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"I have a constant "flashbulb light" in the eye for 3 days. What could it be?"

ZocdocAnswersI have a constant "flashbulb light" in the eye for 3 days. What could it be?


I have a flashbulb type light that has been in my upper right eye since thursday. Every time I blink I see a white or dark circle as if someone just used a flashbulb. I went to the opthamalogist on friday and they thought I had PVD. I have had Migraines for the past 15 years but never a visual symptom that lasted this long. Is it possible that this is a long lasting retinal migraine as I do have some faint other migraine symptoms. I have read of Ocular migraines lasting days or weeks. I have an appt with a retinal specialist tomorrow but this is starting to drive me crazy thanks adam


PVD or posterior vitreous detachment is a common condition in the general population, which becomes even more common with advanced age, especially in those who are 60 or above (although it can happen in those who are younger as well). It may be difficult to differentiate between ocular migraine, which can also present with visual symptoms, such as flashing lights, and I would recommend scheduling a repeat appointment with your ophthalmologist or with a neurologist if your symptoms do not resolve. PVD occurs when the vitreous membrane detaches from the retina (which is where the visual receptor cells are housed). The vitreous membrane is what separates the retina from the vitreous humor, which is a gel-like substance in the eye that gives the eye its form and is present between the lens and the retina. The most common symptom of this condition is flashing lights, which is also what you are experiencing, so it is entirely possible that you are suffering from this condition. This condition usually resolves on its own over the course of weeks and only requires treatment if the development of retinal tears occurs, so I would recommend making a follow up appointment in order to rule out that this has occurred. On the other hand, as you mentioned, ocular migraines can also be associated with flashing lights in the visual field. However, it is often also associated with visual loss and tends to rarely last longer than 72 hours. It may or may not also be associated with typical migraine symptoms such as unilateral throbbing headache that is worsened with light and loud sound and improved with sleep, anti-inflammatory medications and other migraine treatments. I would try these types of treatments, and if your symptoms do not improve and they last longer than three days, it is less likely that you are experiencing an ocular migraine, and based on your story, I would favor the diagnosis of PVD. Again, it will be important for you to schedule an appointment to see your physician and undergo a complete evaluation, and it sounds as though you have already arranged this.

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