Seeing a flashy spot when I blink at night
May 7, 2010 1:35 PM   Subscribe

A few months ago, I noticed that sometimes before I went to bed after watching an LCD screen, I saw a flash in the center of my vision while blinking in the dark. It just looked like it could have been the aftereffects of viewing the bright screen so I didn't think too much of it, but I've noticed it recently also. YANMD, but is there anything I should be doing right now?

I am 26, male, and in mostly decent health. The flash is basically the same thing as if I had looked at a bright light. It appears at night, but a couple times it has also appeared as I was waking up. The spot appears in both eyes in the very center, and never moves around. It is not always there at night, and IIRC not there in normal lighting.

My eyes have felt slightly dry over the past few days, I don't know if this is related.

I don't have insurance so I am waiting on an appointment with the county health program, which normally takes a couple weeks at least. I expect to hear back from the nurse within a couple days with info on if I can get an expedited appointment.
posted by Earl the Polliwog to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
It is an afterimage, and you are fine.
posted by Mwongozi at 1:41 PM on May 7, 2010

Sometimes the flash covers a wider area, and it has on a couple occasions been pretty bright.

Also, last night I got up in the middle of the night and there was a black spot on a dim blue window which I couldn't identify as well when it was in the center of my vision; I don't think this is something that always happened.

This, and the fact that it has happened as I woke up, makes me believe that it is not just an afterimage. I hope it is, though.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:47 PM on May 7, 2010

I suffer from migraines with visual auras (which sometimes manifest as auras without headache), and that persistent afterimage sounds like the beginning of one of my migraines.
posted by kwaller at 1:49 PM on May 7, 2010

I used to get migraines. I haven't had one for several years although I still get small, short-lived visual auras in random locations several times a week. What I am describing is similar to a visual aura but I don't think it's the same thing.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:52 PM on May 7, 2010

It sounds a bit like what I experience when I have a migraine. Part of my vision sort of "blanks out", and then I experience flashing lights for awhile. Usually this is followed by a terrible, lay-in-a-dark-room-and-don't-move-for-several-hours headache, but once in awhile it's not.

This is probably not very helpful, since you didn't mention a headache or light sensitivity, but I thought I'd put it out there.
posted by torisaur at 1:52 PM on May 7, 2010

ah, kwaller beat me to it :)
posted by torisaur at 1:53 PM on May 7, 2010

Stress or dehydration a problem for you?
posted by bunny hugger at 2:05 PM on May 7, 2010

I always seem to find a way to make myself a little bit stressed, despite the fact that I'm not particularly busy. I drink a ton of tea and enough water so probably not dehydration. I think my blood pressure is higher than normal, but not hypertension level.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 2:07 PM on May 7, 2010

I sometimes get this sort of thing when I'm not getting enough sleep.
posted by kindall at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2010

You may be triggering the nerves in your optic nerve bundle to fire if you're wiggling around your eye and blinking a bunch. You would interpret that as a light or a ring of light in the center of your vision.

I can't say how normal that is. Any pain behind your eyes, blurred vision, etc?
posted by Justinian at 3:29 PM on May 7, 2010

No pain behind the eyes, and not really any blurred vision... I mean, last night I looked at that black spot on the dim blue background, and it seemed to disappear a bit when I put it in the very center of my vision. It probably wasn't an afterimage then, because I hadn't seen anything bright for at least twenty minutes prior.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 4:26 PM on May 7, 2010

It probably wasn't an afterimage then, because I hadn't seen anything bright for at least twenty minutes prior.

Afterimages can last a lot longer than that.
posted by kindall at 5:05 PM on May 7, 2010

Could be migraines, as mentioned (even just "ocular" migraines, which do not involve any pain or other symptoms other than the auras) or very unlikely is the risk of retinal detachment. If you're really concerned, go to an eye doctor to have it checked out.
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:45 PM on May 7, 2010

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