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visual disturbances
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visual disturbances

For 3 months I have been suffering from strange visual disturbances. I am 26 yrs old and otherwise ok. My eye problems started with an increased amount of floaters and I was told I had PVD. From then on, I started experiencing strong afterimages, after everything I barely looked at (positive and negative). Then I started seeing light phenomena and visual snow/static, worse at night and in the morning. I also see light rays projected from cars, lamps etc. when I blink. When I try to sleep and close my eyes, I start seeing starnge, not formed hallucinations (like looking at a lava lamp) and often when I wake up I see a big black circle which disappears with a few blinks of the eye. Light seems to be a big factor, the afterimages are strongest in the morning when I wake up and visual static is strongest in the dark. I also notice that my visual fields are pulsing with my heart beat. I have had MRI and eye exams by ophtalmologist and neuro-oftalmologists including ERG and VEP and nothing has been found. I have no head-aches and have never used any illegal/recreational drugs. What could be the cause of my problems? Am I going blind? I suffer from nearsightedness, my glasses are about -4. This is awful, I cannot drive or watch tv anymore. My doctors tell me to see a shrink, but I am not anxious, stressed or depressed, any more than anybody would be given the circumstances.
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Avatar_n_tn
Presumably you have had a full retinal exam (a common area of concern for the symptoms you describe), visual field testing and fundoscopy. An MRI was important to ruleout a structural lesion.
Migraine can cause such symptoms even without headache, but usually in older people and are more episodic. If you have not had an EEG, one should be obtained during symptoms to exclude occipital lobe seizures. You tehn need to follow closely with your neuro-ophthalmologist so they can monitor changes over time.

Good luck
24 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
I have most of these eye disturbances too.  I have so many floaters it's like looking through a screen.  They haven't found anything wrong with me either.  Opthamology exam normal, brain MRI normal etc....

Have you looked into lyme?
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Avatar_n_tn
No I have not. I guess that would be a possibility.Have you looked into it? How long have u had your problems and are they progressing?
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Avatar_f_tn
Mine began in the early 90's after a strange rash(bullseye) and neurological, unexplained illness.  Nothing showed up on spinal tap or MRI.  It's  a long story.  The floaters never went away and have recently gotten much worse, along with worse neuro symptoms.  I have other symptoms too like numbness, tingling twitching.. I  have been unable to get an answer yet.  I have recently had 2 brain MRI's (normal) opthamology exam (normal).  I had thoracic and lumbar MRI's this week but don't know results yet.

Lyme is something to look into when someone has weird, unexplained symptoms and no one can find an answer.  It can cause central nervous system problems like issues with the eyes.

It's hard to test for because the results can be negative even if you have it.

I'm no doctor and not saying you have it but it's something to look into.

I am looking into it myself as I had the rash a long time ago.

Do a google search on it.

Good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Patsy. I have been communicating with people with similar symptoms on www.visualsnow.com and actually a few have come up with positive lyme tests. So it is definitely worth looking into. I hate it when doctors immediately dismiss you for having a psychiatric illness if nothing comes up right away. It seems that u have to be your own doctor these days. What kind of other neurological psymptoms have u had? I also have some very minor twitching and tingling, which could be nothing, and a hair loss, to which everyone says " oh, you're just seeing it even though youre not losing more than usual". Have u had lyme tests done?
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Avatar_f_tn
I've had lyme testing(negative).  The testing is very unreliable though.

I have lots of other symptoms.  Numbness, tingling, abnormal reflexes, muscle twitching, rashes, cold, blue feet, sking burning, pain all over.  The list is endless.  I'm going to check out the site you suggested.

Patti

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Avatar_n_tn
Hello everyone!

I have exactly the same problems that u had. I went to all doctors, they found nothing. I think I have visual problems but the ofthalmologist found nothing wrong, the neurologist either. I have numbness , something like pins and needles but not very strong in my feet (left mostly) and hand . It's almost 2 months now and I think that I will go mad, they said it 's probably psychiatric problem, but I never had problem as such. What is a lyme test? Could you please help me?

Thank you a lot....
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Avatar_n_tn
Has your doc. thoroughly evaluated you for retinal problems?  You also mentioned that this began three months ago; did you by chance experience any sort of an injury, regardless of how benign it might have seemed?  Even something so seemingly harmless as diving into a pool, a traffic "bump up,"  being bounced too vigorously on a trampline by active kids.  (Those are just examples of situations that can seem pretty benign but which can cause problems.)  The problem might not be related to the retina, but I'd be sure that a specialist thoroughly evaluates you for the possibility.  I was struck by the fact that you specifically said "three months ago."  You were able to specify approximately when this began.  You might think back to events that occured during the two or three weeks prior to the changes in your vision.  Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
thanks for your suggestions. Prior to the onset I had neck problems for which I was taking muscle relaxant and had acupuncture, where the doctor sometimes rubbed around my eyes quite strongly. I have not mentioned this to my doctors as I thought it was unsignificant.
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Avatar_n_tn
Please mention it to your doctor, and keep us posted.  It might not be related to the eye-rubbing, but you never know; this is your vision, and nothing is insignificant when it comes to your health and your vision.  I know of two situations that resulted in retinal tears (not detachment, but tears) and they seemed so insignificant; one, a friend of mine dove into a pool while playing with his kids, and another occured during a fall on a soft mat during a karate lesson.  Neither event was new for these people, but for some reason, they developed retinal tears, which were fortunately diagnosed and treated by a specialist.  Your symptoms really are consistent with what happens as a result of retinal problems, but I don't know; If I were you, I'd sure insist that your physician checks you thoroughly.  (Not an Optometrist, who is great for some problems, but you definitely need to be evaluated by an MD Ophtamologist.)  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Just wondering how you are.  If you get a chance, give us an update.  I was just thinking about you and wondered if you ever got an answer.  Adelaide
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Sylvia,

  I have similiar problems.  My first symptom was increased floaters in my vision.  My eye doctor told me floaters are normal and not to worry about it.  

  My next symptoms were light sensitivity and afterimages.  I also see streaks following these afterimages.  Afterimages get worse at night or in the bright daylight.

  I also have snowy vision as well.  It's kind of snowy and it also flickers a little bit.

I also get a lot of ocular migraines.

I'm also nearsighted -6.5.

I wonder if these symptoms could be related to prolonged computer use which coud be straining the eye.  I work in front of a computer screen for at least 8 hours a day.

Syvia,  

How often do you use your computer?

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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I do not think it is computer related. I do not use it that much, maybe an hour a day.(mainly to look uo info on this condition). Do u have any other problems, such as tingling, muscle weakness etc. Have u had tests done? There are a bunch of us at www.visualsnow.com (it is a support group, nothing to do with me) How old are you?
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Avatar_n_tn


   I posted a response to someone else in another forum about pretty much the same thing. I am 37 and have had unexplained visual disturbances for 14 years now. The "floaters" for me at least are not realy floaters as they dont move out of my field of vision when trying to look at them, they are some kind of cell or organism that I can see swimming across my field of vision. THe official guess........I am seeing blood cells moving through. I started out with hundreds of these annoying black dots and now have millions, may be a bit too strong....okay thousands. They are worse when looking at any solid background like a clear blue sky and much worse and more prominent when I sneeze or increase my pressure suddenly. I too have the burned images when looking at things, just like looking at the sun when you were a kid. I also have nightime problems with vision and when I close my eyes, not really a lava lamp although that is good. More like a kalidescope or rings going from bigger to smaller. Now I have jumpy eyesight, meaning I feel like my eyes are bouncing around but they are not. One doc told me that there is a part of the brian that is responsible for perception of movement and that could be it, however it is incurable so I thought what is the point in pursuing a diagnosis for just that one thing when I have so many other things wrong too. You are not crazy and beleive me....hear me now and believe me later.....you do learn to live with it. I too avoided things that made the symptoms more apparent, I was threating to become a recluse to be honest. I had panic attacks, depression all from these eyesight problems I was having. Eventualy I just stopped letting it rule me and I went on. I still have them, in fact they have gotten worse as I have gotten older and I can see a time when I will pursue medical help again in the future. This is not what you want to hear I am sure but it is what it is. I have had every test you can come up with garunteed. Back when I went to a nero opthomologist there were two in my state. NOw there are many more and hopefully someone out there will find something someday for me. I wish you the best and hope for a good outcome for you. Your not alone. YOu are now the second person I have found like this after all these years. Then again I was never computer literate before either. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow I'm glad I found this site.  I've been having visual disturbances for about 2 months now and it's honestly driving me crazy.  I missed two weeks of work in a row, then went back trying to fight through it and today it became too much.  I didn't go into work today.  I get migranes (migraines) w/ aura. The best way to describe my problems is like this:  Before the headache (which I only get once every two years thank God, but which is very severe I have to go to the er I throw up, my arms and legs go numb, etc) I get a visual aura. The aura starts slowly.  It's like I'll see things but won't be concentrating on them it's very annoying and scary.  Then the aura intensifies, I'll get zig zag lines, flashing lights, and blind spots in my center visual field.  These normally go away when the headache comes but last time they stayed the whole time for like 12 hrs.  My problem now is that It's like I'm stuck in the beginning stage of an aura 24/7.  Where I'll see things but it's like my eyes are asleep or something.  Like I'm in some sort of a trance, and I think it's slightly tunnel vision as well.  Also, this snow you guys speak of I get when I look at the sky thousands of bubbles and it's way worse at night.  My night vision is worse now with these snow things or whatever all over and they like pulsate and move.  Also, when I shut my eyes I see the "lava lamp" effect also, what could it be?  So I have these problems with my eyes open and closed.  I saw an opthamologist everything was normal, got a cat scan of the brain and eeg normal, ekg was normal.  Waiting on the results of a cervical mri right now, and am waiting for the insurance to approve me for an mri and mra of the brain.  I've had the mri and mra of the brain done like five years ago (I was going through this then, then it seemed to go away or I just ignored it) and they were normal as well.  I too am scared that I'm going blind, or crazy but I know this is not in my head.  I have an anxiety problem and notice that when I'm anxious the symptoms are WORSE (like more tunnel vision).  I've never checked into lyme and have no reason to believe I've been bitten, never had the bullseye rash.  The neurologists (and I go to the best the Michigan head and neck pain institute founded by Dr. Joel Sapre (you migraneers may know his name)) say that my problem is likely migrane (migraine) equivalance or migrane (migraine) variance.  But they also say that it's probalby not an aura because it's not going away, however my symptoms to me are like the first stage of an aura they are exactly the same.  How do you guys deal with this?  Also , they gave me verapamil I took it for about two weeks it did nothing so I stopped because it made my heart beat fast and crazy.  And I'm also taking paxil 20mg a day, I tried to get off went down from 30mg a day, but I noticed my symptoms got worse!  Is there any help out there?  let me know what you guys think.  Also I hate watching tv now because it bothers me, and that was my favorite thing to do, and also exercise makes my vision worse.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hiya. Thanks for sharing your story. It is hard for me to say what I think re your problem but maybe if you came into the ezboard at www.visualsnow.com (forum) you could share your story and at least get some support or info from other members. There are a bunch of us there. These visuals are so horrible and I am not even getting any treatment. Never been a migraine sufferer myself so I doubt it is that. Could be a vasoconstrictive event as I suffer from high BP. But these are all guesses. I can relate to you, watching tv and exercising are bad. Any sudden change in my BP seems to make my symptoms worse. Do u have any other neurological symtoms (symptoms)? Please keep us up to date with your treatment as you at least seem to be getting somewhere. Welcome to the board.
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Avatar_n_tn
hey thanks.  Yeah these symptoms are getting pretty bad and no one knows what the problem is.  So I'm happy that there are others out there, I will check the visual snow board and join up with that!  At least I'm not alone.  Thanks for your response and I'll keep you up to date w/ my treatment.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey thanks carol that's very helpful.  I'm definetly getting tested for lyme disease asap.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there ,

Carol gave me your name and I was wondering if you needed a name of a doctor in Michigan that specializes in lyme.  There are not to many.  Go to the Michigan lyme website and contact the person for the county closest to you and they can set you up with a doctor.  Also heard you are in a band?  I'm a music teacher and hope that you can get some help so you can keep on rockin!

Amy
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Sylvia,

   Sorry for taking so long long to reply.  I'm 25.  I also have problems with High BP. Maybe it's related.  How bad is your BP?  I currently looking into secondary causes of my high bp, because I'm young and in reasonable shape.  Maybe it's all tied together.  How's everything going?  Did you find an answer yet?
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Avatar_n_tn
i also have strange visual disturbances like those posted.  Except I have one pupil bigger than the other it reacts that same as the other, it just is bigger in dim light.  Anyway, my images are mostly at night when i am awaken from a deep sleep...my vision is distorted..i see many many floaters..they look like sperm swimming....i can only see them against a white background, and then i have regular floaters too..also have alot of after images..and my eyes take a while to adjust to the dark..they also seem to get tired very tired after reading for  a while..and when things move fast across my field of vision (like when i wave my hand in front of my face) its streaky...
anyone have symptoms like these???I also have some sensory symptoms..like tingling, numbness...but the one symptom i have had in the past which is sacry and makes me think i may have ms..is the bladder problem.i ws checked for ms years ago...about 14/15 years ago and had the mris and spinal which where all normal..anyway my bladder problem which waxed and wained for 7 years got much better after i gave birth to my first child 11 years ago.  since then, it hardly bothers me.if i do have ms its been 18 years and i feel pretty good..im too scared to go back to a dr. and get tested again.
.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Sylvia,

You are not alone.  I am 43 and have had similar visual disturbance since 2001.  I also have parethesias (numbing, tingling).  Doctors found nothing wrong with the eye.  Since then I have found out two things:

1.  I have hypothyroidism (not too bad, borderline)
2.  I have celiac disease (an allergy to gluten - wheat, barley, rye, and derivatives).

My doctor mentioned to me I could have ocular migraines.  However, it is constant, worse in the morning.  For me, I think at least part of it is food allergies.  I've been testing food and it appears that cheese might worsen ny vision.  I think any gluten, even trace amounts, can cause the paresthesias.  Anyway, my point is, you might want to look at an allergy source.  Good luck-
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Avatar_n_tn
I just wanted to mention something that has helped me cope with floaters, dots, jumpy vision, etc. etc.  I used to be very paranoid and waking up with these visual disturbances and facing the day was always stressful.  I was a mess, basically.
     I called every eye doctor in the phone book and pretended I was doing a paper for class and asked questions about floaters because I wanted every opinion.  I was obsessive.  My eyes are filled with floaters.
     But, eye doctors tell us it's no big deal and just dismiss it...so what are we to do?  We have to live with it and move on.  Otherwise it effects our lives and the people around us.  Should we just curl up in a fetal position?
     I went to a therapist, talked about it and he recommended a book that has helped me.  The title is silly, but the book helped.  It's from Albert Ellis:  How To Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything.  Yes, Anything.
     Do I still get frustrated?  Yes.  But, I am so much better than I used to be.  I have bought a house, gotten married and have three dogs.  We're not perfect and life isn't perfect and it's not supposed to be.  Floaters, visual snow and their side effects are frustrating.  There are people alot worse off in life, just take a look around.  Check out websites trying to raise money for sick children, so many other things.  
     Just some thoughts.  We have two choices...try to make things better or feel sorry for ourselves.  The easy choice is to feel sorry.  Good luck, everyone, I know it's not always easy.  ~Bill
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey there-
I have the same problems as you sylvia. I noticed floaters 11th grade in highschool..experienced some flashes with these...lines, colored dots " sprinkles"....went to a optho and he declared them "retinal or occular migranes (migraines)" however I continued to experience them on a daily basis and a couple times a year i would go back to the optho just to be sure since i was still experiencing them but i learned to live with it and now I am a senior in college. Around August of last year, I experienced a flickering as well in my vision. it just started out of the blue one day while I was in a movie theatre. I noticed my vision that day became very shimmery. I  also was picking up alot of movement in my vision. Things would seem to oscillate, text would jump around ect. I went to the eye doc and he didnt find anything wrong. I went to a nuero and she said exam was normal but to do an MRI with contrast to be on the safe side. It came back normal and I thought I would just have to adapt to these symptoms since it didnt seem harmful. However, over the next couple of months I noticed halos around my vision at night, light beams projecting and starbursts and such. I notice these even while watching tv or looking at a magazine... any images of traffic lights or headlights have starbursts. I had a retinal exam and and ERG and tested negative for retinitis pigmentosa. They told me nothing was wrong, and again I continued on. Now it is to the point that in the day, the sun reflects off of cars and the road in an almost unbearable way, and while looking into the distance throughout my entire vision it looks as though there are heat waves or as though I am looking through water. Ive heard other people complain about these symptoms but usually not as a whole. I know flashes of light and the heat wave phenomoneon can be forms of migranes (migraines), and the shimmering and the halos? yet I experience these symptoms all the time for months and they seem to be getting worse. If someone hands me a picture of a photograph taken at night.. I see the halos in the photograph....i dont think that means im having a migrane (migraine). Anyhow, I'm just baffled. Any advice would be appreciated or if anyone has gone through something similar... something has to be off...
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, MS, Lyme, Weird Symptoms, No diagnosis yet was started.
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1340821_tn?1276052997
A related discussion, Static Vision/Eye Snow was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
I also see a lot of these symptoms. Mine started near the end of my senior year of high school.. And its been a year and I'm still seeing most of what people are describing here. It started with seeing little tiny light spots when I'd look up at the sky or bright background. For the most part my symptoms are just like katerbait's. My retina is fine, the opthomologist said i I was fine. People always assume its drug related (because I'm nineteen I guess) but I am and always have been drug free. And I've been trying to get an mri for since they started and something always interferes but hopefully I'll be getting one soon. Its so frustrating not getting any answers so if anyone here has gotten any answers it'd be great to hear them! (:
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Avatar_f_tn
When I was in 6th grade my vision had gotten so blurry I went to the optomotrist and they discovered I had iritus in my left eye. I was referred to the opthomologist and then on I was put on many drops and slowly decreased them over time as the problem got better finlly being on medication and 1 drop. After the all the drops it caused a cataract in my eye and it's been blurry ever since, and I was able to get the operation to remove the cataract but I hadn't gotten around to it. Anyways about a month and a half ago I woke up with my eye extremly sensitive to light and it was bloodshot and felt like flashburn from welding. I went to the opthomologist and found out the iritus came back so I was put back onto the drops and so on. After about 2 weeks I realized my right eye was having trouble focusing and now I'm seeing this static snowy stuff all the time. It's really noticable in the dark and kind of scaring me because the opthomologist said my eye looked fine and my family doctor did some tests and couldn't find anything. I'm going back and going to ask for a MRI and the lyme test and go from there. I will keep posted
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