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Driving- Vision Problems
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Driving- Vision Problems

Please help if you can, I am desperate!
I have not driven for 6 weeks now because when I am in a car, I feel light-headed. I can not concentrate.  Maybe the best way to describe it is I feel half unconscious-- and like my eyes won't focus right. I have had an EKG, CT scan, blood sugar test, blood pressure, etc. I have been tested for vertigo. I even went to an eye specialist who said my eyes were not working together. Now I have special glasses that have prisms in the lenses to help my eyes, but it has not made the problem go away.  (So sad about this-- I really had my hopes up and thought this was the cause). Originally my primary care physician thought it might be anxiety, so she put me on Zoloft-- 100mg.  No effect.  I do NOT have any other symptoms of anxiety in the car-- no racing heart, sweating, etc.  Could this possibly still be anxiety?  Where do I go next? a neurologist, a psychiatrist?  This all began around the new year I was driving on the highway with my husband and felt like I was about to pass out.  I quickly pulled over and the symptoms have been there ever sense.  If you have any ideas, PLEASE help. I am terrified I will never be able to drive again. I am only 27 years old.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same problem driving as you do. Mine happened after I thought I was going to pass out too! I drive rarely right now, only if I have to, which has put a damper on my life but I am working through it. Try driving a little ways every so often until you feel comfortable. How do you feel when you are not in the car?
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I am so grateful that you replied. It's so nice to know that I am not alone.  I feel completely fine when I am not in the car-- nothing whatsoever.  Were you tested for other things as well? Have you tried anti-anxiety meds?  Also another thing I have noticed-- it gets much worse as the car travels faster.  Up until about 30 mph I feel okay. On the highway it is extremely uncomfortable.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel okay too when not in the car but I get worked up just thinking about driving. Once I get into the car and drive a while, I start fidgeting, turning heater up and down, window up and down, sunglasses on and off, I feel like I cannot focus. I do okay on side streets but cannot do the freeway or long streches of road. Your eye doc said your eyes weren't working together?? What exactly does that mean?
I have been tested for everything, you name it, I have had the test done! All negative!! Do you feel anxious prior to driving? The thing is, once we have an experience like you did driving, your brain automatically thinks danger when it gets into the car so you have to retrain your brain to know that it is okay. This isn't easy or quick, but it can happen! I am trying a bit each day but some days are better than others. Your brain automatically thinks car = danger now because of the scare you had. It could have been nothing, it could have been something small at the time, but it is now embedded in your head and the longer you avoid, the more you put belief to it. So now you have to put disbelief to that theory that the car is danger. Does this make sense?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Jess,

Yes, that make perfect sense.  I do begin to feel just the tiniest bit dizzy when I first sit in the car.  I'm not sure if it is in my head or not (well, I guess it is, haha), but I swear for a split second, when I see a car driving on TV I get that same feeling. It is so weird.  But I was/am not completely convinced that it is anxiety because I don't have any other symptoms, and I don't FEEL worried. I'm not thinking "Oh my gosh, I'm out to get into a car accident, this is so dangerous, etc."  

It is a condition called vertical heterophoria syndrome, where one eye is seeing slightly higher than the other.

Someone on these boards was having many of the same symptoms I was.  He got these special glasses and he was a lot better.  The doctor said that indeed, my eyes have this condition. But the glasses have not helped :(  
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Avatar_f_tn
The best to way to look at it is that you are okay unless you are in a car. Can you focus on other things? If so, then it is truly anxiety caused from the lightheadedness episode and your fear of feeling that way again. As you get anxious, the release of adrenaline causes your pupils to dialate so everything gets bright, out of focus, also, you are focusing more and getting more anxious so your nerves in your eyes are strained, causing more focus issues. Unless you  have some kind of exhaust leak or something in your car, it would make sense that if doesn't happen anywhere else, it is anxiety related.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,
It has happened in a few different cars, so I know it's not the exhaust thing.  Is there some type of drug that will inhibit the reelase of adrenaline so that I could at least see if that is what is causing the problem?  That may be a dumb question, but it makes perfect sense to me :)
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