The optical Bloch equations which incorporate the phenomenological population (T1) and dipole dephasing (T2) times have been tested recently by optical free-induction-decay (FID) measurements on an impurity-ion crystal Pr3+:La3 at 1.6 K. At low optical fields, the observed Pr3+ optical linewidth is dominated by magnetic fluctuations arising from pairs of fluorine nuclear flip-flops where the condition T1T2 prevails. At elevated fields, this nuclear broadening mechanism is quenched and the Bloch equations are violated with T2T1. In this paper, a microscopic theory appropriate for a low-temperature impurity solid is presented which reveals the above features both for optical and radio frequencies, and a simple physical interpretation of this line narrowing phenomenon is given. Modified Bloch equations of a novel form are derived to second order and yield analytic FID solutions over the entire range of optical-field strength. A discussion of the earlier NMR theories is given, pointing out similarities and differences. © 1984 The American Physical Society.