Thursday, 12 June 2008

Seeing Things? Part 2 – Flashes Of Light

In my previous blog post, I looked at the topic of floaters, a common eye condition which is sometimes misinterpreted by people as evidence for paranormal activity, such as the presence of a spirit or ability to see energy. In this post, I’ll be looking at a related eye condition experienced by many people, namely small flashes of light seen out the corner of the eye.

Seeing small flashes of twinkling light in one’s visual field is often discussed in spiritual circles as evidence of angelic presence with the person seeing them. This blog post is not meant to debunk this belief in any way – I fully believe in angels myself and have felt their presence on many an occasion. However, I do think that it’s important to practice discernment when it comes to spiritual and paranormal matters. In other words, seeing small flashes of light may very well signify angelic presence, but it may also be a sign of a serious physical eye problem that requires immediate medical attention. Rather than making the automatic assumption that the experience has a paranormal cause, it is best to have one’s eyes checked first to rule out any health issues.

Light flashes can occur when the vitreous gel in our eyes detaches from the retina at the back of the eye. As mentioned in the last post on floaters, this detachment is a normal and natural occurrence, which usually occurs fairly smoothly. However, on occasion, the vitreous will sometimes pull on the retina as it detaches instead of coming away cleanly. When this happens, the photoreceptors on the light-sensitive retina are stimulated and are experienced by us as small flashes of light, often described as sparkles, lightning, fireflies, fireworks, or sparks. Although there may be nothing to worry about, the possibility does exist that the retina could become torn or detached as the vitreous pulls away from it. As a result, if you see flashes of light, it is recommended that you visit an eye care professional to determine whether or not you are at risk of damage to your retina.

This is Part 2 of 5 in a series exploring common visual experiences often mistaken for paranormal occurrences. The other posts in the series are as follows:
* Part 1 - Floaters
* Part 3 - Pareidolia
* Part 4 - Retinal Fatigue & Afterimages

* Part 5 - Reflections & Conclusions


Ginger M said...

I like how you present a balanced view on this matter. I "see lights" now and then. When I first had this experience in my teens, I naturally thought that I was surrounded by some kind of spiritual force and that the angels were nearby! :D

I now learn that it's just a harbinger of a migraine attack - the only part of the migraine experience that is beautiful.

Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul said...

This series of yours is awesome! I'm a total "woo woo" person, but I think too much importance is placed on mysterious or paranormal occurrences. They can be a distraction from what really matters - focus on creating a relationship with Spirit.


Tim Brownson said...

Mags, you gain massive credibility by ruling out the myths, I like your take. Don't tell me that UFO is a weather balloon though because I'm not ready to believe that just yet.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Thanks, Ginger and Andrea! These lights can be incredibly beautiful, and it isn't any wonder that people have connected the experience with the beautiful energy of angels. But I fully agree, Andrea... we may get so immersed in these types of experiences that we miss the "real deal", which has a level of beauty that far surpasses that of the physical.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Oops, Tim - I only got notified about your comment now... must have been gremlins in the system, or maybe it was those aliens of yours ;)

Anyway, thanks for the comment and your support for my attempts to present a balanced view.

Anonymous said...


Flashes of light, almost like stars, often indicates a developing ability, like a third eye. Please note these flashes like stars normally are on the edge of one's focus and not right in the middle.

These can often accompany seeing orbs of differing sizes and colours at different times.

Just my take

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous.

The flashes of light that I refer to here (i.e. caused by the vitreous gel detaching from the retina) also occur on the edge of one's vision and not in the middle of the visual field.

If you see light flashes, they could have a very physical cause or a more spiritual one, as you mention. It is best to rule out the physical first rather than immediately assume evidence of paranormal activity.

Scott W said...

Last night I was watching tv and out of the corner of my eyes I saw a big circular flash of light, the flash occurred over by my front door. the flash drew my attention to that area of the room and I saw the flash disipate. I was amazed, and startled. To discribe the flash was almost like a light bulb exploding minus the broken glass. I have been researching on how to further develop my psychic abilities, as well as researching paranormal accounts made by others. I am just trying to reach out to people to find out if others have had this experience, and what it could have been that I saw. I was able to rule out any blown light fixtures or electrical problems that may have occurred during that time. can anyone help me understand what it may have been that I saw?

Anonymous said...

I see flashes of light but its been happening for as long as I can remember. My eye sight has only gotten a little bad but nothing serious. I still see fine. Should I still see my doctor about it? I have eye floaters as well.

(I am NOT trying to say I think there's nothing wrong with me and I see spirits. Personally I don't really believe in that... much.)

Mags said...

Hi Anonymous

You mentioned that your eyesight has gotten a little bit worse... perhaps you could visit an optometrist for an eye test and a check up and tell them about the flashes of light while you're there? In that way, they can have a good look at your eyes, and either take any action required or reassure you that all is well.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I too have been seeing specs of light for as long as i can remember. I have a friend who is a minister who comes to my house once a week for a in home bible study. Everytime he comes over i always see this spec of light either beside him or behind him. Hes been to my house at least 5 times now and everytime hes here i see those specs of light almost like small but bright stars. Could they be his angels?

energypsy said...

I have seen them for years. Sometimes (Mostly) in the corners of my eyes and yesterday right in front of me, central line of vision! Yesterday's experience was my first at seeing something that looked like lightning. All of the other times it has been more like sparkles or moving "things". I have wondered about a physical reason but I am inclined to lean toward a spiritual explanation. There was a time when I would see them literally "jumping" off of my Mom's head, like some kind of aura. I think it if was a floater or migraine, this would not have happened like that. I sat and watched it happen for a good minute or so. I have to say, I am happy to know it is not just me. : )


Anonymous said...

I have seen sparks of light for the past decade. I am a seasoned paranormal investigator and have my eyes checked regularly. I am able to photograph these "sparks", they have shown up on numerous pictures I have taken after I had seen one. I would definitely think it was something physiological, had I not gotten these strange lights on camera. I'm glad to know there are others out there like me.

Anonymous said...

I started seeing these flashes 5years ago. I never get migraines and I went to an eye doctor and have perfect vision. The bright flashes come in white and blue, sometimes the blue are bigger. I am not a new age person..i am catholic and always will be even though I dont really attend church regularly. My life changed drastically 6 years ago when I meet someone that literally made time stand was the most confusing, frightening, mysterious encounter I have ever known. I didnt know him but had a HUGE awakening of some sort cause of quick eye contact. It literally tore through my soul and threw me into a dark tunnel for 3 years.
I did as much research as i could to figure out what had happened to me! I knew I had to consult a person who would understand what the heck I was dealing with. Not someone in my religion. Someone who understands fully about spritual happenings. She was an amazing intuitive psychic...she told me with complete accuracy things about things that later I found out to be true. She explained that I was given an awakening to open my spiritual gifts...I WAS SHOCKED..WHAT! I dont want any spiritual gifts of any kind..that stuff is for wackos.. I cried for 3 years about this encounter because it changed me in ways that completely were very confusing and not something I ever believed in or wanted.
I started having complete changes within myself thatw ere out of my control.
One being these visions of lights. Another feeling other peoples emotions..which is extremely weird. Third very clear dreams that came true. I wanted all of it to stop I was helpless... I never practiced meditation, yoga, any kind of new age stuff. I was simply a mother and wife going about my days as any middle class person. My life wasnt was just simple. I was very content before all of this happened to me.
It was very hard to finally accept all of this. It has taken me on a long 6 year journey to accept it as part of my life. I felt very lonely I literally had no support. I could not talk about it with anyone I know. They wouldnt understand it. I have spent countless hours on the internet researching other peoples experiences.
My favorite motto..It is what it is..whatever it is!??
I can now laugh about this whole experience and feel comfortable in my skin again. I am back to living my life without freaking out when I feel things or when I see these blue, white beautiful flashes of light. Not really sure why they come but I do believe they are intuitive flashes that happen when someone i know is getting ready to call me or looking to contact me. Thats my only conclusion.