Moore's lightning streaks

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Moore's lightning streaks are lightning type streaks (photopsia) (seen to the temporal side) due to sudden movement in the dark. They are generally caused by shock waves in the vitreous humor hitting the retina. The implication is that the vitreous is softer than normal, generally this is not a cause for alarm provided they are momentary, occur only in the dark and are due to sudden head movements (acceleration). Professional advice should be sought in cases of doubt, as retinal detachment, a serious condition, also can cause flashes in the eye.

They are named after Robert Foster Moore (1878–1963), a British ophthalmologist.


  • Moore R: Subjective lightning flashes. Am J Ophthalmol 23: 1255, 1940
  • Verhoeff FH. "Are Moore's lightning streaks of serious portent?" Am J Ophthalmol. 1956 May;41(5):837–40. PMID 13313677.