impression that you shouldn’t be able to feel these when they happen. Is this normal?
Usually there is no pain or “feeling” associated with a retinal detachment, retinal tear or PVD. Randy
On November 3,2019 I was punched in the right eye, causing an injury (blood in the white part of the eye, specifically in the lower corner of the eye next to the nose & a black and blue swollen eye). I believe this is called a vitreous hemorrhage. On November 10, 2019, approximately 1 week (7 days) later I started seeing flashes in my vision with the injured eye. The were random and last a nano second. It is now November 24, 2019 approximately 14 days later/after I seen my first flash and I am still seeing them. I went to 2
Retina specialist and both diagnosed me with lattice degeneration but nothing else. PLEASE HELP.
Blood involving the white part of the eye which is also visible when looking in a mirror is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. A vitreous hemorrhage occurs inside the vitreous which is inside the eye and not detectable when looking in a mirror. With regard to your flashes, follow the advice of your doctors. All the best, Randy.
I am 34 years old, while at work one day I developed floaters and slight blurry vision in 1 eye. My father was diagnosed with a retinal vein occlusion few years ago and recently had a retinal detachment that required surgical repair. I didn’t take these symptoms lightly and immediately called the ophthomologist across from the hospital I work at. He diagnosed me with a PVD and wants to recheck in 4 weeks, sooner if floaters worsen or develop flashes. I have myopia, but only -3.25, with that, in addition to my young age and family history of retinal detachment am I at higher risk for a retinal tear? Even if it doesn’t progress to that should I seek out a local retina specialist for further exam and monitoring?
Follow closely with your doctor/ophthalmologist. Probably no need for a retina specialist, but I’ll defer to your doc. Randy
Hi, on Sunday I saw a circular light in right eye. Reduced completely in 30 minutes but still left with a white circular flash ONLY when I blink or blink rapidly. What can cause this?
I can’t say without examine you…migraine, retinal detachment, PVD…you have to get examined.
Hi Dr. Wong
I started with flashes in left eye about a year ago and at the three week checkup a small ‘tent’ was seen on my retina and it was lasered. Fast forward 10 months (Nov) and I suddenly noticed a large tree in my right eye (it was a floater but huge). I had a PVD with a hemorrhage. I also had a central blurring – similar to if you wake up and sleep mucus gets into the front surface your eye – my doctor described this as being like condensation behind the vitrea Three months later it is still there. I haven’t found any information on this and wondered if you might be able to tell me what it is, and what the most likely prognosis/treatment might be?
I also have noticed flashes in my left eye again (they disappeared after a few weeks after the laser). I have an appointment again in 10 days. Should I call my retina doctor? He is always very busy and I don’t want to bother him if I can wait.
Many Thanks for your help and advice to all here and I will understand if you don’t get a chance to answer. I am trying to make sense of what is happening.
Always, always stay in touch with your doctor. I can’t do much to help you without an exam. Randy
Oh – I forgot to mention that I also have some scarring and my retina is a bit wrinkly – he called it puckering. That improved over the first three week exam interval though.
Thank you again – this is all very worrying now I have issues in both eyes. I am 62 if that helps and mildly shortsighted and wear multifocal contact lenses
I hope you are staying healthy. Macular pucker is not a big deal. Randy
Hello, Dr. Wong…
Glad I found this site. I have found some information but still have a few questions. I am a 56 year old male with -9 (glasses) or -8 (contacts) in each eye. I had a PVD in my right eye about eight years ago, and a PVD in my left eye four years ago. Since I am dominant in my left eye, this one scared me most. I had numerous exams at the time (four within a year after the PVD), and my last exam and dilation was in August 2019. My eyes looked fine and I never had any retinal tears in either. My vision is very clear with my contacts in my eyes, and I see no distortions.
My questions are…
In my left eye, I still get a crescent shaped flash off to the left side when I am in the dark and I move my eyes quickly. This has been there since I had the PVD. I don’t get it in my right eye.
Also, when I wake up in the morning and look to the ceiling, I see a small dark spot in the center of each eye that disappears within a few minutes. I have no clue how long they have been there, and they may be normal. Just asking since I am here to reduce anxiety.
And lastly (for now), I have a Weiss ring floater in each eye. The left one is more noticeable to me. Is there any hope of them disappearing on their own any more?
Thank you. Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.
Weiss Ring floater may/may not disappear. That’s the best I can “guess.” They can be removed if truly bothersome. Laser and surgical options are possible.
I am a 55 year old woman. I am in normal heath BUT have a history of extreme allergic reactions to drugs/medications. At the age of 16 I suffered severely from something called Stephen Johnson Syndrome. It made me highly reactive ever since and I have had a series of anaphylactic reactions to medications since. Because of this I have been unable to have a dilated eye exam.
On Friday, December 27, 2019 – I stepped out of the shower and suddenly saw a series of bright light flashes in my RIGHT eye – on the peripheral vision and a little on the top of the eye. I at first thought it was a migraine aura as I get them frequently – but it was subtly different and lasted longer – it was also only in one eye. My regular eye doctor said it was a PVD.
I saw a Retina specialist – who used two different advanced cameras to look at the eye. He said he saw about 80% of the eye and did see anything alarming. Again – I was not dilated. My symptoms were intermittent by this time – seeing the occasional floater or squiggly line in my peripheral vision.
It has now been 7 weeks since this began. I had the camera test again today and it was fine – but again was told only shows 80%. I have very few flashes of light but I do still have some squiggly lines and blurry spots that I can usually blink away. I was told this could continue for months.
But I have one symptoms that is really bothering me and my doctor had no comment on. Bright lights cause that right eye to really ache – bright sunlight – bright car headlights and the bright light of the exam cause deep pain in the back of the eye – followed by a lingering achy pain almost like a pulled muscle behind the eye or a headache.
I said I was afraid this indicated a tear in the retina.
I was told that there are no pain receptors in the retina – but I can’t imagine that I have simultaneously developed a new eye issue.
QUESTION: Have you ever come across this type of ache/discomfort from bright lights after a PVD??
My other QUESTION is – How concerned should I be that I have not been dilated?? There is one doctor that is really pushing me to be dilated – even though my photographs at 1 week – 4 weeks – and 7 weeks are unchanged. I would have to spend the day in the hospital – in case I went into anaphylactic shock. And then would have to be monitored for delayed reactions. But I am really scared of the risks. Especially because I don’t really know if it is warranted now at the 7 week mark. It would be a real ordeal for me – and I only want to if it is truly necessary. Another doctor told me to just live my life and forget it – so I don’t know who to trust.
I will happily pay you for an email or phone consultation – I truly value your time and response. Thank you.
This is very complicated and I don’t have any other answers than what your retina specialist shared with you. Obviously, there is concern about your previous anaphylaxis. I have not come across anyone having aches/discomfort associated with bright lights after a PVD.
I ‘am 82, diabetic 46 years recently vitreous surgery . Have light flashes. But take viet. E A% Zinc. I put soft e gel in eye at night. E has helped me avoid diabetic complications over the years. I live alone in n. Woods with my Shepard’s. So I have to rely on myself. Viet E is a GOD sent pill
Thanks for reading and following. Randy
Hi, Dr. Wong, Thank you so much for this website and for answering questions. Greatly appreciated! I am a 59 year old woman. Last August, after developing fatigue and joint pains, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid ARthritis and put on hydroxychloroquine. Literally within 24 hours of my first dose of hydroxychloroquine, I started developing flashes in my left eye. I saw a retinal specialist who said it was PVD, and no tear was seen. It has now been six months, and I am still seeing flashes in that left eye, when I go into a dim room. They have gotten a bit reduced in intensity.
My question is: is there any connection between my flashes/ PVD, and the onset of Rheumatoid ARthritis? Any connection to the hydroxychloroquine, or is that just a coincidence? (I am still on the hydroxychloroquine).
Thank you so much!
I think just a coincidence. Not aware hydroxychloroquine causes flashes.
Hi – I was diagnosed with PVD two weeks ago (after a week’s worth of flashes in my left eye which turned into a floater suddenly, kind of a neat Mother Nature trick). However, now I’m finding bright lights and looking to the left is irritating. I also seem to have a headache (ocular?) on the left side often. I do not suffer from migraines. What would be your best guess? And thanks BTW.:)
I can’t give you a best guess, but recommend you return to your doc and tell about your new symptoms.
Dr. Wong, I posted a message back in November concerning the flashing that I was experiencing in my left eye. I have been to my normal eye doctor and to an ophthalmologist, both of which have told me that they do not see a retinal tear and that they believe it is the gel pulling away since I am so nearsighted. I am nearly 6 months out from my first few of these and they don’t seem to be getting better. I am noticing them on average around once a day, sometimes more…and only out of my left eye. Neither doctor seemed to think it was concerning. My question is, how long can these flashes last? I was assuming by now they would be subsiding. I’ll be honest, it’s beginning to drive me a little crazy. Can you give me your thoughts on how long this may last?
Dear Dr Wong, I couldn’t believe you have personally responded to so many queries, I think that’s really kind of you. I am 36 and just had a PVD (I’m short sighted and astigmatic). I now have huge floaters and a lot of flashes. My question is, it has caused a blind spot/area very much in my peripheral vision and in the lower corner of my eye but that does bother me and makes a slight difference in things like driving – as I don’t have any sign of a retinal tear (which has been checked twice) is it normal that PVD could cause a slight loss of vision in the absence of a tear? Although I can live with how it is now as it is very recent it is slightly disconcerting while I get used to it and I’m trying to work out if it is likely to grow. Many thanks
PVD usually does not cause a slight vision loss. I’d have to examine you. Sorry, not a lot of help.
I had lens replacement due to halo and glare, but unfortunately had 3 retinal tests and a gas bubble out into my eye. I had flashing in my eye already but still had the surgery. After 6 months I had the surgery redone, my vision close now is almost non existent and blurry for distance but the flashing is still there. I had my jelly removed at the time of the first attempt of lens replacement by the way.
I’m so worried that the flashing will not stop , due to scar tissue my last surgery 2 weeks ago was a membrane peel which was suppose to improve my vision. I’m so scared that this flashing will be for the rest of my life. Is this the case, or is there more I can do to help it stop.
This is very complicated. I don’t think I can handle this in a way that will be helpful, especially without the ability to examine you. My advice is to address these questions with your retina specialist. By the way, in my experience vision can improve with membrane peels, but it takes longer than a couple of weeks.
Dr. Mike Rosco
I am 53 and very nearsighted. I had a PVD a few days ago. Saw my eye doctor no tears. I think the shape of my floater actually looks like what a Weiss ring looks like. Does this mean my detachment is “complete” and if so does that mean i have no increased risk for a retinal tear/detachment compared to normal .? I was training for a 1/2 marathon and I am hearing that i should wait 6 weeks to start training again. I run a fairly fast pace for my age. Not just jogging. So actual questions are
1. since i see this weiss ring does that mean the PVD is “complete”
2. Does seeing this ring mean risk of retinal detachment is lower or at baseline? Or is this just wishful thinking.
3 . Would you recommend no hard training for 6 weeks ?
4 . Last dumb question . if the vitreous is detached, is the space between the retina and remaining vitreous just air.
A Weiss ring, also known as a Weiss ring detachment, is a sign of a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). The appearance of a Weiss ring on ophthalmic exam can indicate that a PVD is complete.
In a PVD, the vitreous gel in the eye pulls away from the retina and separates from it. The Weiss ring is a visible sign of this separation, and it appears as a white or yellow ring around the optic disc. This ring is created when the vitreous gel pulls away from the retina and detaches, leaving a clear circular space around the optic disc.
It is important to note that the presence of a Weiss ring does not guarantee that a PVD is complete, as the vitreous may continue to separate from the retina in other areas of the eye. A complete PVD, however, is generally indicated by the presence of a Weiss ring, as well as other signs and symptoms, such as floaters and flashes of light.
2. Individuals who have had a complete posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) and are myopic (nearsighted) are still at an increased risk for retinal detachment. Myopia is a risk factor for retinal detachment, and even after a PVD, the risk remains elevated. That said, that in no way means that you will ever experience a retinal tear/detachment.
3. Although I cannot provide medical advice on this site as you are not my patient, I do not tell my own patients to limit physical activity during this period of heightened awareness.
4. It’s a great question — actually, clear vitreous fluid fills the space between the condensed vitreous gel and the retina.
Hope this gives you a little more insight into your condition,
Dr. Mike Rosco
I was aggressively rubbing my eyes one morning and as soon as I stopped I seen all the floaters in both eyes. My right eye had been having that flash of light for 2 years prior to this but I never had any floaters until I rubbed my eyes. Dr said no tears or detachments but my vision just seems off, kinda wonky sometimes and lights give off this glare now. Night time driving is horrible now. Is there something more going on or is this all normal? I’m 42 and terribly nearsighted and astigmatisms. It has me so depressed and I’ll never forgive myself for rubbing my eyes. Now I’m afraid to even touch my eye. Thanks for your help and advice.
Your story is very unique as before your message, I would have said that it is highly unlikely that simple eye rubbing could trigger floaters simultaneously in both eyes. It is reassuring that you received an exam and no tears were identified.
Your story about new-onset glare and difficulties with night time driving are more suggestive of two common possibilities.
1. Dry eye syndrome
Your eye doctor will be able to examine you to evaluate for the presence of either of these (as well as rule out other less common conditions).
To give you some reassurance, it is highly unlikely that simple eye rubbing caused the onset of glare and reduced nighttime vision.
Dr. Mike Rosco
I found in my case dehydration was the cause for floaters, flashes and PVD. As vitreous body under goes osmotic changes in volume it shrinks due to dehydration and regain volume when rehydrated. My question is if PVD is caused by dehydration resulting in gel fibers detaches from retina so does rehydration causes reattachment of gel fibers to retina or not?
Hello there Rupesh,
This is a very interesting hypothesis. You may indeed be right but I cannot give you any scientific evidence to support that.
Mike Rosco, MD