Why Do I See Stars In My Vision? Here Are Some Possible Causes

Aashita Dhingra
Mar 07, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Oct 13, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
A man rubbing his eyes while holding his glasses

Having starry vision is usually associated with a blow to the head, as has been portrayed by numerous children's cartoons.

But that is just one of the causes of seeing stars in your vision. It may accompany inane occurrences like sneezing or getting up after laying down for a while or even rubbing your eyes.

There may be several underlying reasons as well such as migraines, detached retina, vitreous gel movement, and even old age. If the frequency of seeing stars is far too high to ignore, you should get your eyes medically reviewed and visit the opticians regularly.

And if you see them occasionally, be sure to mention them to your doctor in the next eye exam you have.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about why do golfers yell fore or why do your ears pop here on Kidadl.

Seeing stars in your vision, what does it mean?

Seeing stars in your vision is a common occurrence that can mean nothing or it could signal an underlying health issue.

'Seeing stars' is commonly associated with a blow to the head. However, there are several reasons for this phenomenon and these should be taken rather seriously.

Flashes of light and floaters are seen in the vision of someone who may have health issues like a detached retina or migraines. Other common causes for seeing stars in your vision include a blow to one's head and vitreous gel movement.

A blow to someone's head is one of the more common causes. This has been portrayed in children's cartoons for many years and it has some truth to it.

Something called the occipital region is on the backside of the brain and is responsible for processing the visual information that our eyes gather.

Usually, there is a fluid layer that stops the brain from touching up against the skull and the occipital region. However, if there is a blow to someone's head, the occipital region may hit or touch the skull.

This may cause the brain to give out light signals. These signals are often perceived as flashes of light by our eyes.

Another reason for starry vision is migraines. Migraines with headaches are very well known to cause a change in vision.

This change can manifest itself in the form of spots, tunnel vision, flashes of light, waves, and even lines. The visual changes that happen can also be due to a retinal migraine, which is a rare condition that can alter vision in just one eye. Other symptoms of migraines are severe headaches, throbbing, nausea, dizziness, and photosensitivity.

Another meaning behind seeing stars can be vitreous gel movement. The vitreous body of gel is a clear gel that occupies the space between the retina and the lens in the eyeball.

Movements in this vitreous gel can cause us to temporarily see stars.

It happens when the vitreous gel pulls on the layer of the retina at the back of the eye which can trigger signals that can appear even if there is an absence of light. Such a health issue can be serious if flashes of light come on frequently or suddenly, or if they are accompanied by cloudiness and floaters.

Yet another reason is retinal detachment.

The vitreous gel can sometimes pull so hard that it tears the retina away from the back of the eye. If such a thing happens, a person can see flashes or stars, suffer from vision loss, or they may even have a shadow or a curtain across their sight that doesn't go away.

Some of the risk factors that may cause a detached retina at the back of the eyes are being over the age of 40, family history, a previous instance of retinal detachment, and nearsightedness.

Flashes and floaters often accompany stars in vision and there can be some differences between them. Floaters look like shadows, not flashes of light.

They may also look like clumps and lines that may appear to be moving slowly across your field of vision. The reason they are called floaters is that they can happen because of chunks or cells or proteins floating around in your vitreous gel body. Floaters can also occur if tiny blood vessels or cells burst in the eye.

Floaters are mostly harmless and have no risk and can occur normally with aging. Although a sudden phenomenon of seeing floaters should be checked out by a medical professional.

Is seeing stars in your vision normal?

It can be a normal occurrence, seeing stars and sparkles in your field of vision, like when someone sneezes, but it can be the symptom of an eye health problem as well.

Seeing flashes and stars may be nothing serious. It is common to see them after sneezing.

When someone sneezes, a lot of pressure is generated in the head, and this pressure is translated onto the retina which is the light-sensitive tissue layer that is inside the eye-ball, or the optic nerve. Either of these two, the retina and the optic nerve, are capable of sending signals to the brain.

These signals are in the form of light, as interpreted by the brain.

Now sometimes there may be signals when there is actually no light going through the eye. So when someone sneezes, there is pressure on the retina that gets interpreted as a light signal by the brain and the spots of light or rings that you see after a sneeze are called phosphenes.

A similar thing is observed when you stand up a bit too quickly after having laid down for a while. In this particular case, there is a drop in the pressure of the blood flow and temporarily the brain doesn't have much oxygen or blood going to it.

This affects the area in your eye or the optic nerve, which is why you see shooting stars. Sometimes, tiny blood vessels bursting in the eye can cause you to see floaters and flashes.

Sneezing and getting up too quickly are harmless reasons for starry vision to occur, but apart from them, medical issues like vitreous gel movement and retinal detachment may need to be looked at by an eye doctor.

Man with glasses is testing his sight

What to do when seeing stars in your vision?

Nothing needs to be done when you see stars or flashes after sneezing or standing up quickly. Your eyes are probably healthy and starry vision can also happen if you're getting older.

Frequent flashes, however, may indicate that you have another problem that may require medical attention. Sudden changes in vision and the rapid onset of stars or flashes should be taken more seriously.

It is also recommended by the American Academy of Opthalmology that people over the age of 40 should have a proper eye exam even if there are no problems. People with diabetes and high blood pressure and a family history of eye problems should go for an eye exam sooner.

People who generally have poorer vision should also go for regular medical checkups.

When a person goes for such appointments, it is useful to mention if you have been seeing any sparkles, flashes, or stars in your vision. This may prompt further tests and treatments to find the cause.

Any discomfort should be medically reviewed by an eye doctor. Catching these problems early enables a person to have healthy eyes for many years.

Should you worry if you see stars in your vision?

Usually, seeing stars in vision is not something to worry about, but frequent or sudden occurrences should be medically reviewed by an eye doctor. Medical advice will always squash any worries you may have.

If you see floaters, sparkles, flashes, or stars apart from when you sneeze or get up too quickly, a visit to the doctor is a must. These symptoms may seem harmless and painless but they might be signs of some serious issue.

However, occasional occurrences are nothing to worry about. The various reasons to visit the doctor include seeing more than the usual amount of stars, suddenly seeing flashes, the same eye seeing floaters and flashes, darkness in eyesight, or a sudden change in your eyesight.

When experiencing these symptoms, a visit to the doctor can involve some tests to find out the exact cause. For flashes and stars that are not related to any type of trauma, the tests may be more thorough.

There may be a dilation of the pupils. If the doctor is unable to figure out the related issue, there may be an ultrasound. If you have been seeing stars in peripheral vision occasionally, it would be wise to mention it to your doctor in your next routine checkup.

It is better to be safer than sorry in such situations regarding eye health. Proper medical advice should be sought even if you have a small doubt.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do I see stars? then why not take a look at why do boats float or why do leaves fall?

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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