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Is surgery required for sudden onset flashes in my eyes?

Q: I am a 46 year old male. I was seeing flashes of light in front of my right eye. During a routine check-up, the doctor said I must be operated upon immediately as the retina had got detached at the rim. On the very next day, he conducted an operation [banding / buckling], and on re-check up, he said that some fluid has gone between the two layers of retina which was not the case when he checked up the eye while discharging from the hospital. He observed the eye for a fortnight and then over three sittings, used laser to correct the problem. Now it is exactly three months when I was operated upon, and in the meantime I have been seeing flashy round objects moving before my eyes. These are very bright, like air bubbles inside a water glass and seen opposite a source of light [unlike the small, grey moving objects I have been seeing for ages]. Each globule looks like a big drop moving from one end of the eye to a corner. To me it looks that such objects are coming before my other eye, but I am not sure. When I took an opinion from another eye specialist, he said that the globules are because your vitreous fluid has shrunk and when you move, it touches and leaves the retina and causes this type of symptoms. Could you diagnose and guide me regarding the course of action that I should take?

A:Sudden onset flashes is a well known sign of retinal detachment in which innermost layer of eye, so called retina, which is attached like a wall paper, to the inside of en eyeball gets detached. In majority of cases, it does need an early surgery, which was done in your case. You have not mentioned as to whether you are myopic (i.e. those using minus power glasses) as they are predisposed to conditions like vitreous degenerations, retinal weaknesses and detachment. Vitreous is a clear gel that fills most of the eye ball lying just next to the retina. In myopes and with retinal detachment or after its surgery, vitreous gel becomes fluid forming globules, specks and threads at places. These keep moving and are called vitreous floaters which cause nuisance. There is no remedy to correct these floaters. Although many times eye starts ignoring it or patient has to willfully ignore it. As long as your retina is attached, these globules like floaters bear no significance. However if you develop any new types of sudden onset of floaters or flashes it may herald the onset of recurrence of disease i.e. retinal detachment. Hence periodic eye check every 3 - 6 months is a must in your case.

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