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Crazy Vision (Ongoing)
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Crazy Vision (Ongoing)

Hello

I would appreciate any advice you could give relating to the symptoms I am suffering from. I have suffered constant visual disturbances since 2006. I remember I started seeing a visual static at times in my eyes with some light sensitivity under office lighting. In January 2006, I was reading the newspaper when my vision went black for approx 15 mins. It caused me considerable worry as I live alone. But I never had any idea what that was.

By July 2006, I started complaining to multiple eye doctors that my vision lacked clarity and was always sent away being told my eyes are fine. It was suggested a neuro disorder might be the culprit. Two MRIs told me that my visual pathways and optic nerve were fine. It was suggested by friends and family I have an overactive imagination which has been distressing as well.

I went down the "it must be psychological" path for some time but experienced no change. I had counselling to even look for underlying issues because I stress about it. I did suffer from stress in the past but this seems to be something else. Never had a visiual problem but then got very physically run down before this problem started.

Anyway, I am not that stressed 24-7, 365 days per year.

When I lie in bed and close one eye, I notice the other open eye constantly dims and even goes black so I can't even see half my face in the mirror then it slowly returns. It looks hazy when I walk or drive and I am scared about what is happening. The static gets so bad, looks like a heatwave overlaying my vision....the room always look hazy.

I am reading text that goes out of focus constantly (every few seconds) and even sitting at traffic lights I notice power poles appear double and then single vision.

I also get periods for approx 5 mins where the room gets a very distict aura effect where it looks like I am looking though a tunnel with waves of dimming and brightening vision going on. Then it will disappear. If I concentrate on anything the room I notice the room around me flickering and light dimming and brightening.

I have never been tested for migraine or seizure issues or anything. I wonder if it is something like that. Did get bad headaches in 2006 that accompanied worst of it. And I remember having one episode of about 30 mins where I saw a jagged shimmering line. I get very fatigued from it all. It has been extremely psychologically and financially draining at a time when I really would like to be enjoying life. I have had most blood tests and ct scans, scan of cervical spine and all ok. Blepharitis, yes I have that though I wouldn't think that would be causing this...allergies, yes, a bit of hay fever.

My vision is crazy and life is a challenge with this stuff particularly when I don't understand it. Makes life a misery and me very unsure of myself. My career is very visually oriented.

Any ideas what this could be. I am sure it is not life threatening but I would appreciate any suggestion that I could follow up with my GP.

Many thanks
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16 Comments Post a Comment
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PS I am only slighthly shortsighted....I seem to remember (left -1.5) (right -1)
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Head for the neuroophthalmology section of a world famous Ophthalmology Department (example Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia).

JCH MD
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Thanks Dr. I will gee my dr and see what he can suggest. It has been a very weird last couple of years. I did have a lot of stress before all of this...whether it has triggered something off inside me I don't know.....

Thanks again.
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Could this be some kind of persistant aura doc?
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Well, I have been to both a neuro and an opthalmologist who can find nothing wrong (honestly I went to a few and all ruled out anything dire!). A bit of red eyelids and some tearing typical of blepharitis....maybe a tiny bit of skin rosacea developing but NOTHING that can cause such disturbed vision like flickering, dimness, ghosting, haloes and static. I am seeing a psychologist who thinks I developed a hyspersensitive response in relation to a lot of family stress in my life that preceeded all of this. I got concerned then started reading alot about eye symptoms at that time late at night, and then developed lots of very bad "physically-felt" symptoms including consistently disturbed vision  and pains all over the head and face which had subsided....only the vision stuff remains after two years for some reason.  Could I have developed a psychosomatic disorder? The psychologist seems certain I have with all I had to deal with before this...two ill family members and little support....he thinks I have become hypersensitive.

I was wondering dr, if you have also heard of this in your day to day dealings with eye patients.I'd appreciate a bit of feedback as to whether you have also some across this as this has me completely debilitated...what I am experiencing has no physically found cause it would seem. What I am left with is a lot of stress before this followed by me reading lots of medical things and journals and worrying about the symptoms, then obsessing about finding an answer. It is being suggested stress and anxiety is the culprit. Have been told I need to relax and stop worrying about the symptoms. Anyway, I would just appreciate your response. Many thanks.
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I am not a doctor but I am wondering whether you've ever had any kind of prophylactic (daily medicine) treatment for your migraines? Some of the treatments for migraine also may help with stress/psychosomatic problems. Like, has any doctor tried you on amitriptyline (Elavil)? Tweaking those neurotransmitters with just the right medicine can work wonders.

It sounds like you definitely have migraine phenomena--the 30-minute jagged light, and the "tunnel" also sounds like it could be migraine--possible some of the other things too, though I'm not sure.

Perhaps you have migraines (which of course can be triggered by stress, among many other triggers) complicated by psychosomatic problems due to stress and reading a lot about visual problems.

Being told to just relax and stop worrying is pretty pointless! Like trying to tell a depressed person, "Just snap out of it!" Doesn't work. You need some help. Try seeing a psychiatrist who can prescribe you something that may help with migraines, and/or anxiety, or whatever else is going on--it might be worth a shot. And who can refer you to counseling.

Migraineurs should try to maintain as REGULAR a schedule as possible. Go to bed and get up at the SAME time every day, even on weekends. Don't get too much sleep or too little. Figure out your ideal sleep time and stick with it. That can make a huge difference in migraines.

Also identify any food triggers you might have, such as cheese, chocolate, MSG, red wine, and tons of others (do some migraine research--lots of info out there).

Be aware that weather changes can trigger migraines. So can altitude changes, hormone changes (e.g., period, (peri)menopause), and did I say stress??

Good luck--sounds like you are having a hard time in your life. I hope you are soon able to enjoy better times. Things can and do change for the better--hang in there!

Best of luck,
Nancy T.
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Hi Nancy

Thanks so much for your response. This is all excellent advice. I was not treating myself well before this happened. I was so busy trying to sort everyone else's problems and health issues out I had no time for my own.I was going 24-7 almost with only a few hours sleep per ngiht. I was trying to work full time, study part time and care for two sick parents. Then I got very ill and run down and this all happened. I was physically and mentally exhausted. It is interesting you mention migraines...I went with my mum to her optometrist recently and he examined me, said my eyes looked healthy and asked me to describe the symptoms and then said to me I could have a "Migraine variant"....He said the symptoms sound very much like they are to him. In fact my own optometrist said this some months ago too. I was frightened to mention all my symptoms in case they thought I was nuts. This was because when all this first happened, no one would take me seriously. I would say I was seeing things oddly and would just be dismissed. I got really scared as I didn't know if I was going blind or what. With all the tests I have had, I know that is not the case...but what causes the weirdness?....friends that have migraines with aura have said my symptoms mirror the aura phase they get. A retired nurse friend insist I get treatment for migraines as she thought that is what I am having too. Other friends are really angry with my "attitude" and just tell me it is "all in my head" or "you are imagining things" or "what you are seeing is not what you are really seeing"....even "you are schizophrenic"....."you have chosen to opt out of life and responsibility"...These are true comments which have saddened me. Yet the psychologist said I am quite sane but had been under alot of pressure! I was NEVER a hypochondriac before all of this...I'd never see a doctor or ever try to self-diagnose.

I crave cheese and chocolate. I eat them all the time. I also feel so tired even when I have done very little. Sometimes I am driving and I just want to pull the car over for a sleep. It feels suddenly as though I can't focus and just want to rest. I lack some confidence in the car now as thing don't feel right in my head or vision.

I am seeing my psychologist tomorrow. I am unsure what he will say. I might get my optometrist to write him and my gp a note and like you say, maybe I need meds. Nothing ever seems right this way. The room is flickering now.

I agree with you that although psychosomatic plays a part in this, my mind has been pretty powerful on this matter with several other physical symptoms. This is persistent long after the other symptoms have gone.

Really, I just want to get my life back to normal. I will let you know what happens.

Cheers!
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Glad to hear that you see a psychologist. When you have as many life stresses as you do, it can make a huge difference just to have a professional, detached (i.e., non-family, non-friend, non-judgmental, expert) person to talk with.

Migraine is diagnosed by symptoms--there's no other way to diagnose it. Sure sounds like you have it. Read more about migraine. It can, in some individuals (not everyone, of course) cause a wide variety of symptoms that you wouldn't expect, including numbness, tingling, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, temporary loss of vision or hearing, and trouble speaking or understanding speech. It affects the nervous system and the brainstem. It's not just a vascular (blood-vessel) phenomenon, it's a complicated cascade of neurological and vascular events. Can be very different from person to person and also it can manifest differently at different times in your life. Stress is a huge trigger for migraines, which is very important to recognize.

The problem with friends and family and even doctors saying essentially that it's all in your head--well, that happens to MANY people, and it's devastating, but you have to find a way of dealing with it, as well as recognizing that we sometimes go too far in self-diagnosis. However, when you're dealing with difficult and bizarre symptoms and doctors cannot give you a firm diagnosis or reason for what's happening--and are unwilling to really stick with you and figure it out, sort out the organic from the non-organic parts, and help you understand how a person can have something physically wrong even if there's an almost-inevitable layer of anxiety and/or depression as the "icing on the cake"--well, when you don't have understanding from at least one person, that can be the toughest thing of all.

I've been told I have MS (by a neurologist), then told I'm a hypochondriac for thinking that, even though it had never occurred to me before. Many times no explanation can be found for strange symptoms. YOu just have to focus on your life as much as you can.

In your case it sounds like you really need to work on consciously and deliberately reducing the burden on yourself--it is more than you can carry, and no one can expect you to. Learn to DETACH from other people's problems and even, when necessary, your own. You cannot solve everyone else's problems nor be responsible for them. Do whatever you need to do to stay healthy. Get treatment for migraines and keep up with the psychologist. Best of luck!! Things will get better.

Nancy T.
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Thanks so much for your reply. I realise that there can't be anything causing damage to the visual pathway as the scans and the multiple eye exams have proven. However, I do still have the disturbed vision and it is very blurred. I have had every conceivable blood test. I can remember when this first started....I blacked out one morning reading the newspaper. I didn't know what that was and no one confirmed it for me. In hindsight, it could have been a migraine....it came back after 15-20mins. But it truly scared me. It was not long after that when I started going to eye doctors, general practitioners, naturopaths complaining of symptoms.

I have no doubt that alot of what I went through was psychosomatic....but 2 years back I remember sitting inside the white dome doing visual field tests complaining to an optometrist that the dome dimmed and brightened....like a dark wave moved through my vision and then it would come back....I was told "that's nuts!"(maybe, although I did thinkI had some intelligence to know what I was experiencing wasn't right)....I sit in bed even now and watch my open eye go dark....it kind of blacks out....it has been doing this for two years now. The whole room is a fuzz when waking and gradually gets better.  I can sit in a room and see purple blobs fluttering in front of my eyes for about 5mins then they disappear. I get the tunnel vision effects as well where peripheral vision goes and there is an overall dimming effect.

The calendar on my wall is fuzzy to look at...I know I am shortsighted but this is different to that...and I am not that shortsighted and could actually get around quite easily without glasses before this happened.

Oh could this have all been a migraine variant? I have been terrifed as it has been pretty much non-stop in one form or another. But so have the stressors in my life. No one had even suggested it could be....my headaches were dismissed as tension headaches. They were deadly. I never experienced anything before like it and after several weeks never did again. Friends that suffer from migraines have told me now the symptoms sound similar. Strangely though, no one suggested anything back then.

I will work on trying to get stress levels back to an even keel once more. I have two elederly parents as I said and they are in care now. But I do get worked up when visiting them as they can be demanding with their illnesses.

Like you and the MS, I NEVER thought about this before it happened. It came out of nowhere. Now I would dearly like it to return there. It is very confusing when You are told you are fine and then go out and this is not the reality.

I can't thank you enough for your advice. I need to pursue this from all angles toget the right treatment. There's obviously a couple of things all working together toward this problem. But stress was the instigator I have no doubt.

I will let you know how I get on.

Cheers again.
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Maybe see a migraine specialist (this would be a neurologist). See what they think.

I have heard of something where migraines can just go on and on, or people get them pretty much every day. Maybe something really weird like that is happenign to you. It would be very interesting to try some migraine prophylactic medications and see if the problems improve.

I very strongly suspect that my daily dizziness is migraine-related, possibly a lot of the other symptoms too. Maybe there is some variant of migraine that goes on at a low level almost all the time in some people, who knows. Unfortunately doctors do not have time to pursue these kinds of cases and really figure out what's going on.

Stay strong and don't let anyone tell you what you should be doing or feeling, or if they do, just smile indulgently and do your own thing. :)

Nancy T.
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Thanks so much for your replies again. I am truly at my wits end with this. I thank you for your encouraging words. I went to my psychologist who says to consider psychosomatic as a good possibiity. I woke up this morning and had a "whitening out" of my vision. When my eyes were shut, the purple blobs fluttering around and a terrible flickering efftect...then of couse the waves of darkness when I shut one eye that I experience intermittenly throught the open one....funny glare....haloes you name it....and then this hideous static like a veil.

I went to a neuro in 2006. After an MRI, declared I was fine and no more follow up necessary. Suggested stress but it has not got better.

After two years of this at what I had planned as a happy time...with a new career, travels and taking my parents out in their latter years has turned into depression, debilitation and financial ruin for me.

I also have bad eyelid/ tear film...they look angry and red now whereas prior to this were mostly white....I have a slightly hollowed out appearance that even my mum doesn't have at twice my age...also not apparent two years ago.

I will talk to my doctor again...see what can be investigated.

I wish you so much good luck and for good health of your own to return. It is frustrating isn't it more than anything. People think I am not trying but they don't know how much I am just to get going each day. I will indulge them....and keep on hunting for an answer to this.



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Take care, and be good to yourself. :)

Nancy
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How are you? I have been going to the dr and psychologist but they are now unsure (oh gosh:(:() that my problem isn't actually a physical one after all and dr wants me to redo tests though I doubt they will find anything there. Curiously, my stomach is bloated up constantly, my night vision has been horrible since the outset of this and I have tested positively twice in the last year for a fatty liver and a friend said something to me about a friend of hers having tinnitus and bad floaters and the dr linking it to her liver which also was found to be fatty. I wonder as I remember seeing spots when I'd close my eyes like this as a kid when I'd be unwell and nauseous.
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Hi perthdab--it sounds like you have a lot of different strange things going on. I have never heard of tinnitus being related to a "fatty liver" (is that high cholesterol?) but I'm certainly no expert. Have you been tested for metabolic diseases? I am very vague on these things but I've heard that celiac disease can cause a lot of strange things.

I hope that if you have to go through a new round of tests, you will get some answers, one way or another. Mainly I hope you are successful at reducing the stress in your life, because that is really "toxic" (as they say) to your health. Which you already know. :)

Good luck and let us know what progress you make!

Nancy T.
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