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Avatar universal

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!
53 Responses
Avatar universal
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.  
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:


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.

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
Avatar universal
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?
Avatar universal
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?
Avatar universal
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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