People over the age of 50 and people who suffer from migraines are more likely to suffer eye flashes, according to VisionWeb. Individuals who suffer trauma to the head or blood vessel spasms in the brain may also experience eye flashes.
The vitreous, a gel-like material that occupies the rear two-thirds of the eyeball, shrinks and thickens as people age, causing it to pull away from the retina, explains Harvard Health Publications. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment. During this process, the vitreous rubs against the retina, producing light flashes, notes VisionWeb. These flashes are a normal part of aging and normally dissipate over the course of several weeks or months.
In some people who undergo posterior vitreous detachment, the retina tears, causing a retinal detachment that can lead to blindness, warns Harvard Health Publications. While torn retinas are painless, they cause the sudden appearance of eye flashes and floaters, which are clusters of cells floating in the vitreous. The vision becomes gradually shaded, and central vision may decline quickly. An individual with these symptoms should seek immediate ophthalmological care to prevent vision loss, advises VisionWeb. With early detection, a doctor may be able to repair the torn retina surgically.