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Why do I see little flashes of light?

I sometimes see "sparkles" little tiny flashes of light, kind of like glitter. What causes this? It happens during the day, maybe about once a month. It even happens in bright light. I also have "cupping" in the back of both my eyes, near the optic nerve.
These flashes of light could be due to a variety of different causes. When anyone reports flashes of light, I always want to make sure that they are not suffering from retinal detachment. This is where the retina brakes off from the back of the eye usually due to some sort of head trauma. This does not sound like you. Glaucoma is caused by high pressure within the eye and can cause flashes of light, eye pain, and sometimes vision loss. It also causes an increase in the cup to disc ratio, which is what you may be referring to with "cupping" in the back of both eyes. Migraine headaches have also been known to cause various different "auras" which can be flashes of light similar to what you are experiencing. If you are having accompanying headaches, this should be considered as a possibility. Please schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. He or she can listen to your description of the flashing lights, test your vision, and examine the back of your eyes very carefully. Your ophthalmologist will be able to distinguish between all the different possible conditions that you could have and initiate the appropriate treatment. Good luck.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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