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Flashing Lights

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Hi all,

I woke up at around 3:30 am last night and had the "same old feeling"--you know, the one where I feel like I'm plugged into an electrical outlet. My heart was racing and I could feel a very fast "pulsing" or a "surging" in my hands, as though they were vibrating. With my eyes closed, there was light flashing in time with the pulses. I opened my eyes, and the visual disturbance didn't go away. It was like a strobe light was going off in my head...and at about the same speed too! It went away after about five minutes and I finally managed to get back to sleep about an hour later.

This was scary, but mostly really wierd. Has anyone ever had "strobe-light" visual disturbances? Should I talk with my doc about these or will he think I'm totally insane??


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I get disturbed vision, but I'm not sure if I have had the strobe light affect.

I think I have, but I tend to ignore things that are unpleasant.

Sounds like something I would ignore too.

As for telling your doctor, that's a choice you have to make.

I myself get tierd of the "looks" I get when I add yet another complaint.

Hopefully someone else can be of more help then me.

Wish you luck.


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Guest GayleP

Sounds like a migraine aura. In fact some people have the flashing lights (aura) and don't always get a headache with them. The aura can be pretty weird and disturbing.

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yeah lauren.. I though Migraine when I saw you topic heading.. and yes they def. can make you pots symptoms worse..

i sometimes before or during a bad spell or syncope.. will get exsplotions of sometime bright white light infront of my eyes. weather they are opened or closed.. and other times..like a few months ago.. right befoe passing out. i was surging very bad.. and all i could see was these really bright vibrant colors flashing before my face/eyes.. and it made me severe nauseated...

its not a good feeling or experience i know. are you prone to migraines??

You sometimes can get migraine aura's.. with out feeling the pain of a migraine.. that sometimes happens to me.. as I have the aura's before my eye's before I go to bed sometimes allmost everynight.. sometime mild sometimes not.. mild.. and judging on the severity of the flashing lights.. will generally kinda of set me up for the next day of how I'm going to feel...

Um somebody recently suggested to me that . if I'm getting the onset of a migraine.. that I drink alot fo sodium.. meaning drink 3-4 cups of broth..(chicken broth).. that it can be a sign that your body is in need of some fluids and sodium..

she said Pump up the volume!!.. you could try it and see if it helps you.. as I know the flashing lights can be very scary..especially if you have never expereinced them before!.. or if you ave.. if they are more severe that is scary too..

my migraine doc told me that i get the constant aura's b/c my brain is firing too much...and there is too much activity going in side my head. 9meaning my brain firing in overdrive..0 if that makes sense..

hang in there dear!! you are not alone!!


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Guest Julia59

I have gotten the bright flashing lights way in the beginning of my POTS----before I was diagnosed.

It scared the you know what out of me. I was standing at the deli in the grocery store with my husband when it happened, only my eyes were open, and the flashing lights were in my peripheral vision.

I wasn't feeling well at all, but I really wanted to get out of the house. I called my parents house, and my mother thought maybe I was having a low blood sugar issue------LOL........... :):( ------Where she came to that conclusion---i'll never know.

WE did end up going to a Wendys, and I got a soda. Then we drove over to the ER. Everyone at the ER thought I was nuts. I haven't seen the flashing lights since, but I do get a lot of visual disturbances----blurred vision, trouble focusing, black floties--ect. I don't get migraines, but I get headaches at the back of my head. I suppose that I may have been having a spell of near syncope when it happened, and just didn't know what it was yet. I look at my BPs now and am amazed I can walk around at all. I never recorded my BP on a regular basis until the last three months---and it's really, really low. Maybe your BP was taking a nose dive and your heart rate shot up, and you were having near syncope.

Now I just hear things---------LOL------buzzing-----vibrating---ect---I really do. I suppose with POTS, all kinds of things can happen.

If you have more of these -----------and if they are bothersome, call your PCP and see if they could have you checked neurologically, and go from there.

Julie :0)

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Guest sonotech

Another thing that can cause the "lights" is when there is lack of blood to the brain, it can cause vision disturbances. I tend to see lights sometimes when my BP drops and I have near-syncope episodes.

Maybe check your BP and HRT rate next time this happens.


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I have never made this connection before, but when my POTS was bad I had some weird visual disturbances--that were kind of like flashing lights in my peripheral vision. It was usually worse on awakening, and mostly during late pregnancy.

Since then, I occasionally get spots of light in my vision. I mentioned this to my eye doctor and she had no ideas what it was. I had thought it might be the beginning of a retina problem, since my mom had a serious retina problem and she and I are both pretty near-sighted so prone to that. Now I think it is POTS-related. I rarely get headaches, but some days, especially in the AM, I get these bright, small spots in my vision.


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Flashing lights can come from the brain firing too much. The nerves get more irritable (closer to threshold) and they will fire when oxygen is low. This can come from high blood pressure (vasoconstriction in the brain), low blood pressure, anemia, etc. When I got really anemic years ago, it was the only way I knew it. It is scary.

Hope the explanations are somewhat calming for you.


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Thanks guys for your responses. I'm scheduling an appointment with a neurologist at Hopkins and will mention the "flashes" to him. I do sometimes get crippling headaches (they fell like someone's stabbing me over and over with an ice pick and are so bad all I can do is collapse, grab my head and moan). Perhaps I do get migranes...which would be friggin' perfect (yesssss, another diagnosis--not!)

Anyways, thanks for the suggestions. It's good to know that visual disturbances do happen to people other than me...and I'm not going insane (although the purple hippopotamus in my closet keeps saying I am).



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Did you see the eye doctor about the flashing lights? I have bad eyes and my retina is so thin that they told me if I ever got hit in the head, I would probably go blind. If this happens they told me to get to the ER right away. They said they could do emegency surgery to try and repair it. But I would see an eye doctor to make sure nothing is going on...I know they test the blood pressure in my eyes everytime I go. I lost vision in one eye for 24 hrs along time ago and it wasnt fun, all they could figure out was it was my birth control pills I was taking.


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