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Blue Flashes




Some Stargardt's patients experience coloured flashes or swirls from time to time. These sometimes occur in the central vision area only or over the entire visual area in other cases. This phenomenon may be related to the brain trying to make sense of missing signals in the optic nerve. It seems likely that this ia a "perceived" illusion rather than coming from the eye as would be the case for glaucoma where there is pressure applied to the retina.

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"My son is experiencing them all of a sudden and his vision appears to be worsening. He says he sees them almost every time he blinks. His current visual acuity is 20/200 and 20/300. We did contact his doctor in Boston who indicates that they could be visual hallucinations as his brain is starved for information with his central vision deteriorating. When asked if they would stop he said "yes in about a couple of months because he would get used to them" - Cathy

"I'm a 24 year old guy who has stargardts. I was really really suprised to hear about your son's blue flashes on this site. The reason is because in all my searching I hadn't found anyone else who experienced that.

My flashing lights are in the center of my vision, they are not just blue. The lights are all colors, red, yellow, blue, green...and they are very annoying. I've had them for 7 years though...they never went away, I just more or less ignore them now." - Andy


"I have heard of this...my doctor told me about it. Kind of the same explanation, the brain is used to receiving information from the central vision. WHen it no longer does, it makes up images, flashes, etc.

I do not really experience this but I do experice something close. If I look directly at something, I kind of get the sensation of looking into a strobe light (it is very faint though - nothing like a normal strobe light). This does not happen all of the time, but it seems to be rather common if I am in a room with fluorescent lights. I have not noticed it with natural light or regular light bulbs, but then again I am not really looking it.

The first time I notice the strobe light effect was during a boring math lecture. I was not paying attention and I was just looking around the room and seeing what different things look like when I look at them directly. When I looked at my math insturctor's head, I was rather shocked to see a faint strobe like effect." -Jeremy

"I have these lights as well--mine are faint and all colors and they spin and blink almost like dice turning around in the middle of my visual field. I have had them for years--they don't go away. You do, howeve,r adapt to these annoying lights and, unless I'm fixating on a focal point for a long period of time, I barely notice them anymore." Tanna
"Sometimes when I close my eyes, I see swirling blue flashes and patterns. It rarely happens with my eyes open, but when it does, it is usually when in a dark environment. They only last for a few seconds and I do not find it distressing. I have had Stargardt's for over 40 years." Vaughan

"My cousin has the same problem, she lives in Pakistan and has Juvenile MD and the same colorful spots float around her eyes all the time and its bothering her a lot. She says its extremely annoying and her side vision seems to be going and her central vision is already gone. But what is the reason for the colorful spots floating around her eyes?" - Fatima
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Acknowledgement: Some of he quotes above courtesy of the FFB Message Board