Ophthalmology & Optometry/flickering in vision


QUESTION: Hello, thank you for your time.

I am a 35 year old male and my mother was diagnosed with Retanitis pigmentosa years ago.  She is now legally blind.  

I have been obsessing and worried about getting RP recently after developing floaters.  I have high stress and I believe developed anxiety over it.  One night my wife turned on a bright light in the room.  She quickly shut it off and I noticed my vision began flashing.  This happened 2x on seperate occasions after entering from a bright area to a darker one.  

Secondly I now notice that if I close my eyes for a couple of seconds,such as the shower when I'm washing my face in a dim lit area then open them, I can see a faint flicker.  I can do this almost all the time in the proper dim lighting condition.

I don't know if I'm over thinking or getting this from what I read online but I recently started waking up in the early morning with heavy breathing.  When I try to go back to sleep, I'll see lights when i close my eyes.  Don't know if I'm hallucinating when i see them but when I open my eyes they are gone.

I have been to 2 optometrist 1 opthamologist and a retina specialist who all say my vision is great with no signs of RP.  One optometrist did a PERG test and was normal.  I think it's different though from a normal ERG.  Could I be imagining these symptoms or stress induced?  I now see what people describe as visual snow at night also and the blue field entopic phenomenon is easy for me to see.  I think I'm always looking for something in my vision.

My night vision is fine and I have good peripheral vision.  

Any ideas?

ANSWER: So Long that you don't manifest signs and symptoms of RP you're okay . visual floaters ,white snow ,and entopic phenomenon and occasional flashes ,so long that the retina is intact, are quite normal -although annoying and is not sight threatening. PVD s can cause flashes and floaters and vitreous syneresis (liquification)  can cause floaters that can up as cobwebs, spiders ,flies, gnats,shadows ,bugs , or dots and spots .   Hope this helps   Dr Berger

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the reply.  Do you know what could cause the flickering when i close then open my eyes in certain lighting? Anxiety? Thank you again.

Anxiety?  Possibly  but more likely it is due to tugging or squeezing the vitreous gel which in turn pulls on the retina causing light flickering, or ocular migraine (scintillation)  which can appear as flickering Or jagged, zig-zags, Or stimulation of retinal phospenes which can give the perception of light flickering , usually blue or white, although there is no actual light present

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Any and all questions with regard to ocular ailments, eye diseases as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, etc , eye and visual sympomatology, eyeglasses, contact lenses, low or subnormal vision, pediatric vision conditions,and special and unique ailments will be discussed.


36 years of clinical experience in opticianry and therapeutic optometry. Still in private practice with special interests in vision conditions, diagnosing and treating ocular ailments, prescibing treatment plans which include medicine, eyeglasses, and contact lenses primarily. Although surgery is not within the realm of my area of expertise, I co-manage many pre and post -op surgical cases which include Lasik and PRK procedures.

New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians American Optometric Association

B.A.,1968, Hunter College of the City University of New York B.S.,1970, Pennsylvania College of Optometry O.D.,1973, Pennsylvania College of Optometry Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Administration Certification, New Jersey 1992

Awards and Honors
Clinical Efficiency Award, 1973, Pennsylvaania College of Optometry

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