Photopsia is an eye condition where the person begins to see strange flashes of light.
A lot of the time it is accompanied by a migraine headache, or else it appears directly before a migraine occurs. A lot of people see these flashes of light as an indicator that a migraine will be occurring very shortly.
Photopsia is caused by a shrinking of the Vitreous, which puts a tiny amount of strain on the attachment nodes in the vitreous. This strain irritates The Retina, which in turn causes it to send out a series of electrical impulses which the brain sees as flashes of light.
Other times photopsia may be caused by an infarction in the occipital lobe, which would lend itself to being more of a Neurological Disorder rather than an optical one.
So is it usually serious to see flashes of light like this?
In all cases, if you suddenly start to experience flashing lights without warning you should definitely make an appointment with an ophthalmologist as soon as you possibly can. Protect Your Eyesight by taking the proper precautions against anything and everything that can go wrong.
Migraines, one of the accompanying conditions of photopsia, are caused when the blood vessels of the brain experience spasms. The flashes of light that accompany migraines may look like sparks, zig zags, lines of light, or even geometric patterns that dance through the air.
Sometimes, spasms in the brain's blood vessels initiate a reaction without the splitting headache that usually comes with a migraine. This is still a migraine, headache or no headache. It's known as an ophthalmic migraine.
Another cause of migraines is a detachment of the Retina and its connecting nerves. Any light flashes that accompany this condition need to be diagnosed immediately, which is why it's so important to see an eye doctor any time it happens to you.
If the retina becomes completely detached from the eyeball, you will be permanently blind. The retina will also lose its supply of nutrients from the macula, and there can be rapid cell death.
There are other common causes of this eye condition besides migraines, including blunt force trauma to the head. If you get hit in the head hard enough it will cause a jolt to the eyeball and the retina will momentarily pull away, causing you to “see stars,” or experience flashes of light.
The final common cause of on this is called posterior Vitreous detachment, or PVD for short. This is an age related condition, wherein the vitreous slowly shrinks as you get older and pulls away from the retina.
Of people over the age of 65, approximately 75 percent show symptoms of PVD, which accounts for the common knowledge that as you get older, your vision starts to fade. Always see an Eye Care Specialist or Eye Care Professional
if you experience flashes of light.
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