The short answer is call the office to be seen that day and plan on being dilated. In all reality 2 of the 3 most likely outcomes are harmless, however; the 3rd option can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. Here is a rundown of the likely causes.

1. Retinal Detachment: The retina is the movie screen of the eye. If the retina tears or detaches, your eye can no longer process visual information and you can have permanent vision loss. Therefore, we will see you ASAP.

2. Posterior Vitreous Detachment: The inside of the eye is filled with a “Jello” like substance called vitreous. As we age or if trauma occurs, the vitreous will shrink, and the “powder” can separate out. When it shrinks it can pull on the retina causing flashes. When light hits the “powder” it causes shadows and you see floaters. This is usually a harmless occurrence.

3. Ocular Migraine: This is when you get the visual aura of a migraine headache and you see tunnel vision, spots in vision, or “moon-like” crescents in vision. The visual component is a symptom, but the underlying component is a migraine trigger or a spasm of blood vessels leading to the eye.

If you have questions or comments, please send an email to drlillie@allendalefamilyvision.com.