Seeing Flashes of Light in One Eye: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

Seeing Flashes of Light in One Eye

Seeing flashes of light in one eye may seem weird. They actually occur on both eyes, it’s just that the flashing of light on the other eye is more prominent compared to the other. There are different descriptions of eye floaters, but generally speaking, floaters are just blurry spots in the eyes that do not occlude the vision. It normally arises from the presence of strands and squiggles on the vitreous humour, and these cast shadows in the retina that we now see as the blurred spot, flashing light, or whatever description we can think of.

They are benign, but they can also be the earliest symptoms of more complicated eye problems. Seeing flashes of light in one eye is termed as photopsia.

Symptoms of Flashes of Light in One or Both Eyes

  • Seeing strands, spots, or flashes of light upon staring on a blank surface
  • Takes a few blinks before it becomes lighter and eventually disappears
  • Seeing light flashes without mechanical stimulation

Causes of Seeing Flashes of Light in One Eye


  • Electrical impulse: the brain is stimulated when light enters the eyes and is transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve as an electrical impulse and is interpreted as a shadow or light image.
  • Mechanical stimulation: physically touching the eyes sends an impulse to the brain that is interpreted as flicker of light.
  • Retinal trauma: if by any chance the retina was detached or torn seeing flashes of light in one eye that is affected will be noticed.
  • Head trauma: a hard blow on the head can result to seeing flashes of light due to trauma.
  • Migraines: when there is spasm in the brain’s blood vessels, flashes of light are accompanied by headache.
  • Side effect of drugs: seeing flashes of lights post digitalis administration can present a symptom of digitalis toxicity.

Treatment for Flashes of Light in the Eyes


  • Just wait until it disappears
  • Laser treatment
  • Vitrectomy