There are several of us on here who have a similar eye complaint: seeing a bright flash, like the afterimage of a flash bulb, when we blink, and sometimes, on upgaze. This is transient symptom for most of us, lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. When the "spot" in our visual field passes over a dark background, the spot appears light. When the spot passes over a light background, it appears dark.
So far, the doctors haven't been able to diagnose us, and perhaps that means it is simply some idiopathic phenomenon. But, in any case, I'm wondering what other similarities we might all have that could bring us closer to a an explanation.
For instance, other factors about me which might be clues are:
I take 100 mg of Zoloft a day
I would describe myself as high-anxiety and stress
I clench my teeth, usually on the same side as the effected eye
I have alot of sinus problems around my eyes
I have double vision due to a weak muscle in one eye
I have many floaters and one very prominent one in the eye without the bright spot
Update on my end. Woke up this morning with a sore throat and a hungover feeling. Seem to be getting sick. Around 2pm a spot appeared in my left eye just above centre which behave like my other permanent spots (opposite colour of whatever I'm looking at i.e. blue on orange/ yellow, however, is actually a blind spot in that I can't see through it). Getting me down a bit as my left eye has bee the less affected to date. Wonder if the link with sickness gives any clues, been diagnosed with migraine related. Are migraines linked to being ill for anyone?
Yeah, I got my own Christmas lights going on in my right eye. lol. My suspects for me are:
Hypertension (with slim possibility of CRVO)
Type 2 Diabetes (but unlikely, no other symptoms)
Something Autoimmune (again, absolutely no other symptoms)
Some complex migraine related to my eyes (I use to suffer from Migraines)
I doubt caterid obstruction (Rare, and only effects people, the majority are over 60 with poor life choices, smoking etc..)
I got a glucose tolerance test tomorrow morning followed by blood pressure. If these come back clean, then who knows what the cause is. Chin up Matt, at least you haven't been diagnosed with nothing terrible and been checked out.
Although, when I get a virus, I also formulate another relative scotoma. Sometimes, after a day of coming down with something. And sometimes my other ones flare up a little.
I hear what you are saying Welshy. The specialist was also trying to put my mind at rest saying that these conditions allot of the time come out with no medical diagnosis, even with Cotton Wool Spots to mean nothing terrible is happening. I know someone who is a specialist neuro doctor and been told he sees allot of patients describing the same symptoms as me and says there have been links related to stress induced hypertension and ocular ischemia.
I need a hot sandy beach for a week after this is over.
I've seen a consultant ophthalmologist twice and my eyes, barring a very small prescription in my right eye, are absolutely fine. I had an OCT scan and visual field test. So my eyes are physically healthy at least.
He said he had come across it before a few times a year but that he had never followed it up. He did say that he has never seen anyone with this develop any serious eye complaints. He has referred me onto a neurologist. I'll probably have MRIs etc. but mostly I want to speak to someone interested in solving it.
I'm convinced this is migraine related due to triggers like light sensitivity, fluorescent lighting and computer use. The doctor pretty much agreed with me. Its not easy in this day and age to avoid these things.
Matt, I get migraines and a "sick/hungover" feeling is definitely associated with them. Recently I have been getting what I think of as silent ones, no headache but feel very tired and sick. I found that even a full night's sleep will still not be enough a few times to feel ok. Have the calcium channel blockers helped?
I have to say as well, another common theme here I see is stress. Stress makes everything worse. It's a vicious circle because it's hard not to worry about your vision. I'm trying to make a determined effort to accept these flashes for now and relax a bit more. Yoga, mindfulness exercises, things like that. I'd recommend it.
Thanks Matt. I think I get the same "quick spots" which are fairly small and last 2-5 minutes at a time and are a temporary blind spot. These are what I call ocular migraines.
I was getting these every five minutes pretty much around the time that the "blinking" spot appeared. This is the main reason why I think its migraine related.
This blinking spot is what is like the afterimage of a camera flash when I look at a dark background and always in the same place in my vision. It goes after a second or so. Its almost like a portion of my vision is like a photo negative for half a second.
I had similar lightheadedness on beta blockers. I found beta blockers really helped with ocular migraines but didn't stop the spot which appears on blinking and disappears after a few seconds. The main reason I tried them was to stop this weirder symptom. I went off them because I couldn't sleep well on them and felt tired all the time.
Do you have 24/7 "after image" spots. Mine are there after every time I blink, or look between contrasting surfaces. I believe I have an absolute scotoma now in my right eye. 4 clock mid peripheral vision, although its not a dark hole. It blends in with the back ground pretty well, unless I blink or move my vision across sharp/contrasting edges. The arc which is in the five o'clock position is now less prominent, I hope these resolve like the others iv had. I am contemplating going to A & E with this new flare up. I just want to know whats going on.
I hope I can get some treatment on mine, (steroids, underlying causes), because its very annoying (trying not to swear!). I'm an IT professional, looking at monitors and screens comes with the job.
Yes it sounds like pretty much the same thing. When it first started I would only notice it after going from a bright room to dark and blinking. For the last 2-3 weeks the after images are pretty consistent in the same spot.
Now its an after image in my right eye. It got worse a couple of weeks ago, when I was particularly stressed. Although the source of my stress was partially caused by my vision. initially it was two spots which have now congealed into a larger one. pretty much centre of vision to the right. Sometimes I noticed that the border of my computer screen and black of the monitor distorts too. That seems to have calmed down a bit fortunately.
The after image effect was bad at first but calmed down with deliberately avoiding computers/reading in the evening and early nights (aiming for 9 hours sleep, hard to get). I thought I was doing well and it was improving but it got worse after I went on holiday and was reading my Kindle all day in the sun. I should've got Audiobooks!
I also have a larger one in my left eye on the edge of my vision which I see if I move my eyes fast from side to side when looking at a white wall or move my finger over my eyes. There's several other spots appeared in the last couple of months but they don't seem to cause the after image effect. For these ones if it wasn't for the methods I have to make them appear I probably wouldn't have noticed them.
I probably need a monitor that is like a Kindle screen, but I'm not sure that exists!
The more I read peoples comments and their symptoms, the more I don't think I have the same condition. My flashing arcs, blobs are 24/7 depending on what lighting I am in. Does anyone experience this all the time? I don't understand. How can your spots only last a few seconds? Mine are every single time I blink! Can anyone help me out?
welshy - that sounds like ocular migraines to me (exactly as you describe, but eventually fade, and generally not in the same place all the time). I was getting these all day at one point. I found beta blockers significantly reduced these for me (but obviously, discuss with your doctor) but generally made me feel pretty bad so I stopped taking them.
I found that some glasses called theraspecs helped me a bit with these, (the spots on blinking are still there though) but you have to get them from the US (it could be placebo but I'll take it). so has reducing the number of fluorescent lights. Boots in the UK also do a blue reflective lens which is quite good - I'd get them even if I didn't have a prescription - especially for computer use. I'm convinced constant computer use and fluorescent lights are a trigger for me (I used to get migraines after playing the Playstation as a kid) so I try everything I can to alleviate it.
Lulu - mine are there (lying dormant almost) all the time but are more visible in certain conditions. It sounds like the same thing. They are in the same place consistently. Some days are worse than others.
These are the ones that concern me and are the spots that appear when I blink (especially after waking up and looking at my phone for example). They also look like the after image of a camera flash in certain circumstances. They are black/green on a white background and white/red on a dark background for me. They are always in the same place. I'm trying to learn to ignore them in the hope they go away and while I wait for more appointments with consultants.
If this is vascular like some think, I have read that taking Cayenne pepper capsules helps the blood vessels in the eyes. I have started taking a couple a day, so I am not too far into it.
Unless it is a partial PVD I think it could be related to a damaged capillary, but I am not sure. I don't get any straight answers from doctors either, most say Vitreal traction with NO offer of relief, treatment, support...
ahh ok Welshy, sorry for the misunderstanding. We all have our own definitions for things I think which is why we confuse each other a little. So those ones fade, do they move around your vision?
To me your definition of this sounds like what I call ocular migraines. I was also getting these things pretty constantly. It sounds like a migraine variant of some sort. Its very hard to find a proper definition when it comes to migraine because everyone is different. what you call ocular migraines might be something I've never had.
I was on propanolol and was also combining with 10 mg amitriptyline which I was already on. I ended up getting a very strange feeling in my mouth with this combination so I stopped them both. this could be a coincidence but the flashes which go away after a minute or so increased when I started on the amytriptyline.
I also think its vascular, which is a reason why I think stress is another factor.
I had diabetes test yest and will be getting the results after Christmas (HBA1C) but i'm not confident that the results will come back positive due to having no symptoms and talking to the nurse.
My blood pressure was high yest (168/80) during the first reading, but was told that could be white coat syndrome, I have since had it checked twice after and both times it was normal (117/74) / (115/75). It will be checked again tonight for a 3rd reading.
The general nurse gave me a good MOT, height weight and BMI index calculation, looked into my eyes, I asked about being anemic, to which I got the reply, "I very much doubt it", with the skin under my eye looking nice and pink and no symptoms of fatigue. I guess the full blood count might confirm that.
So, it might possibly be autoimmune, but really hard to define what it might be, as its something that is recurring over the years with no obvious symptoms. I just hope this gets sorted soon with my new job starting in Jan.
I agree with laticeeyes do believe that this is vascular in nature. Yest afternoon I had a very stressful period in work and suddenly I noticed more of these "bright spots", two new ones showed up. But after getting home, having a beer and chilling out, completely went, even my other ones from a few weeks ago were allot less noticeable, and this is something I am not imagining, they genuinely are less. Who knows, i guess i just got to wait and find out.
Stupideye, how long has this been going on with your eye? MIne started after a very bad black eye 8 years ago. I had flashing arcs that turned into a grey blob/blind spot for a couple weeks, and then it went back to flashing. Now it flashes by itself even without blinking when going from light to dark. I don't know how to deal with it anymore. I am an artist and can't concentrate on anything. I am praying that I go blind in my bad eye at this point so I don't see the lights anymore.
That kind of sounds like what I have. Besides the flashing arcs 24/7 for 8 continious years, I now get them going from light to dark. Have doctors told you anything about his condition? What is the treatment?!? I have basically lost my job over this.
Anyone thought of a class action lawsuit against the non-treatment of this condition/disability? I know some people from other boards that would be interested in filing. Don't know exactly who to file against, but I assume start with your local offices that deny/"don't see anything wrong".
I haven't had my flashing arc for 8 years, this is a new one that developed from a flashing spot when blinking in the mid to far peripheral vision in the 4 clock position from fixation. I also have another spot appearing above that one, that doesn't have any arcing. God knows whats going on with my eyes, but scary thinking its something systemically terrible.
I have had other bright spots when blinking in both my eyes, some of these resolve to tiny distortions or blind spots, but very small. These iv been getting every 6 - 12 months. Although my latest ones in my right eye are the worst yet. Im just trying to ignore than and be positive while im being poked and prodded, while Im probably going to be diagnosed with a systemic disease. But other than that im fit and healthy, which is why i struggle to make the dots of whatever condition is causing the problems. I also have a pictured of my fundus on my phone displaying the cotton wool spot, wish I could post images on this forum to show.
Lula, didnt you have a diagnosis from your other posts that I have read? Have they not offered any treatment?
Hi Stupideye, thanks for responding. I have been to 5 Retinal Specialists over the years and none see anything wrong with my Retina. They all say vitreous traction. My eye that sees the flashing arcs, the one that got injured, is also very myopic.
That being said, it was probably prone to injury more. I have been offered no treatment as the doctors don't see anything. I finally went to my mom's local Ophtamologist and she saw slight retinal scarring and a cloudy spot on my retinal. I don't know if it is a Cotton Wool spot or not because she didn't say. She doesn't know what is causing the flashing either. She thinks I don't need to see a neuro either. If it is traction on my retina, or a partial PVD they treat this in other countries. Some days are better than others.
I developed this symptom (a bright spot when blinking in my right eye, lower right side of vision) AFTER a routine check-up to my ophthalmologist (previous was 2 and half years ago). I had no problem at all, only small normal floaters since years that I don't notice anymore. The visit said everything (pression and retina) is fine but some hours after here's this thing, never experienced before. I phoned the doctor but he says it's nothing, so I'm glad I found this forum: it's there everytime I blink watching a clear background.
So, at the moment I've had this since 18th december (day of the visit) so five days. Nothing changed in dimension or other aspects of this phenomenon and I've nothing strange in my vision except for this. I've scheduled another visit for 7th january at an eye center, I hope they will say me something about it - although I read all this thread and a lot of you people have no answers yet.
I wonder if there is any relation with the mydriatic eye drop used for examining the retina, but in the previous visit I've had no conditions after it. Definitely I didn't have this before the visit. Well, I'll keep following this thread and posting any update, maybe it will be useful to others. Since in five days it didn't get worse and it's more annoying than worrying, I try no to be anxious about it, but of course I'm a bit worried.
Hi again, I've just discovered that blinking, I mean the mechanical movement of the eyelid, has no connection with this phenomenon. I proved it.
How? Simple: I stare at a bright wall without blinking and without blinking I cover my eye with the palm of my hand, and quick I move my hand: same effect of blinking but without blinking!
So, it's only the changing in light conditions that causes it (in fact, in the dark I never experience it), definitely not an effect caused by eyelid movement. It's not much for understanding what it is, but at least I excluded something.
Hi, I've found this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_svG6hcbNMY and I wonder if this "bright spot" is just a stupid floater, the first type this guy is talking about: "eye shadow eye spot". I didn't know this kind of fixed "spot" floater (I thought floaters were only the more common moving specks), but it makes sense to me. Maybe over time gravity takes this spot down (or not) so it's an explanation why it can or cannot disappear over time (as some wrote). And above all it's an explanation why exams and doctors can't detect it, if it's so small and close to the back of the eye! Well, maybe not for everyone it's this thing, but since it's just an annoying harmless floaters, I hope this is the explanation for many of us.
Update from me. New spot is still there and behaving like my previous permanent ones (blind spot and opposite colour of what looking at). By far the worst as it is so central and my left eye was my stronger eye with less spots than the right.
All docs closed except the emergency room and don't really want to waste their time as they will most likely tel me to wait for my specialist to open in the new year.
Amazing how these little spots send me into a tail spin emotionally. I don't want to get out of bed or even open my eyes.
I have flashes and blobs and arcs, I have it all. And they do look like camera flashes after eye movement, or blinking. And I did have a blind spot/grey area for a couple weeks where the flashing is, But the grey area/blind spot went back to flashing.
If you say it sounds like mine are the result of a blow to my eye, what exactly is causing it? I'll pay you if you can answer that. The docs can't. Don't know why you feel the need to yell though, lol!
Oldboy81, I have heard this theory too. I had a severe black eye resulting in flashing, blobs, arcs. Don't know if a capillary burst causing traction on the retina, or if it could be an attached floater.
Maybe I am not describing what I am seeing correctly. But I do see camera type flashes, which I would say are silver, white spots. Mine also have started to flash, arc without blinking. Like if I drive under a dark bridge during the daytime, I get the flashing arcs up and down a few times without blinking. Docs say vitreous traction, but I don't believe it, because other countries treat parital pvd or vitreous, macular traction.
I am just looking for answers because the flashing is so very hard to live with and work with. Even if I suffer from something else than the people here, I still appreciate the support, because I am getting ZERO support from doctors, and there are no support groups whatsoever. Very scary. I only hope that people on this board get relief someday.
I get bright spots (blind spots) when blinking (light/dark background) for about the past 1.5 years. It's in my right eye, and shaped like a tiny arrow head. I got the first episode a few weeks after an ocular migraine which I get every few years for the past 20 years. Mine are brought about by stress, caffeine, exercise and brink lights. I also work on a computer all day so that can be a trigger. They usually go away in a few hours but I've had my current one for the past few days off and on and it varies in intensity. Sometimes I can only see it if I blink while keeping my good eye closed. I'm also very sensitive to light/dark changes and photobleaching (flash bulb effect) pretty easily!
I've seen an Opthamologist (Retina Specialist) and a Neuro Opthamologist, had every eye test under the sun and a MRI of my brain, all normal. They think it's likely migraine related. The medical assistant at the Opthamologist office said she gets the same thing and also used to get ocular migraines. She also said many patients come in with similar complaints.
I agree that it's likely migraine related or something vascular. The vascular part makes me wonder if anyone else who gets this has a blood clotting disorder? I have Factor V Lieden so I'm at increased risk of clots. I also have anxiety/panic disorder and huge swings in my blood pressure.
Mines still being a flashy shiny mess. So close to my central vision in my left good eye has really got me down. Spent a couple of days in be be I just couldn't face the world. Hoping it isn't a retinal tear or something else. Really getting annoying seeing this flashing mess everywhere, seems to be acting slightly different to my previous ones which were easier to ignore.
Frustrating that no docs are open.
Well my HBA1C test came back negative so I don't have diabetes and also my blood pressure check came back fine after five random blood pressure tests. Although it was noted it does spike high when anxious or stressed. Still haven't got my referral through yet, expecting through the post any day. My after glare arc in my bottom right eye is now better than it was. Also the spot above it, can still block out the mouse at a good arms length on a high res screen, but is def smaller. So something is trying to repair itself in my eye. I go through feelings of highs and lows, trying not to think I got something terrible. But, no other symptoms, so happy with that. No new ones since. I find also some days its slightly worse and other days slightly better. Im semi convinced its vascular. I just want to see the specialist again to confirm what this "white lesion"/"cotton wool spot" is/was and if its going.
i have heard Eyebright and or Cayenne pepper capsules is good for eye circulation, wonder if that would help. If it's something like a small burst capillary, it might help heal an maybe reopen the capillary, or if the capillary is stuck on the retina.
It's been a while since I've posted, and have a few new permanent spots (one decent sized one and a few tiny ones in both eyes) - many temporary flare-ups weekly along the way.
I wanted to post something that I saw someone post a few years ago in this thread, which oddly enough seems to actually help dissipate the temporary spots much quicker: bending over and having blood rush to your head. I didn't think it worked at first but a year later (a month ago) I tried it again and it seemed to help get rid of a pretty serious spot quickly - I've done so for almost every serious spot since and it seems to work (unless it's a big coincidence that they settle down during and right after I do this). All I am doing is bending over as if I am tying my shoe for 30 seconds to a minute (or laying off the end of a bed so my head is lower than my body).
Just throwing this out there and want to see if it helps anyone else (and am interested if it does!), might help show evidence that this is a vascular issue too.
To throw out my old idea again - if there is a way to get a kickstarter-like funding round where we can put up what money we can to get a team of ophthalmologists/neural-ophthalmologists researching (or testing us in-depth), I am all in for it.
sarah4983 had proper tests done and was classified as PAMM - maybe we would get in touch with this hospital group to get more of us diagnosed (I will fly to Miami in a heartbeat for this).
Wow, and ack! I'm stunned to see so many with this problem. I'm just embarking on getting diagnosed... doesn't look promising. The strange thing with me is I'm over 60 and never had silent migrains until 5 years ago. I had aura in both eyes then nothing for about 3 years and one more. But, 3 months ago I had aura in only one eye. That is when I noticed this "photo bleaching spot" that persisted in my right eye (the one that had the aura). Yes, I see it mostly when I blink, it goes from bright light to black, depending on the background. Shows up best when looking at a bright, white background. And... it is arrow shaped, as someone else mentioned, like an arrowhead. I am scheduled for MRI and have an appointment with the opthamologist. I'm leaning towards it being related to the migraine and something in the brain but... so many unaswered questions.
It sounds like you are in the same boat as the rest of us. Keep us posted on your test results.
Update on my recent spot. It I not as bright as it was on presentation a week ago. However, it is doing something the others haven't which is sparkling on transition from looking at something dark to something light.
Part of it is definitely a blind spot with a cone of distortion pointing to my central vision. As it is very close to my central vision it is very annoying and hard to ignore.
Seeing my ophthalmologist this Friday. Assume it'll be a ok as usual.
Hi all! Following emailing Joe, who posted last week saying he had some tablets for the condition. He uses sumatriptan over a 3 day period as a course which stops the spots. He also said he had tried sanomigran, but can have sleepy side effects. The sumatriptan he said was very quick working, but after some research i dont think you can take this every day. Only when the 'migraine' comes on ( its used for migraines) but it apparently helps the spots.
Just got back from my regular ophthalmologist. Everything normal as expected. Spot still persists and is still bright and sparkly especially when looking at a bright background. Hope this subsides soon. How long does it take others to get out of this phase? Has been just over a week so far.
The ophthalmologist is sending me to repeat my electro physiological exam (the one where you look at the flashing hexagons with a massive contact lens that doesn't let you blink.) as he wants to compare against the base line from 3 years ago.
I've been having this problem for almost 2 years now. I get afterimage spots that can last anywhere between seconds to months. The spots always seem to eventually disappear, but they can get worse and better many times before that happens. I've seen an ophthalmologist, gotten an MRI, and I still haven't gotten a solid answer about it all. I have had a history with ocular migraines causing a scintillating scotoma (though I haven't gotten them since developing this new condition).
Here's some thing's I've noticed:
- The appearance spots seem to be highly stress-related. Sometimes I go for periods of months without spots, but during highly stressful times I get more and am more likely to get spots that persist for a long period of time.
- I appear to have a certain amount of control over them. If a new spot appears, focusing on it will only make it persist a long time. But if I quickly distract myself, they'll tend to disappear within a few minutes and not return.
- Spots start off worse in the morning, and progressively get better throughout the day. At night, sometimes the spots disappear completely, only to return the next morning.
- All of my long-term spots have begun in the morning, either shortly after waking up or before. Sometimes I even see them in my dreams, which causes me to wake up. Interestingly, this time of day is also when your cortisol levels are highest, furthering my suspicion that they are stress-related.
- Massaging the neck and shoulders helps manage the size and strength of persistent spots, and prevents new short-lived ones from appearing.
- "Playing" with the spots often seems to make them worse. It can be tempting to look at various pictures and objects to test their size (in the hopes it's shrinking), but this frequently results in exacerbating them. This has lead me to believe that there is some sort of "kindling" effect going on here (a term I've stolen from neurology lingo). Basically, the more you trigger the spot, the worse it will get.
I'm hoping that one day I'll grow out of them, just like I seem to have done with the ocular migraines (or they evolved into this or something). I can deal with the odd flash here and there, but it's these persistent spots that really annoy me.
For the last three years, I've had similar symptoms of temporary spots that occasionally become permanent. I've also had the usual battery of tests, with not much to show for it. I am not a doctor, but I have studied vision for a living for over 25 years.
One thing that may be of use to at least some of us is what is called Flammer Syndrome. the original paper can be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1350946200000288
but there are decent descriptions of it in other places (Wikipedia) that don't require you to pay anything. Basically flammer syndrome is a vasopastic disorder. The spasms can happen to small blood vessels anywhere in the body, but they're going to be most noticeable in the eye and the ear, which is why people with flammer syndrome complain of visual disturbances and hearing issues (fluctuating tinnitus and hearing loss). Like migraines, most people have triggers, but it is definitely not a migraine disorder. It causes short-term ischemia, which leads to flashing spots and can occasionally last long enough to kill the nerves and cause a scotoma. Like I said, they probably happen everywhere, but we care more about what happens to a tiny piece of retina than we care about an equally tiny piece of tissue anywhere else in out body, including our brains. Retinas are also major oxygen hogs, so they're more vulnerable to lack of oxygen. Long term improvement of a permanent scotoma can be due to the brain filling the defect in, or to the fact that the nerve may not be dead but damaged and will then slowly heal over weeks to months,
There are a number of other symptoms. Some are common, but a few are distinctive. For example, people with flammer syndrome have normal appetites but are almost never thirsty. In my case, I drink maybe once a day and only because I know I have to.
The syndrome is treated by avoiding triggers (if known) and by doing anything that stabilizes endothelial cell function. Typically magnesium and calcium channel blockers are tried.
I hope this is useful for at least some of you, I know how frustrating this can be.
Plankton, thank you very much for this revelation. I have read through the article and found it to be incredibly enlightening. A number of things I read caught my attention in particular since they seemed consistent with my experience.
Like you, I'm rarely thirsty. I mostly only drink during meals, or because I like the taste of a particular beverage. But rarely do I ever find myself drinking out of thirst, even after exercise. As mentioned in the article, my hands and feet also tend to get quite cold, to the point where holding a milk jug from the fridge for more than a few seconds can cause pain. I could have never imagined that these things might be related to a larger problem.
Interestingly, I actually have been taking chelated magnesium supplements daily in order to help manage stress. While taking the magnesium, the number of spots that occur are greatly reduced (though not eliminated entirely), and long-term scotomas are rare. But recently I got lazy with my dosage and that's when I got a new scotoma. Since returning to my normal schedule, it has shrunk drastically and almost entirely disappeared.
I am going to immediately schedule an appointment with my ophthalmologist and discuss this possibility with him. The thought that there might be treatments to further manage this diabolical condition has me ecstatic.
You're welcome! I hope it helps at least a few people. I just read all 900 posts on this thread and did see that at least some people mention things that could be associated with a vasospastic problem (cold hands/feet, migraines, dysautonomias, low BP, tinnitus, etc). Calcium channel blockers shouldn't be taken lightly of course, but many people do take them, usually for hypertension. Magnesium is fairly harmless, especially if you take one of the forms that doesn't lead to diarrhea.
I doubt many eye doctors think of vasospastic disorders, but if you search google scholar for terms like ocular vasospasm you'll find some studies. Some cases are secondary to other diseases, but in many cases the cause is unknown. Anything that harms blood vessels (inflammation, hypertension, stress, syphilis, autoimmune issues) can make them more likely to spasm, and I'm I'm sure there's much we don't know about it. It's not easy to study, since spasms by nature are short term (and can only be seen in the retina).
One test that has been used to diagnose Flammers is to look for elevated levels of endothelin-1, a potent endogenous vasoconstrictor. You can also look at the capillaries in the nail beds under a magnifying glass when exposed to cold to look for a heightened response. Like all things in medicine though, it's not always that simple, and I'm sure there are false positives and negatives.
Flammers is generally considered benign, except that it may have some association with normal tension glaucoma (Again, take with a grain of salt). A spasm of a tiny arteriole is generally harmless, unless it happens to be in the retina or the cochlea (or a few special areas of the brain), and even then it's usually not a permanent problem. It's just that we can see the tiniest damage to our retina, and of course care about it a lot.
If you already have low blood pressure, it's important to know that blood pressure can drop considerably when you sleep, which can cause trouble in some people.
Anyway, just some thoughts. As I said, I'm no doctor, but I'm not a bad visual physiologist.
As you all know, diagnoses are tricky. It would take the greatest luck to actually see a retinal vasospasm (though I have seen a paper that photographed one in a retinal artery). And aside from the constellation of signs and symptoms (which only ever fit a subset of people anyway), you're left with checking nailbed responses to cold and possibly slightly elevated levels of endothelin-1. Finally, since it's a microcirculation problem in an eye, it falls in the crack between ophthalmology and vascular specialists.
In my case, it was a good guess. In addition to the eye issues, I periodically and suddenly get extremely cold hands and feet. I also get sudden and reversible tinnitus, and fit the other traits listed. Stress, cold, exercise, altitude, and changes in position trigger my symptoms. A number of visits to various eye doctors, some considered to be very prominent, found no other problem.
So my advice would be to try magnesium and the other lifestyle remedies suggested and see if they help. At worst you've wasted a bit of time.
I saw that somebody earlier in this thread mentioned that they found bending over helped to get rid of newly formed spots, so I've begun to try this myself any time something appears that looks like it might be bad. So far it seems to work quite well. The spots disappear soon after I start to feel the blood pooling in my head, and after 30 seconds they won't return. It's possible that I could achieve the same effect just by relaxing and breathing deeply like I've done in the past, but this does seem quicker. If this is indeed a vascular disorder, bringing more blood into the head could theoretically provide our precious retinas with some much-needed oxygen. It's worth a shot!
Just an update from me. Spot in left eye has settled down a bit but is still being very annoying. Mainly due to its proximity to the centre of vision and the fact it is directly at 9 o'clock. Making it very evident on any horizontal lines. Hopefully it will keep fading. I've accepted it will be another blind spot.
Of note is that the temporary spots have really come back with a vengeance at the same time. They are almost a constant companion these last few weeks.
Really hope this spot will fade a lot more. This one has had by far the most impact on my life of the spots. I am worried to drive to tell the truth.
Finally I did a check with another ophthalmologist and nothing shows up, the retina seems fine (I did both an Optomap scan and a normal fundus exam). As the previous ophthamologist, he could see only my usual normal trasparent and moving floaters which I have since I was a young boy.
So it's been exactly a month that I have this bright spot when blinking in the lower-right side of my right eye and it's always the same, not worse and not better, and no other symptoms. Of course now my brain is quite used to it, so I didn't notice it often as in the first days and it don't bother me.
I ask the ophthamologist if it's a vitreal or retinal issue but he couldn't tell me for sure (since exams didn't show abnormalities). I don't think I'll make more exams, just I hope this thing will not get worse (or better improve)... of course it will be more reassuring to have a diagnosis, but well medicine in real life isn't like in House MD I think.
update from me, saw a neurologist the other day after being given pretty much an all clear from an ophthalmologist (the 3rd one to do so)
Basically the neurologist said that these persistent blinking spots are nothing to do with my brain and that it seems retinal. He said the symptoms don't suit persistent migraine aura too. Also poopoo'd any of the list of drugs I've seen on here. He said I could try topamax, although I'm reluctant due to the cognitive impairment that seems a common side effect.
He said he'll do an MRI but doesnt expect it to show anything. He thinks it could be something called AZOORS. This is something I mentioned to an eye consultant when this first started but he said I didn't show any signs of it. Apparently there's some fluorescence test which I've not had yet.
He also said that what I've been calling occular migraines (purple/green or white "flash" in one eye, blind spot for 1-5 mins, no headache, different from the main symptom I'm concerned about) are also nothing to do with my brain because they occur in one eye at a time. I think maybe my own terminology has been wrong for quite a while. I've had these things all my life although it would be maybe once a week as a kid compared to 10-20 times a day currently. I put the increase in frequency down to spending 8 hours a day on a computer.
essentially I'm back to the drawing board. It seems a common theme on this forum that people keep getting referred to the eye doctor to the brain doctor. I was pretty disappointed. I hadn't expected a solution but would've at least liked for my feeling that its migraine related to be taken on board.
One good thing that both of the consultants said is that they've seen it before and that they've never seen anyone with serious vision problems as a result of it. Neither of them have any idea of a solution though and have never followed up with the people with this symptom.
Further to my above post. I've just read the posts about Flammer syndrome, which seems quite an interesting theory. I might mention it to the next consultant I see. Migraine and tinnitus appear to be common symptoms of it.
Hi latticeyes, thats very interesting , i too think its something to do with the eye, but azoor i think is different symptoms to us as they have flashing lights permanently which flash all day long. Ive done my research as ive had this problem we all have for a long time. Do you also get the bright white spots which are temporary all day every day? I do !
Yeah I get flashing spots which are in different places and go away after a few minutes. sometimes they're white and sometimes green/purple. The neuro guy was pretty skeptical when I said they occurred in one eye at a time rather than "the left/right side of vision". I've had this sort of symptom all my life but was told by an optician when I was about 13 that it was a migraine variant. A consultant I saw in June said it was occular migraines after I'd described in full the symptoms. but the most recent consultant disagreed with that.
I get similar stuff happening when I go into a warm building after being wrapped up warm against the cold outside. its almost like a circle of numerous green spots around the central field of vision. I have no explanation why it would happen at that sort of time.
By the temporary spots are yours remeniscent of the afterimage of a camera flash? My temporary spots which i get all day long are bright white, after a few seconds some will turn darkish almost purple like am afterimage, then dissappear! Also i know exactly what you mean by the greenish ones in a circle around your central vision, i get this when i bend down and stand up releatedly or when im resting and suddenly increase my heart rate by standing up and walking! Also i get increased entopic phenomena like those worms flying around (not floaters)
sounds exactly the same Welshy. Yeah sort of like a camera flash. They're like tiny migraine aura spots I think which is why I called it "occular migraine" before. I found beta blockers really cut them down, which contradicts the fact that the neuro guy didn't think it was brain/migraine related.
Beta blockers didn't help the more permanent spots though.
I get the entoptic phenomena too. apparently they're white blood cells. Used to worry about them but not anymore now I know what they are.
For those with the permanent blind spots, do you see the spot all the time or only when you blink? Do you have to keep the unaffected eye closed while blinking to see the spot or can you see it just by blinking both eyes? Has anyone had testing done to see if there is any tissue death causing the blind spot like if blood supply had been cut off? (eye stroke?).
My stupid spot still hasn't gone away and it's been a month. It's now only noticeable when I keep my good eye closed and blink the other while looking at something like an amsler grid or white background. I think I check it so much I keep triggering flare ups. thanks!
Hmmm. Starting to think that my symptoms don't match people's symptoms on here. Actually, everyone's symptoms sound very MILD compared to what I have been going through for 8 years. Try living with flashing arcs up and and down and down and up for 8 years. You people complain way to much. I'm out...
I would give anything to have only a few "spots" a day. Try having flashng arcs up and down your eye for 8 straight years. I hope my eye strokes out or I go blind, so sick of it. I'll take your symptoms ANYDAY over my eye nightmare.
Sorry to break the bad news, but eye doctors are too stupid to figure out retinal problems. I have had flashing arcs from eye injury for 8 years. Destroyed my life, doctors offer NO TREATMENT and I have been to 4 retinal specialists in Colorado.
Have your flashes subsided? I've given up on docs and this board basically. My life is destroyed because of this. I really hope you don't have it forever like me, and 8 years is forever, especially since eye doctors aren't trained in anything useful.
Well of course you have something different than everyone else. You've been on here talking about an injury for the better part of a year. Your symptoms may be horrible, and life changing, but they're not a mystery.
Update from me - I have been bedridden with a horrible cold/flu this last week and have had another spot appear just below my spot which appeared in December. Weirdly this one is not so bright but black on light surfaces. Hopefully it fades soon as it is damn annoying.
I often seem to get new spots when I am ill, docs say it is just coincidence, but I wonder if it points to a vascular or autoimmune problem.
Anyone else get new spots when they are ill?
Welshey, really weird my spots start dark purple and then turn bright white. Wonder why my temporary spots are the reverse of yours.
Moving from outside to inside or from bright to dark really sets them off. They occur more frequently at dusk and dawn.
Well my spot is always the same, not better and not worse and no changes in its appearance, since when it first popped up on 18th december 2015 (more than a month, then). Hope it's a static floater as I think - in this case it makes sense that doesn't change in time, as my other moving floaters. However, doctors couldn't help me with a diagnosis. I'll try to ignore - it doesn't bother me much, however - it and watch for any changes.
Hey guys, I am really happy that I found this page. I've first had this weird tiny spot end of last year, and for over a month now it keeps coming back (usually I notice it after I wake up in the morning) and then disappearing again. I would also like to list the conditions/symptoms that I have:
- Have OCD, anxiety and panic disorders (not treated with any medication, just CBT)
- Have had visual snow for all my life (also circulating and blinking lights and spots, but those are moving, whereas the spots we are talking about are static)
- Have myopia (R -3,5 L -5) and the spots mostly appear in the weaker, left, eye
- Sometimes experience pulsating pain in eyes or head (but not migraine; these often occur before rapid change of weather)
- Sometimes after a long day working on the computer my eyes feel strained, and I experience sudden and very short dizziness when looking at the screen
- I have bad posture when sitting, so recently my back also started aching in one area
- Sometimes I experience neck pain in either one or the other side, then the pain slowly travels towards my eyes and then to my head, my mom who is a doctor said it could be some nerve that is being pushed yet again because of my bad posture.
What worries me most is that this phenomenon is not yet researched (just as the visual snow that I also have). As I said before, I have anxiety conditions, so I immediately start to think that it has to be something serious, perhaps a brain tumor or such. However, since some people here said that they've had this for many years, I hope that it is indeed not a very serious issue.
P.S. interestingly, the spot also first occured when I was obsessing about perhaps having a brain tumor and was paying much attention to my body and all the symptoms. So it could also perhaps be of psychosomatic origin.
Also what I forgot to mention: I too think I have some teeth clenching problems! I've never noticed clenching my teeth before, but about a month ago (just at about the time the spot first appeared) I experienced jaw pain in one side just next to the ear when I was chewing food and it went on for a few weeks. I thought it had something to do with my operation (at that time I just had my wisdom teeth removed), but I looked it up and indeed the most common cause for jaw pain was teeth clenching. So it could indeed be connected!
Had an MRI the other day. Basically my brain is fine, the only thing that was abnormal was swelling of the sinuses. I had a bit of a cold and have had sinus issues for a few years so that's not much of a surprise.
Back to the drawing board.
Quick question, does anyone else get "visual snow"? I do a little bit in dim rooms. I Don't know if these things might be related.
Laticeyes, I also have visual snow. Quite mild and have had it as long as I can remember. Interestingly my brother also has it, as he mentioned it to me while walking at night a while back. My neurologist hypothesised that the spots and visual snow could be related. However, they now seem to think it is a different phenomena due to the permanent nature of the spots. He does think visual snow could have a migraine link.
After a 6 month followup visit with Bascom Palmer, the doctor still believes that this is vascular. She wants me to see a neurologist to try some migraine medications, but most (if not all) of them lower your blood pressure, and mine is already very low at 90/58, which she thinks could even be contributing to these.
She was finally able to see a dark spot on my autofluorescence images of my retina that correlates with the biggest blind spot I've had since 2010 in my right eye. After seeing this she agreed there is permanent damage (after 5 years of having the blind spot I'd say so!) and isn't sure why it took so long to show up, but she said "well you're not crazy!" Gee, thanks.
I am going to wait on the meds because of the bp issue, but am going to continue to log my foods to try to identify any possible food triggers. Altitude is most definitely a trigger, as I was getting almost constant temporary ones while in the mountains of NC (5000 ft) and had some while ascending and descending both times on a recent flight.
I saw my ophthalmologist again, and same as before he told me that my eyes look fine. His theory is that I might have some vitreous detachment that is causing my spots, but he couldn't give a definitive answer. I think I have acquired some new floaters recently too, which would support this theory. Despite a great amount of research though, I still can't confidently say like I have a solid conclusion. Although vitreous detachment causes the short pinpoint flashes I sometimes experience, I haven't seen any articles describes the long-term spots I've been seeing either.
The frequency and severity of spots has greatly reduced over the past weeks, though, for which I am thankful. After seeing the doctor, my stress levels reduced some as well, which might be helping. Still not out of the woods, but it's a lot more manageable than before.
On the topic of visual snow, I do have some in low light conditions, but it's not bad. I've had it for as long as I can remember, and my mother says she has it too.
Regarding moving a mouse cursor into areas with spots, I don't believe the cursor will disappear. It might trigger the dark spot to flare up, but it's definitely not like a blind spot.
The Neuro guy I saw suggested that autofluorescence test for me. I'll have to arrange that with the eye hospital I went to. I think I'm up to my limit in insurance for tests like that though, so I'm reluctant to just get something that will show up as clear again and pay handsomely for the privilege.
Is that the first time you've had it done? or was it something that has only just been noticed after several tests?
About 8 months now since this was first noticeable. Other have developed in both eyes since then. Useful to know that you've had other tests and its only just shown up. Thanks.
Fortunately mine aren't permanent blind spots. My visual field test was normal. They appear for a second after blinking and go away. They do distort lines as well though. Or on a dark surface the oldest one appears like a white camera flash after image.
Hi sarah just seen your image of the grey spots. Mine are no way near as big as those, and they dont appear grey or 'blind'. I can only see my permanent ones by covering the eye, letting it adapt to darkness, and then uncovering it quickly which will quickly reveal my permanent camera flash spots. What do your temporary spots look like? I get these all day long and they are mostly bright white ish but sometimes purple like the camera flash effect
They do tend to kind of change color depending on what I'm looking at. if I look at the blue sky for example, they appear slightly pinkish maybe? The temporary ones (and permanent ones for the first few months) are identical to an after image of a camera flash or glancing at the sun. After a while, the permanent ones tend to fade a bit to more gray and less "bright" or saturated.
All day long... I couldn't imaging. Mine have been increasing in frequency, but now I'm up to about 2 a week.
My temporary ones are usually smaller than the ones that remain permanent (which is why I get nervous if I get one that seems larger than normal). They are exactly as you describe, actually; sometimes they are a bright white, but most of the time they look exactly like the after image of a camera flash where it has the colored tint. I've even had them bright white in the center and purple around the edge!
Last night while watching tv I had a HUGE one appear that wasn't as close to the center as the others, thank goodness, but I stood up and dropped my head into a forward bend as CB10101 has had success with, and it was gone within 5 minutes. Very thankful it worked. I always wondered if my small temporary spots were also blind spots, as they are usually too small to tell, and this big temporary one was definitely a blind spot. This whole thing has been a frustrating and terrifying experience.
Hi sarah i had a look at your 3 photoshopped images and mine are similar. Especially the short term ones that rainbow flash when blinking. But the permanent grey ones i dony really get like you do.
Do you have migraine aura? And also do you notice the blue field entopic phenomena much more than normal? I do ! Let me know.
Hi sarah, well that is strange, alot of people who have this strange eye symptom have migraine aura. I had one the other day infact! Blund spots , scintullating scotoma etc etc.
I do wonder whether this has something to do with vasculitis or neuro retinitis? After some research i think it may either be that or flammers syndrome as someone mentioned up there ^^
I was doing a lot of research on this eye stuff online a while back and was reading about this Flammer's syndrome. I have every symptom. (cold hands/feet, daily tinnitus for the past 3 years, very low BP of 90/58, etc) I tried taking magnesium for a few months as recommended, and it did not affect the frequency of the spots.
Calcium channel blockers are also recommended but they lower the blood pressure, so not sure how that would affect my already low BP.
The spots are so annoying. I almost keep seeing them every day now. However, now they're much smaller than before and I don't see them when blinking, but rather when looking up my glasses (the change between a light background and the dark line of the frame of my glasses makes them visible for a short time).
Today a weird thing also happened, I saw the small dot permanently! It didn't appear while blinking or looking up my glasses, but rather just hung there, right in the centre of my visual field. Looked like a small circle with a silvery outline, and reminded me of a floater that got stuck in one place. It freaked me out, but it disappeared again after half a minute.
The Flammer syndrome some people are mentioning seems plausible. I have many of the symptoms listed. But then the question, why did my visual symptoms start only now? Is it some disease that is slowly developing? Makes me really anxious...
I had my autofluorescence test this weekend. It was pretty uncomfortable but all totally normal. The eye consultant said he thinks it is a retinal migraine issue which is due to blood flow. He said I didn't show any signs of Azoor and had never heard of Flammer. He basically said he didn't see anything that suggested my sight was at risk. He said I could see the neurologist again but I'm not going to, I've used my insurance up on this and don't need to be batted back from one to the other now.
He also said that the green dots that I get when I come indoors after being wrapped up against the cold are likely a blood flow issue and nothing to worry about.
Its a little strange to be disappointed by good news. I think the most frustrating thing is a lack of diagnosis (to let people at work know etc).
I think the main things I've found helpful are rest, sleep and trying to relax (I've been doing Yoga videos on Youtube most evenings). The blobs definitely get worse after heavy days on the computer and not enough sleep.
Woah I am so glad that I found this page. I am 18-years old and I started to get these blind spots on november. Before that I had once had zig-zag thing in my eyes which lasted about 20-minutes. That zig zag thing happened october if I remember correctly. Before I start to tell more about my blind spots I am going to apolizige for my bad grammar. English isn't my native language after all. Anyway, my first blind spots were pretty small, and they lasted about 2 hours. Then in December I got one in my left eye which just didn't go away. It was like a camera flash like you all said and it was most easily seen when I looked over the edge of TV. It lasted 5 days and then disappeared. I visited to doctor and he checked my eyes. Both seemed normal so he said that it's probably just migraine. I rarely have headache and when I have it it's usually because my neck muscels are jammed. So in January I don't have these spots almost at all. In Febuary I was going home from school when I see this gray blob in my vision on my right eye. I of course get really scared because this was bigger that any of the another blobs that had appeared before. It was gray and when I looked at the sky it turned pink. I tried to close my eyes to get it disappear but as soon as I opened them it appeared back. Well I went home slightly in panic and the blob just stays there. It disappears in dark and when I close my eyes. Next day it is still there. It is there 4 days until it gets little bit dimmer and then disappears. After that I haven't got another ones expect really small ones that appear just for few seconds. These spots are blind spots I can't see trough them. I have no idea what causes them but here are few ideas that I got. 1. Anxiety. I have been really stressed for a year now. 2. Jammed muscels. My neck and back are really dense. 3. I also bite my teeth together without noticing. 4. I have also had visual snow for so long that I can remember. I can't find any information about this in my language but I am glad that I am not the only one who suffers this
Hello again. I also thought that this grey blob could be some kind of migraine thing. But I think it's weird how it sometimes appears for 2 seconds and then some other time it is there for 4 days. And like I said before, I rarely have headache. That grey blob appeared today again but only for a 2 minutes. I was just sitting on bench and then I saw it. "There it is again" I thought. I wanna say that my blood sugar was probably low cause I was really hungry. One last thing. I am healthy so I am very confused about what causes these spots.
This discussion thread may reach a 1000 responses so its obviously a symptom concern for a lot of people. It is not a symptom that I recall anyone ever making an appointment with me in my 40 years in clinical and research ophthalmology. Lots of spots but not the way most people describe them. that is why I do not contribute to this discussion I don't have anything to add.
Having said that i do not know of any eye disease caused by low ferritin. I do know that I also had low ferritin (with normal Hemoglobin and hematocrit) noted in a work up for restless leg syndrome which I have. When the ferritin was raised by taking iron my symptoms got much better. I'm sure you've been worked up for under/over active thyroid? Sorry i could not be more helpful. Best of luck with your symptoms.
It's interesting that melc75 has low ferritin -- For the past couple years, my ferritin has been within range, but low (around 20) despite taking iron supplements. My most recent blood work shows my iron saturation and iron levels are high (out of range) yet my ferritin is still low. Not even sure what kind of doctor to see about this, as all the doctors I've seen don't seem to think this is an issue. I'm exhausted all the time, hair loss, cold hands/feet, among many other symptoms. Thyroid blood work always comes back within normal range.
I would suggest an endocrinologist. If your thyroid is normal another possibility is what use to be called "chronic fatigue syndrome" Its now called “systemic exertion intolerance disease,” See this link http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-gets-a-new-name/?_r=0
Thanks so much for your reply. I do have a slightly underactive thryoid which I take levothyroxine for but my numbers are now in the normal range. Low ferritin is the only thing that has ever been abnormal on a blood test.
Yeah, the ferritin is chronically low, and yet the "iron saturation" and "iron" levels both came back as being high, which I know isn't good for your organs. I've been taking the iron supplement, but wouldn't that have also raised my iron stores? I stopped the supplement for now.