Are you seeing sparkles or stars in your vision? These vision issues may not be due to celebratory fireworks commonly displayed on Independence Day. Streaks or specks of light in your vision can be described as flashes. They can happen when you bang your head or get hit in the eye. Other reasons vision can be altered include:
- Age – As we get older, the vitreous gel naturally becomes more liquid and collapses away from the retina (posterior vitreous detachment). As the vitreous pulls away from the retina one may see this as a flash of light in one or both eyes, like small sparkles, lightning or fireworks.
- Low Blood Pressure – Low BP can cause people to see stars or specks of light, particularly if they change position quickly. Eg: Quickly standing from a sitting position or rising quickly after stooping or bending over.
- Pregnancy – Some pregnant women with low blood pressure, also known as pre-eclampsia, may cause light flashes.
- Sneeze - Another common phosphene is from a sneeze, laughter, a heavy and deep cough, or blowing of the nose.
- Brain - Seeing stars is usually the result of a disturbance either in the retina or in the brain. It is much more likely that the problem is related the retina. This thin lining of cells in the back of the eye sends messages to the brain when light is detected.
- Medications - Some medications can cause vision-related side effects. Medications linked to visual disturbances include Benadryl (for allergies), Cardizem (heart disease), Elavil (depression), Xanax (anxiety), and others. Be sure to always inform your eye doctor and physician of all the medications you're currently taking.
Flashes of light in your eye are typically a symptom of an issue related to your eyes or some other health condition. Flashes should be taken seriously if you're seeing them frequently and the treatment will depend on the underlying cause. We also hope everyone has a wonderful time celebrating the July 4th Holiday and practices fireworks safety. If you are experiencing changes in your vision, contact Shofner Vision Center online to schedule a comprehensive exam or call (615) 340-4733.