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Avatar universal

bright spot in vision

I woke up with a bright spot in my eye 4 days ago, and a smaller, much dimmer image of it is still present.  When I say bright spot, it's like the after-effect of a camera flash, and then it fades out slowly.  I have had this phenomena before, but it usually fades away anywhere from minutes to a few hours.  I always chalked it up to ocular migraines, as the doctor said my eyes are perfectly healthy.  Well, this spot hasn't gone away and it's making me nervous.  I went to the doctor yesterday, which was two days after it appeared, and again, perfectly healthy eyes was my diagnosis.  He said that it was probably an ocular migraine and should fade within a day or two.  But, it hasn't and now it seems to be permanently there, in the left corner of my vision of my left eye.  It's almost like it "burned" itself there and it is now a sivler spot when I blink, or when I go from a dark to light room, or look at the sky/bright walls/computer screen.  It can also change color depending on what I look at-anywhere from green to pinkish/purple to blue.  It stays in the same place and doesn't bounce/move like my other floaters.  I thought it might be related to my sinus/ear infection (pressure), but I've been on antibiotics for 6 days now and I'm not sure if there's still pressure.  I can't stop thinking about it, and as soon as I think it's gone, it's there again, like hide-and-go-seek, except I don't want to play anymore.  I will continue to pray for healing, but does anyone have a suggestion as to what it could be?  Thanks
53 Responses
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
With your problem persisting you should see an eye physician (Eye MD) perhaps, if available, a retina specialist. You may need an Visual field, amsler grid, macula OCT or fluoriscene angiogram.

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
Do these tests, Visual field, amsler grid, macula OCT or fluoriscene angiogram, have to do with blood flow?  The MD I saw did say that maybe the blow flow changes in my eye was causing this, but that it isn't harmful.  He gave me a card for a retinal specialist in the area.  I guess I'll have to make an appointment since it hasn't resolved itself.  I'm a little nervous though.  The fear of the unknown I suppose.  Thanks for your reply.
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Doe a internet search on Amsler grid, read about the test, print out a grid and test your eyes daily to monitor the spot. The retina can be affected by blood flow, systemic disease, inflammation and other things.

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
Actually, I did look up the grid.  Thanks for your advice.  Hopefully this is all due to my sinuses and I have nothing to worry about, but better safe than sorry, not to be too cliche.
Avatar universal
i have had this problem for nearly 10 years now with multiple episodes a year of a bright  spot like the after-image of a camera flash that fades over several weeks to a small permanent blind spot ...i have these in both eyes, though not simltaneuously.
i have had several field tests and an oct, as well as a fluroscein angiogram during the first episode, still no diagnosis.

i am leaning towards some kind of permanent migraine aura, as everyone keeps telling me my eyes look fine. i am going to have another FA during the next episode, and will probably see a neuro-ophth after that.

anyway, you might want to have a look at this site:

http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/173/12/1441
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Mel07Green's reference http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/173/12/1441
is excellent and all those that post here with spots, blobs, blind areas or a personal or family historyof migraine should read this short medical paper.

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
Yes, mine is similar to yours.  I've had my spot for a couple weeks and am scheduled to see an eye MD next week.  I hope they can tell me what it is.  I could live with it if I knew it wouldn't get worse and it was nothing serious.  It's just scary not knowing.  I'm sure that's how you feel.  I've read about others that have similar things and they've had a couple different diagnosis.  One turned out to be fluid behind the retina that was called Central Serous Retinopathy and can be brought on by stress.  The other claimed his doctor found a hemmorhage in his eye.  Both were told they would eventually clear up.  Some were told they were types of migraines.  I'm not sure if a headache would have to accompany the spot in order for it to be a migraine though.  I don't have headaches with mine.  Anyways, I'll let you know what my eye doc says.  If you go see yours let us know what they say.  Oh, and here's what another helpful doc told me.  http://en.allexperts.com/q/Ophthalmology-Optometry-979/spot-vision.htm?zIr=5
Avatar universal
It can still be a retinal migraine without a headache. my spots last for weeks and never really resolve and i do not get a headache with them. did you have a look at that reference i posted?
Avatar universal
Thanks for all of your responses.  I hate that you have to endure this, but it's reassuring when others can sympathize.  I know people think I'm crazy or a hypochondriac.  If you don't have these things, it's hard to imagine I guess.  Well, I went to the retinal specialist today and he said my eyes, especially my macula, were very healthy.  He didn't see any tear, infection, swelling...  He also believes that I am experiencing occular migraines.  If this particular spot doesn't dissolve after 3 weeks, he told me to come back for the angiogram.  I'm a little nervous thought because I've had dye injected for an MRI in the past and have experienced a severe burning feeling up and down my arm, like a million jelly fish were stinging me.  Not sure if that was an allergy or just a reaction.  Don't really want to take the chance.  But, for now, he didn't want to subject me to it, if he didn't see anything in my eyes at this time.  Just like mel07green, I do notice that my bright spot seems to have faded and become a permanent spot, and maybe that's just what it'll be.  But, I will continue to pray for complete healing.  I will check out that article and hopefully put my mind at ease a bit more.  I'll be praying for all of you who are experiencing this.  Even if it's not harmful, it's still kinda scary.  The thought that one day they might cover my field of vision.  Oh, well, can't think like that I suppose.  Read you later!
Avatar universal
tam31, i can totally relate to your last comments. i have had about 20+ episodes of this over the past eight or so years and it doesn't get any less scary for me. i am terrified i will get one of these spots right in my central vision that will interfere with reading etc.
like you, i was told me retinas look perfectly healthy. it's very worrisome. sometimes i can go for months without thinking too much about it, other times i am pretty much a nervous wreck.
let me know how things go for you - i'd be very interested to know.
take care
mel
Avatar universal
I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one with this!  i honestly feel better about the whole thing knowing that you mel have been getting these for nearly 10 years and they haven't messed up your central vision.  that's what i was most worried about!  i still very anxious about the eye exam coming up.  i think i'll feel better once i have it looked at.  i just have a feeling i'm going to get a "clean" bill of health and be dismissed.  like i'm just supposed to go on and ignore this spot?  will cross that bridge if i get there.  will let y'all know what my doc says.  jess
Avatar universal
yes, please let us know how the exam goes. rarely do i come across people with similar symptoms and too often do they disappear before sharing their diagnosis or lack thereof. (i have yet to encounter a doctor who says, "ah, yes, well that's so-and-so ..." when i describe my symptoms).

no, i wouldnt' say my central vision is "messed up" but i do have many, many of these spots that i can see on an amsler grid (or anything else of contrast for that matter). so the constant reminder is there and i am always dreading a "new episode".

i wish i could share some wonderful coping strategies with you in regards to the uncertainty and anxiety this causes me, but i'm afraid i'm not too good on that front, particularly since my last episode in may. still trying to ground myself following that triple-whammy (three spots in three weeks).

HOWEVER - you may well be experiencing a one-off phenomena! your spot will most likely fade both from your vision and from your memory. let's hope so.

please let me know how your exam goes. odds on you'll get a clean bill of health ...
Avatar universal
Well, back from the eye doc and i got the clean bill of health too.  did the field  visual electronically and manually, amsler grid.  perfectly healthy eyes i'm told.  my doc said her thoughts were a possible "attached floater" that she couldn't pick up or i've become aware of my natural blind spot which sounds crazy but is possible.  my spot is very near or on where my natural blind spot is.  she said to try and stop obsessing about it and let her know if it gets bigger or worse or if i get other "symptoms" that accompany it.  i even asked her if hormones or something could cause this.  she said it's possible and that the pituitary gland and thyroid can have affects on vision.  i could have my ob/gyn run blood tests just to rule that out but she's doubtful it's that.  i did find it interesting that we're all women experiencing this....at least i think we are?
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Glad things worked out well and the explanations given are plausible. I also doubt thyroid and pituitary testing would be rewarding.

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
thanks for the update. out of curiousity, can you see the spot on the amsler grid?
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
to see an attached floater with an amsler grid it would need to be in the area of the macula, some are but most floaters are seen in the peripheral retinal outside of the area tested by the Amsler grid, so the short answer is sometimes yes but usually no.

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
well, i had a new "episode" on the weekend. it was briefer than normal, lasted only half a day. i woke up with it and it was gone by mid afternoon.
however, as usual, the residual scotoma is there.
it's sooo hard to get my anxiety under control when this keeps happening.
i am looking into valproic acid or the like as a prophylatic? have you heard of that for retinal migraine?
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
It has been described in some of the case reports on migraine vairants.
JCH III MD
Avatar universal
I have had something similar for about 4 1/2 years. It's actually a distortion in my left eye. I noticed one day that a line running down a wall looked bent . The siding on my house lokms distorted or kind of bent in places as well. If I cover my right eye and only look with the left I have a more noticeable blind spot and things just outside of center off to the left look a little distorted. I have had my eyes examined by 2 retinal specialist probably 10 times in the last 4 1/2 years and they say it's fine. One doctor said it was a floater stuck on something causing this distortion.
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
J=Kylie02 very interesting. let us know if something else develops or is diagnosed.

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
very similar condition to mine.  i mostly notice mine when two things that come together contrast.  like a white door against a darker wall.  it's this distorted "spot" like a blur.  about the size of the tip of a finger or a dime off in the distance.  mine's in my right eye just off to the right and slightly lower of my central vision.  sometimes when i look around i see a faded "camera flash" spot in the same spot as the blur.  i was told this was probably an after affect or eye trick.  like when you close your eyes and still see the spot.  it then fades away.  i was given a clean bill of health by an eye doc too.  i was told it was a possible attached floater that was undetectable or i've become aware of my blind spot.  i do not notice it on an amsler grid.  i think because the grid's too close.  i just hope this is the only one i get!  i will continue to have this spot checked yearly.  if something changes or i actually get a name for this condition i will surely let everyone know.  i thank dr hagan for his interest and help in this matter.  let us know doc if you ever run across one of your patients that have a similar issue!  god bless you for what you do!
Avatar universal
asdfkl
that's reassuring  you can't see you spot on am amsler grid. i can see mine. horizontal blinds are filling out any kind of form with all those lines are both nightmares. ditto striped, door frames ... i wonder why my brain doesn't tune them out??
Avatar universal
I've been getting the exact same symptoms as everyone else here off and on for years. It started for me when I was 20. I got a bright spot in my right eye, just off center. It started fairly prominent, but eventually faded a little, although it's still there to the day. I'm 34 now.

Like everyone else I become aware of it when there are contrasting light and dark backgrounds (venetian blinds are the worst!) and can really notice it when I blink my eye, especially when looking the sky while doing it. I'm sure I look strange walking down the street while doing this. I can sometimes still see it with my eyes closed. Which for me is why it reall reminds me of a camera flash too. They also tend to be pretty small. Over the years I've had many more episodes of this, but the spots tends to go away after 3 or 4 days. A few years back I did get another small one that seemed to stick around.

Just recently I got another "camera flash" off center in my left eye that's still there a week and a half later, so I'm chalking it up to being permanent I guess. I went to the ophthalmologist and, like everyone else, got a clean bill of health. This worrys me a little because it's a little bigger than the others.
It's only a minor annoyance but I too am worried that one day I'll get one right in the center of my vision.
I guess there's solace in the fact that in 14 years I haven't got one in the center yet so.......

Anyways, just sharing that there are indeed others out there with the same problem. It's good to know I'm not alone :)
Avatar universal
wow! you post sounds like i could have written it! i can sooo relate to your comment about walking, staring at the sky, blinking furiously. i do that OBSESSIVELY when each new spot appears, trying in will it away, i guess.

i would say about 80% of my spots are permanent. they are exactly as you describe. i have recently moved and the house has venetian blinds everywhere - BLAH.

i agree that they are a minor annoyance - it is the fear of one appearing smack-bang at the point of focus (or directly to the right of it, as far as reading effectively goes) that absolutely terrifies me.

i took take solace in the fact it's been 10 years and i haven't got one in the center yet.

can i ask what tests you've had and whether any doctors have attempted an explanation?

until reading this thread, and particularly your post (with you history of multiple episodes with residual effects) i truly did feel i was all alone in this ...
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