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How Photopsia Occur and What Are the Dangers?

How Photopsia Occur and What Are the Dangers?

December 19, 2022

Photopsia Definition

Briefly, a photopsia is a flash or light floating in your eye. They appear to be shiny and luminous. They can be experienced in one eye or both eyes at the same time. Photopsia can either be temporary or they can be permanent.

How is Photopsia Treatment?

Photopsia is actually a symptom of another underlying cause. Hence, the treatment depends on the underlying cause. There’s not a single treatment. If the patient is experiencing it due to age-related macular degeneration injections of anti-VEGF help. If the cause is optic neuritis, usually the eye improves on its own.

If there’s any damage in the structure of the eye, in the optic nerve, or the brain, photopsia may be permanent.

If the situation gets worse, it indicates that the underlying cause is also getting worse. It’s of great importance to seek medical assistance.

What Are the Symptoms of Photopsia?

Photopsia, i.e. specks in the eyes float as you move your eyes or head. It feels like something is in your field of vision. However, they’re usually inside your eye, optic nerve, or brain that causes you to see these things in your field of vision.

This so-called photopsia are more visible in the dark, as they’re bright and luminous. In some cases where they’re extremely flashed, they may also be noticed during daytime.

When you experience these floaters accompanied by flashes, you should immediately book an appointment with your ophthalmologist.

Below list is some of the symptoms of the condition.

● Flashes and luminous light

● Floating shapes in the field of vision

● Moving dots

● Static

● Twinkling lights

What Are the Causes of Photopsia?

As mentioned earlier, photopsia is not a disorder on its own but a cause of another problem. Some of the example causes of photopsia are listed below.

Age-related macular degeneration is seen in people aged over 50. Macular part of the maculares helps us see clearly what’s in front of us. Photopsia is one of the signals of degeneration.

Optic neuritis is an inflammation that damages the optic nerve resulting in problems when the images are processed in the brain. The most common cause of it is multiple sclerosis. Some flashes and flickering light in the field of vision.

Peripheral vitreous detachment can cause serious structural problems as the vitreous humor is the part within the organ that keeps it together. When the gel detaches from the retina it may cause peripheral vision loss. This usually happens as we age but it can also happen spontaneously and when it happens too fast, photopsia may occur.

Retinal detachment can lead to a change in our vision as our retina collects information about the light and transmit that to the brain to convert it into images. Retinal detachment is a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately. Sudden photopsia is one of the indicators of the condition.

Vertebrobasilar insufficiency is poor blood flow to the back side of the brain, which causes a lot of damage. One of the symptoms of that is the change in the visual field, including photopsia.

What is Migraine Photopsia?

A migraine aura is a wave of activity in the brain. The location of the activity in the brain determines the type of aura. The most common one is visual. Almost all the people who have migraine with aura have this type. A migraine aura that affects your vision is common and its symptoms don’t last very long. You may experience bilateral photopsia, meaning flashes of light, and blind spots. Unfortunately, these symptoms can cause problems when doing Daily activities like reading or driving. A migraine with aura isn't usually considered serious.

Retinal migraine is a rare condition that a person who experienced different symptoms of migraine. Retinal migraine causes repeated rounds of quickly diminished vision or blindness.

Unlike migraine aura, retinal migraine affects only one eye. If you experience photopsia or visual loss in one eye, be sure to seek medical assistance.


What is photopsia?
Photopsia is a medical term used to describe the perception of flashes, sparks, or flickering lights in the field of vision without any external source.
How does photopsia occur?
Photopsia can occur when there is stimulation or irritation of the retina, optic nerve, or visual cortex, leading to the perception of light sensations.
What are the common symptoms of photopsia?
Common symptoms of photopsia include seeing flashes, flickering lights, or floaters in the visual field, which can be persistent or intermittent.
Are there different types of photopsia?
Yes, there are different types of photopsia, including positive photopsia (bright lights or flashes) and negative photopsia (dark spots or missing areas).
What are the possible causes of photopsia?
Photopsia can be caused by various factors, such as migraines, retinal detachment, vitreous detachment, ocular trauma, or certain medications.
Can photopsia be a sign of a serious eye condition?
Yes, photopsia can sometimes indicate a serious underlying eye condition, such as retinal tear, retinal detachment, or macular degeneration.
How long does photopsia typically last?
The duration of photopsia can vary depending on the underlying cause. It can last for a few seconds to several minutes or persist for longer periods.
Are there any risk factors associated with photopsia?
Risk factors for photopsia include a history of eye trauma, family history of retinal disorders, advancing age, and certain systemic health conditions.
When should I seek medical attention for photopsia?
It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden onset or significant changes in photopsia, as it could indicate a serious condition.
What are the potential dangers or complications of photopsia?
The potential dangers or complications of photopsia include retinal damage, vision loss, or permanent visual disturbances if not promptly diagnosed and treated.