Slight visual disturbances during activity, including stretching, are not usually cause for concern, according to the AllAboutVision.com website. In some cases, however, seeing spots – often referred to as "seeing stars" – can mean a serious problem with your eyes. If you see a shower of spots, particularly if accompanied by light flashes, seek immediate medical attention.
While engaged in exercise or stretching, the flow to your brain and eyes may temporarily be limited. This can create visual disturbances, such as seeing spots, floaters or other strange visual phenomena. The situation should be temporary and the spots should go away once normal blood flow returns. Warming up by walking or jogging for five to 10 minutes before stretching may prevent you from seeing spots as the result of reduced blood flow.
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Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, means you are lacking your body's main supply of fuel, which is glucose. If you don't have enough glucose, your body cannot function properly and you may not get enough oxygen to your brain and eyes. Symptoms can include hunger, dizziness and seeing spots, particularly if you are stretching or exercising -- two activities that affect blood flow. Eating a small snack or drinking a glass of orange juice can help temporarily replenish glucose. Avoid hypoglycemia by eating a meal every three to four hours.
Often referred to as ocular migraines or eye migraines, opthalmic migraines are typically painless visual disturbances that can be experienced as spots in front of the eyes, a temporary blind spot or zig-zagging lines. Stretching or standing up too quickly are common triggers of opthalmic migraines, which are caused by a change in blood flow to the area of the brain responsible for vision, not problems with the eyes themselves. In some cases, opthalmic migraines can be accompanied by pain. Opthalmic migraines can last up to 20 to 30 minutes but cause no permanent visual or brain damage and do not require treatment. However, if you experience them consistently while stretching, consult a doctor.
While temporary visual disturbances such as seeing spots are relatively common when stretching or exercising, if you experience them consistently, consult a doctor. There are a variety of underlying medical disorders that could be causing the spots, and stretching could simply be exacerbating the problem. Common medical problems that can cause seeing spots are high or low blood pressure, eye disorders and head trauma.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.