Flashes of Light

Flashes of Light

Do you experience flashes of light in or vision?  Are they new or have they been there for a long time?  What is the cause of them?

Flashes may be described as a lightning streak or the sensation of seeing a shooting star in your vision. They usually only last a few seconds.


Most of the time, the flashes of light are from changes in the vitreous jelly.  This is the viscous gel that fills the back of your eye.  As you age, it will liquify. Flashes of light may be associated with new floaters in your vision.  Flashes of light can also be caused from trauma.  For example if you are hit in your eye you may see flashes.  Migraine headaches can also cause a patient to experience flashes either before, during, or after the migraine.  Sometimes you can have the visual symptoms of a migraine without the headache!  This is called an ocular migraine.

When Should I Worry?flashes of light | Alaina Kronenberg MD

You should worry about flashes if they are new.  If you suddenly see flashes of light in your vision, you should call our office for an appointment.  It is also important to call our office if you notice new floaters in your vision or feel like there is a curtain or portion of your vision missing.  It is also important to have an eye examination if you have sustained trauma to your eye. Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang or I will perform a comprehensive eye examination which will include dilating your pupils.

What Could it Mean?

If you are experiencing new flashes or floaters, we need to check your retina for a possible detached or torn retina.  You should call our office to be see as an urgent patient.   All urgent issues will be seen on the same day.

Alaina Kronenberg MD
Eye Surgery Institute
15212 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126

Vitreous Detachment

What is the Vitreous?

The vitreous is similar to a clear viscous gel and it fills the back part of the eye and helps to maintain the shape of the eye.  It fills the space behind the lens in our eye to our retina.   The vitreous has fibers that attach to our retina.  It is normal for the vitreous to shrink and liquefy with age.   It often eventually separates from the back of the eye.  This is called a vitreous detachment.

What is Vitreous Degeneration?Vitreous detachment | Alaina Kronenberg MD

Vitreous degeneration is when the vitreous liquefies and shrinks.  The fibers that attached to the retina can separate from the retina with time.  This is caused a vitreous detachment.

It is normal for this to occur with age.  If you have had previous cataract surgery, trauma or high myopia the vitreous can often degenerate faster that it otherwise would.

What is a Vitreous Detachment?

A vitreous detachment is when the vitreous pulls away from the retina.  This is very common especially after age 80.  You may experience new floaters in your vision and you may see flashes or lightening streaks of light in your vision when this is occurring.  This can be very scary and worrisome for you!

It is normal for you to notice floaters of different shapes and sizes.  You may see the floater as more circular or more linear in shape.  The floaters may move around in your vision and sometimes can interfere with your vision.  Most people get used to the floaters with time and they often become less bothersome and not as noticeable.

What Should I Do if I Notice New Floaters?

If you notice new floaters or flashes of light, it is important that you have a dilated examination.   It is important that Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang or I ensure that there is no retinal tear or retinal detachment.   This would need immediate treatment to ensure no vision loss occurs.   It is important that you call our office immediately if you notice any new floaters or flashes.

Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126