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Kaleidoscope vision in one eye
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Kaleidoscope vision in one eye

4 or 5 weeks ago on a Sunday morning, I got up around 7am and started doig chores and engaged in an entire pot of coffee all the while.  Around 1 in the afternoon I began to feel very dizzy and lightheaded. Suddenly I began to have what I can only describe as Kaleidoscope colors in an arched fashion above my right eye.  The pattern started out as like a singular rainbow of mosaic-type color that continually moved.  Soon it was double and then triple rainbow arches inhibiting my vision. Scared the **** out of me and felt I needed to eat something.  In between closing my right eye I managed to scramble a couple of eggs, very shakily.  I honestly thought I was having a stroke.  I managed to eat and eventually (about 30 minutes later) the colors subsided.  I had no headache and no history of Migraine so it didn't even dawn on me that's what it could be.  I went to my PCP the next morning and my Nurse Practitioner said she thought it was a Migraine without the headache.  Well, tonight it happened again only I had no warning, no dizziness or loss of balance.  I was watching Wheel of Fortune and folding clothes.  I was flipping jeans over my head and forward to get the wrinkles out before I folded them.  All I could think when it was happening that the aura resembled the Wheel in color and shape only not a full circle.  This time I lost my balance after the colors subsided, got scared and took a Xanax to head off the inevitable panic attack.  After I "recovered" I Googled "kaleidoscope vision" and it seems there may be a connection to Multiple Sclerosis.  Since this is only the 2nd episode in 6 weeks, do I get freaked out and start asking for spinal taps and MRI's of the brain for the MS diagnosis, or should I roll with it and enjoy the colors for a while?  Without any warning I am terrified it may happen when I'm driving and won't be able to pull over.  Has anyone else experienced anything similar? I don't get the blind spots in the vision line, just the arches of color until they multiply into the sight of vision. I also have a history of two failed back surgeries, have constant back and left hip/leg pain, which they attribute to nerve damage and severe arthritis in the spine.  The hip pain has become so bad that I have a very hard time weight-baring and most mornings need to manually lift my left leg to get it into the car.  Have trouble standing and/or sitting for extended periods of time, but do okay walking other than a slight drag/heaviness in left leg. Plus, I notice I am spelling words wrong and feel rather dyslexic, but that could be the Xanax.  Help!
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Avatar_n_tn
I am soooooo glad that I am not alone!!(although it ***** to get these)
I have EXACTLY what you described in my right eye.

It does not take up all my vision, rather the top and outter aras of my vision.
And as you, I had I think about 3 cups of coffee, and got busy running around town, picking things up.
Mine struck me while I was out today.  I actually called my boyfriend crying because it was getting so bad.  I did not want to drive home like this.
I waited about 5 min, then decided that I better go before it gets worst.
I had a craving for food though, so I made lunch as soon as I got home.
At this time, it's pretty much all the way gone.  It has been about 40min.  
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152264_tn?1280358257
Those are ocular migraines (also called optical, visual, or painless migraines). I had no idea I was a migraineur until I got my first ocular migraine at age 42. Sometimes they are triggered by hormone changes (puberty, perimenopause) and also by specific triggers for certain people, e.g., stress, too much caffeine, too much or too little sleep (many people get them when they sleep in on weekends), weather changes, altitude, certain foods such as cheese, chocolate or wine (the food list is very long), etc.

I also panicked when I had my first one, thinking it was a stroke. The doctor reassured me it was just a migraine event. I was surprised! My whole family (mother, sister, some of my brothers, my aunt, and both my kids) all have migraine, but I'd thought I escaped--until that day I got the ocular migraine.

Migraines can also cause attacks of dizziness, hearing or vision disturbance, sensitivity to light or sound, numbness or tingling in the face or in an arm or leg, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, trouble speaking or understanding speech, and other symptoms. You absolutely DO NOT have to have a headache in order for it to be a migraine.

If you get it while driving, I would just pull over and wait for it to pass. To avoid migraines, identify your personal triggers and avoid them. I would say that drinking a whole pot of coffee (i.e., too much caffeine) might be one of yours! It's also really helpful to go to bed and get up at the same time every day--in other words, maintain a VERY regular pattern of sleeping--and also a regular pattern of eating and other activities, to the extent you can.

Keep a food journal and see if there are particular foods that trigger your migraines.

People's visual auras can vary quite a bit. "Kaleidoscope vision" is a common description; also "flashing lights," "diamonds in a heat wave," etc. Typically they do expand and move outward/upward and then pass after 20-40 minutes, though they can last a shorter or longer time. I had three auras over several months; the third and last one was in color (the other two were just the classic C-shaped "diamond in a heat wave").

Here is an interesting video from the Mayo Clinic on migraine auras and attacks:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-aura/MM00659

Lots of people have speculated on a link between MS and migraines, but I don't think there really is one, except that migraine symptoms might be mistaken for MS symptoms and vice versa (because they both involve the central nervous system). Also, hormone changes might play a role in both conditions.

Nancy
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147426_tn?1317269232
You have gotten some good information here.  I agree that this sounds most like an ocular migraine.  As for MS, No, this is NOT how a symptom of MS show up.  There is a requirement that a new symptom be present either constantly or recurringly in the smae place for at least 24 hours (some experts are now saying 48 hours) for it to be consistent with a symptoms of MS.

HOWEVER, anyone with a new onset of headache needs an evaluation - and you are no different.  You should request a visit with a physician, because the NP didn't realize this needed, at least, a CT scan, if not an MRI.  This is just being prudent.

Quix, MD
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Avatar_m_tn
I have recently suffered from very similar circumstances.  Am I also suffering from just an ocular migraine, or is it something more significant?  I have experienced a rollercoaster of dimensional, spinning triangles, in just my right eye.  A line of them in my upper eye, and a thinner layer of them in my lower eye, and then spreading thinly throughout that eye.  While at the same time, my other eye is perfectly fine.  What does this mean?  Fortunately this time I was home, but where will I be when it strikes me next time?  Any suggestions or help out there?
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Avatar_n_tn
I see the same thing!! It scares me so bad!!! Has anyone found a cure or treatment? I have MS so I found it interesting to see that it's related...my neuro insists it's not related...why don't they listen?
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Avatar_f_tn
So we all seem to get it in the right eye, but its just my mind thinking its there, cause if I shut my right eye I can see it in left where right eye should be, infact I can shut both and its still there.

Nick Sydney Au
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Avatar_n_tn
This has all been very helpful and a big relief but it also stresses me out a little. I don't want migraines of any kind! But I am thankful it is nothing worse.

The video was very informative. I typically get the crescent kaleidoscope shape starting as a small spinning circe and it is different where it shows every time. Never (maybe just barely touching) in the center of my vision. But say if it were in my left eye mostly and I covered that one eye then looked over toward my right it would still show in my right eye. Mine also last 10-15 minutes typically. And I become severely anxious when they occur. I also don't get them for months at a time usually. This has been happening for a couple years now and I am 19.

Solutions? Just water really. I guess coffee has a big roll in it all. Since I just started working at Starbucks a few weeks ago and they have occurred now merely days apart! I am going to try to find a more natural way to avoid these. Any suggestions?

Kylie
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1718068_tn?1309025300
I get them to  I thought I was the only one! For me it's not in one eye but both. Open and close each eye to test if it's one or both. The Kaleidoscope vision even pulsates like the shadowing of a cieling fan.It moves slowly sometimes right in my front vision. It take 30-40 minuets to go away. I hardly never get headaches like most everybody has reported when they get theirs. I know it's strange but thats the best way to explain it for my condition.
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Avatar_n_tn
I got one for the first time last night.  At first I didn't know what was happening - I knew my vision was blurry because I was trying to read a text on my phone but couldn't.  I thought I just needed to rub my eyes for a couple of seconds but obviously that didn't work.

Mine was in my left eye and was also crescent shaped.  It was kind of like a pulsating light.  

It freaked me out till I found this page.  I'm still a little freaked but at least I know I don't need to run to the ER.

Mine last about 20 minutes then finally stopped.  This is the first time I've ever had that happen and I'm 41.  There is no history of migraines in my family and my health has always been pretty good.

What really ***** is that I'm about to lose my health insurance.
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1744010_tn?1311262100
I experienced three episodes of Kaliedescope eye. Mine occurs in the right eye. I also noted today, I had pain in my right side of the neck previous. I have had two episode in 7 days.
My eyes feel weak--watery. I am experiencing a bit of tingliness of body and thirst. It is odd because it appears as if the whole right side of my eyesight is moving like a colorfull zigzag, as if I am looking at an optical illusion.
My occupation is Spiritual--and I wander "Spiritually" if this is a manifestation of a TEAR in the Fabric of Reality. It would be interesting to do a study on those who experience this phenomena.  
If you would like to address this relationship: email anahgraceatyahoo.com
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Avatar_f_tn
i too have just experienced my first one the other day when i was out shopping with my mom and kids.  It scared the heck out of me and kinda started to have a panic attack.  It only lasted maybe 10 minutes or so.  It was just as i expained to my mom like a kaliedescope.  It is a relief to know iam not the only one and i have suffered from migrains in the past.
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Avatar_m_tn
Are you a doctor? I saw the MD.. If so can I pick your brain and share what I have been dealing with?
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank goodness for the internet. Sitting here thinking I'm having a stroke, googled up "kaleidoscope pattern in eyes" and presto - this thread! Was thinking about 911. BTW I'm 45, had only breakfast @ 9am it is now 6pm and just ate a huge burrito but calories are probably not in my system yet. Had two strong cups of coffee 30 minutes ago. Usually don't sleep much, but got plenty of sleep last night. Oh my ... it's getting bigger. Wild. Moving around, lots of colors. It seems to be only in the upper left quadrant of my vision, but it both eyes.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am so relieved to see this posting.. I am 34 years old and experienced this same sort of visual disturbance for the first time A couple weeks ago then again yesterday morning. The first time I was on the computer for a couple hours working on a paper so I chalked the episode to exactly that.. look at the screen for too long, It then subsided about 15-20 minutes later. It felt as if there were strange colors swirling in the upper parts of my vision, at first I thought it was just in my left eye but then when i would close that eye i noticed it was also in the right. I could still see, but reading or focusing was tough. Then again yesterday morning I woke up with this.. I was so freaked out and again it lasted about 10-15 minutes then subsided. I went to my family doctor who didnt seem too concerned but did draw blood work and said if it happens again i can go to a eye specialist, well i wasnt waiting i went to my eye doctor who is also a MD, and she said it sounded like a ocular migrain, she added a lymes test to his blood work and said if they begin to get progressivly worse she would do a MRI, but anything serious wouldnt be her first, second or third guess.. meaning she didnt thin it was anythi ng serious. but i have to say i am still really scared. Now I did not get a headache with either of these but today i do have a bad headache that advil is not touching.. so i dont know if that means anything. I am very afraid these will progress and become more frequent.. i also have read a corrilation between visual disturbances and MS as well as brain tumors, cancer etc... if anyone has anything new on these please let me know. It seems most people get this in one eye and mine is definitly in both eyes. .. thanks for listening... scared
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Avatar_m_tn
I had the exact same thing everyone has described. I've had it twice and immediately ate food and it went away within 30 minutes. I notice that I have it with changing weather patterns and no food.
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5696736_tn?1372595876
I get them also. My attacks usually come every few months for me and give me no warning. I see what looks to me like kaleidoscope shapes spinning round and round and increases as the attack progresses normally lasting anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes (I timed one). It starts in my peripheral vision and works its way toward the middle greatly affecting my vision like when i'm in the middle of reading a book I can only see half the words. When it finally passes, not always, but typically it leaves a mild to moderate headache that sometimes even medicine can't touch. The headache eventually subsides and I feel woozy and disoriented afterward. The first time I experienced one was right before seeing my optometrist and he explained that it had something to do with the nerve endings in my eyes taking on too much strain and there was nothing that could be done about it short of tolerating them when they happen. I just had one happen tonight, starting in the right eye and making its way toward the middle of both eyes. Headache came afterward just like clockwork. Took some Aleve to help ease the pain but again 20 minutes post attack and I still have a dull headache. I read that its rare and only 1 out of 200 people get this but why did I have to be that unlucky person?
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Avatar_f_tn
wow! well, at least I now know what they are called! I had had them for years. the fact that I haven't had coffee, chocolate, any of those nice things
doesn't seem to keep them away. hmm, it would be nice to drink some wine again, but alas, no. ah well. at least I can look at the pretty rainbow colors and call them a name . . .
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Avatar_f_tn
I get these at least 4 times a month. I got my first one in 2006 immediatly after delivering my first child. I scared me to death. I was pressing my call button over and over again till my doc came in and i was yelling i cant see! Something is very wrong! Lol. Since then they are pretty normal for me. They are always on my left side and are crescent shaped as well. They look like a strobing light or colorful bight specks swirling. Almost like when you get a drop of water on your cell phone or computer screen and it looks all colorful and pixely. They usually start small and grow until I have no perefrial vision on the left side. And once they are gone I feel light headed and off for a few minutes and everything looks washed out, like when you are outside for a while in the sun and everything looks funny when you come inside until your eyes adjust to the light. My doctor told me that they are ocular migraines (I also suffer from regular migraines. But the painful ones are always on the right) my eye doctor, however, told me that I had borderline high pressure in my eyes... the left being the worse. And that those episodes could be the pressure rising temporarily in my eye. Either way I find that taking motrin when it starts either completely stops it or shortens it. Which makes sense because a migraine is usually caused by a constricted blood vessel and motrin is an anti-inflammatory.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I would love to talk to you more about this.
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Avatar_f_tn
Glad to know others have something similiar. I too found this by Googling "kaleidoscope vision". 58, female, first episode 15+ years ago. Had one yesterday: suddenly my vision in both eyes is like a "kaleidoscope", no outside shapes but what I see is broken up into segmented pieces as if you broke a mirror into random jagged shapes. Overwhelming dizziness/vertigo, can't open my eyes at all once this happens, and of course nausea. Take a variety of meds now, for other health issues, but wasn't taking anything the first time this happened 15 years ago.
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Avatar_m_tn
I just had an episode of the kaliedescope vision today.  Just put my head down to watch the dog as we were walking and when I lifted my head my left eye was in kaliedescope vision.  I got dizzy, so I sat down and closed my eyes til it passed... About 3 or 4 minutes.  I was diagnosed with pseudo  exfoliation in my left eye about 8 years ago.  The pressure in my eye was in the 30's way to high!  Used eye drops for the pressure ... Had a cateract removed and then laser surgery for the pressure about 6 months ago. Thought I was fine. I didn't have to use the drops and my pressure went down to normal.  Now this happened today and I went to the dr. And my pressure is at 27 but he checked my eyes and put a dye in and took pictures and said everything looked normal and I have to go back in a month
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Avatar_m_tn
Im' Steve, I'm 50 years old, Its 1pm and I just had my first ever spell of this perfectly described, right eye, upper right peripheral moving rainbows like a kalidoscope. It started out mild and increased by 4X and then faded rather quickly within 20 minutes to nothing.
Very interesting that "Nancy T's" list of possible reasons match many of what I have going on!
1. Just started Testosterone therapy 2 weeks ago. 1cc a week of injectable cypionate, and 20mg of tamoxifen daily, No other drugs.
2. Have not been sleeping well. 4-5 hours broken sleep.
3. Under a lot of stress. Work and personal.
4. 2 cups of strong coffee every morning. I eat home cooked, healthy diet.
5. I drink 2-3 stiff vodka cocktails every evening starting around 4pm.
If this happens again ill post it here.. Hope my experience with this strange occurrence helped the rest of you feel a bit more relieved. Personally I'm leaning towards the hormone therapy and what Mary T posted.
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Avatar_m_tn
I was having this problem from coffee and stress always from about 10 am to noon. First thing I do is drink water, eat a banana, go into a dark room and cover my eyes and in 1  to 2 minutes the vision turns into a river of blue vapor and melts away. Then I like to lay their for 5 to 10 minutes to let my eyes rest.
Try to catch the problem as soon as possible for best results.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had these for years and they used to really scare me. Due to the flight or flight response you can have a myriad of symptoms. Vision is always disrupted and gets progressively worse. Often this will occur with physical activity or excess light and may be caused by gastric upset. This is my regimen for what to do and I hope it helps you.
******** Catch the episode quickly and address it.

1. Stay calm (it has not harmed me before this time is no different.
2. Take a teaspoon of sugar place it under your tongue and let it dissolve.
3. Get cool if you are hot.
4. Sit down, close your eyes and relax
It always goes away and no harm is done.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am so glad I found this page!!
I am 56 female - and just had my first episode about 30 minutes or so ago.  
No coffee, peppermint tea has been my drink today
Just ate 2 eggs, bacon, 1/2 muffin about 1.5 hours prior
No drugs - just taking some supplements
I have a URI - and had just put peppermint oil on my chest and was on the laptop - and colors just started swirling and swirling on the left side only.  It was like my eyes picked up the colors on the screen and turned them into a kaleidoscope.  I was having trouble reading, so I put my glasses on and laid on the chaise lounge (wondering if I was having a stroke) -- I DO get headaches, but have only ever seen auras - usually 1 color and not swirling a few times, over the last 15 years but could count them on one hand.
So, with glasses on, I'm still seeing colors while watching tv, so I closed my eyes - and damned if they weren't there as well with my eyes closed.  So I just watched the pretty colors, changing moving, etc - but it was so far on the left side of my peripheral vision, that you could only see what you could see, lol, not like LOOKing that way helped - in fact they kind of disappeared when doing that.  
Lasted about 20 minutes, and poof - gone.  
Thank you for this page!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had this happen too.  January, had two episodes within days of each other.  Both eyes, beautiful colors.  Dizzy and feeling very strange.  Each episode passing between 30 minutes to an hour and a half. I did get a headache with the 1st episode after about 8 hours, it woke me up.   Shortly there after, I started having white flashes of light, loss of vision, strange eye pressure feeling.  I have been to two eye drs who found nothing wrong with my eyes.  I have had 2 new pairs of eye glasses.  I will be seeing a specialist now after having some weakness on my left side. I have an MRI scheduled for Thursday.  My vision is almost 100% affected now.  There are days that are not too bad, but others that are really bad.  After 3 months of these symptoms, I am hoping for answers this week.  It is all a little overwhelming.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm 60 it just happened to me about an hour ago, like I'd been blinded by a bright light then couldn't see properly when I closed my eyes my left eye had what I can only describe as a bout a three quarter circle of small bright triangles stopping towards my nose but flashing bright then light and then bright everything I looked at was split and not aligned frightened the life out of me faded after about 15 mins and seems fine now
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1831849_tn?1383231992
Hi ES - Welcome to our group.

What you describe doesn't sound particularly like MS. It sounds more vision/headache/migraine like to me. There are other communities here at MedHelp dedicated to each of these. You may get more information there.

Kyle

http://www.medhelp.org/tags/show/7550/vision

http://www.medhelp.org/tags/show/222/Headache

http://www.medhelp.org/tags/show/3/Migraines
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Avatar_n_tn
I have these too - my neuro is a migraine guy although I see him for MS. Never occurred to me that these were migraines bc my little sister has had migraines from childhood and she never mentioned the kaleidoscope (great word for it, btw!).  They are ocular migraines, aka migraine with aura. You might have a primordial sx before it starts that you don't really notice - lightheadedness, dizziness, incoordination, panicky feeling. I use to get nauseous and a bad headache about 20 minutes after the aura would first appear. Now I just get the aura.

My treatment for them:
* belly breathing (in through your nose, out thru your mouth, slowly - helps for spasm pain, too and as a general antidote to fear and flight response and anxiety)
* 1 excedrin migraine (has caffeine in it but I'm so tired I can take 15 mg of Adderall (adderrall) or drink two Red Bulls and fall asleep within 10 minutes)
* relax and enjoy the pretty light show until it stops (usually 20 minutes)

I also went completely blind in both eyes once for about 15 minutes (in the Portland airport waiting for a flight home in the middle of a business trip). That's also a migraine. Just fyi.
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Avatar_f_tn
Nice term kaleidoscope. I never thought of that and couldn't find anything online. Thank you for the site. I called them repeat twirling rainbow crosses that also move in a continuous motion downwards in a crescent  on the inside of my right eye and partially on the left. Mine are caused by pressure. All symptoms disappear with cortisone drops almost immediately. I generally feel weird with a slight headache. Mine have been life-long. This is a sinus issue with undeveloped sinus cavities and no connection the ear canals. I don't think of it as a migraine because of the immediate relief from cortisone which takes the pressure down. I have also found that icing my orbits cause tearing which reduces pressure. I find it disturbing and i can't really see.
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Avatar_m_tn
Had my first occurrence of this last night and again this afternoon, second one brighter and more kaleidoscopic but I ate immediately after it appeared and it went away faster.
Nothing new in my food intake or particularly tired in fact I seemed to have more energy.
I do have a headache (kaleidoscope on right eye, headache on left side of head)

Will monitor for any recurrence but this page has helped calm any fears thank you all
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