Neurology Expert Forum
Seeing Stars
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Seeing Stars


  I get a feeling of seeing stars quite frequently.  Almost always if I bend down fast or get up fast....I realize that is pretty normal....but it also hits me out of the blue for no reason.  Sometimes it can last for 30 or more minutes.  It starts with a feeling of darkness descending on me, but I never black out all the way.  Before the darkness comes all the way I start to see bright flashes of light.  Even after the darkness is gone, the lights can keep flashing.  Although I never mention it to anybody, because I feel foolish, when it hits me people often ask me if I'm ok....although I don't realize I look any different.  I do not have a headache with this.  I am still able to see and function, but I do experience a decided sensation of being unwell when it occurs.  If nothing else, it is annoying.
  At the risk of sounding llike a worrywart....is there any reason to worry about this.  If it is normal, does everybody get this?  Is there any way to make it stop faster when it occurs?  I do have hypothyroidism which is successfully controlled with synthroid and blood levels eveyry six months have been normal on current dosage of .2 mg.  Also I have a high positive ANA, and dx of UCTD and possibly Sjogrens....but nothing is confirmed.  I do experience dry eyes, arthralgia, and fatigue with this....ANA was greater than 1:640 (as high as that lab titered) and in a centromere pattern, but have no signs of CREST.  In addition, I hurt my back at work and have two bulging disks but not herniated....they seem to cause mild pain.  However, the "starry" sensation happened before the back injury.
  Thank you for your help....I would be too embarrassed to ask my regular doctor unless I know this is not normal....thanks again!
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Dear Juliana:
Transiently losing sight while changing posture is a real and important symptoms, and nothing to be embarrassed about! In the right setting it may mean that the pressure of the watery fluid around your brain (the CSF) is rather high, a condition called "pseudotumor cerebri". This can occur in the setting of connective tissue disease. When it does occur in the setting of high intracranial pressure, it is a very important symptom because it is a warning of imminent permanent visual loss. Pseudotumor cerebri, however, is commonly associated with headache, and I do not think that flashes of light are common. An alternative possibility is that you have a low blood pressure that falls further with position changes, leading to a near-fainting state. Your description fits this problem better.
Anyways, you need to see your primay MD, and also either an ophthalmologist, or a neurologist or preferably a neuroophthalmologist to sort this potentially serious problem out.
Good luck!




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