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A 18-year-old male asked:

Can anyone explain me how u see flashes of lights i only see eye floaters not flashes of light how it can be visible?wat they look like?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ali Zaidi
Ophthalmology 16 years experience
Vitreous issues: The eye is full of material called vitreous. When we are young, this vitreous is a solid gel. As we age, it liquefies starting in the center. Bits of the gel float in the liquid and we see this as floaters. When the central gel becomes liquid, the outer part peels away from the retinal surface. This can cause traction on the retina, which is experienced as flashing lights.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Mostly older folks: Most flashes of light originating within the eye are due to the semi-fluid vitreous fluid jiggling the underlying retina. The retina has no nerves of pain, motion, pressure, etc. It can only register a light signal and will do so under this stimulus. It appears usually as a streak of light peripherally. Since this can also occur with retinal detachment, it is useful to see an ophthalmologist.

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Last updated Feb 9, 2014

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