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Flashes are pinpricks or spots of light that you see in your field of vision. People often say seeing flashes is like seeing "shooting stars" or "lightning streaks." Flashes in your vision come from inside your eye. They are not caused by lights or anything else outside of your body.

Most flashes happen when the vitreous gel inside the eye shrinks or changes, pulling on the retina (the light sensitive lining of the eye). They can also happen if you’re hit in the eye or rub your eyes too hard.

Flashes usually appear and then fade quickly. Many people will see occasional flashes as they age. There is no treatment for occasional flashes of light caused by vitreous changes from aging. Occasional flashes do not cause any damage and most people get used to them after a little while.

When Should I be Concerned?

If you suddenly start seeing repeated flashes of light, this could be a serious problem, especially if accompanied by floaters or vision changes.

Call your doctor right away if you:

  • Have a sudden increase in flashes of light.

  • See flashes along with Floaters - cloudiness or dark spots in your vision.

  • See a grey area or ‘curtain’ across your vision.

  • You see flashes of light after being hit in the eye or face.

A sudden increase in new floaters and flashes could mean your retina has torn or detached. This is a very serious condition that your ophthalmologist must treat quickly to prevent blindness.

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