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"Why am I seeing flashes of light?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy am I seeing flashes of light?


I suffered an accident with trauma to the face/eye (left side) a week ago. The worrying development has been flashes of light off to the side in my left eye only that have progressively become more frequent. They last a second or two and look like wavy flashes of light off to the far peripheral. I have had three eye examinations that have ruled out vitreous or retinal detachment, only have a black eye and subconjunctival hemorrhaging. CT scan shows no fractures, no brain damage, nothing. What did come up however was a sinus infection. I can feel the pressure in my nose and in the sinus behind the eyes. What is causing these flashes of light?


It sounds like you have already had this problem fairly well worked up by your team of doctors. As you are probably aware, the most common cause of persistent flashes of light to the one side of one eye is a detached retina. It sounds like your doctors were worried about this as well because you've already had three eye exams and a CT scan to look for it. Most likely, you have injured your retina, but in a way that is not picked up on the CT scan. Since it is not detached, this injury should heal on its own and the flashes of light should go away. The normal imaging is very reassuring. In terms of your sinus infection, this type of thing is fairly common to see on a CT scan. You should be treated with antibiotics if you have symptoms such as a headache with a very runny nose. I suggest that you continue to follow with an ophthalmologist. This is the best type of doctor to follow and treat any issues with your vision going forward. It is also the type of doctor most qualified to examine your retina on a regular basis to makes sure that it appears normal. Hopefully, your vision will return to normal on its own soon. Good luck.

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