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chronic lightheadedness and visual changes

For 2 yrs. have had lightheadedness (spacey, medicine head feeling) 24/7, gets worse on certain days, and often towards the night, at times will get nausea and feel like I am going to faint.  Difficulty with auditory attention to conversations, and concentration. Sxs. seem to increase when I get very warm, difficulty regulating body temperature at that time. Also experiencing visual changes, diagnosed with oculomotor dysfunction, vision worsened past month. Seeing a neurooptometrist and neuroopthomologist who is unsure of etiology.  All started after I fainted 2 years ago after becoming warm, nausea, and room spinning...also had severe TMJ sxs. that day, was sick for about a week before that, and also began experiencing eustachian tube "popping"  1 month before, sxs. continue today. Lost 15 lbs. following 2 months...weight now maintained but unable to regain weight. Always healthy prior, and difficulty functioning now...night driving has also become quite difficult.  Am 37 y.o. female. Saw neurologist, MRI with abn. signal in left parietal lobe-unchanged x 2 yrs. CT of sinuses norm. EEG, ENG, evoked potentials of visual/auditory tracts norm. 3 hour glucose tolerance test norm. Blood work appears norm...not sure if anything missing. TSH norm, T3 and T4 high..D.O. not concerned. See chiro as needed for atlas alignment...no change with above sxs. Am not depressed, I meditate and exercise, love my work, though miss being able to work at the level I used to prior to 2 yrs...would love to resume prior activity level, not sure where to go from here, quite frustrated...any ideas?
10 Responses
Avatar universal
Your problem is complex. The MRI helps to exclude large mass lesions or a changing pattern to suggest a progressive disorder. I assume the blood vessels were also normal. In your case I would want to ensure that the basilar artery (runs up the back of the brain) is normal. Other things to be excluded include whole body disorders such as connective tissue diseases and inflammatroy conditions. The visual and balance symptoms could be due to a problem in the vestibular system (balance system). Perhaps a consultation with a neurologist who specializes in this area (an oto-neurologist) would be reasonable. If you are in the area we have two excellent doctors (Drs. Cherian and Oas). Good luck
Avatar universal
Hi Phil, from some of your descriptions (and I'm no doctor) it could be a couple of things that you might want to talk to your doctors about.  I'm not sure but 2 years ago you may have contracted a virus that caused a severe inner ear infection that lead to some type of Vertigo (room spinning, loss of equilibrium, dizziness, nausea, etc.).  All these sx's pluss ringing in the ears (this is called Tinitus, which I have) could also be a possibility that you may have something called Mienieres disease.  You might want to see an ear, nose and throat doctor to see if  you may have these types of problems.  These types of things will compromise your ability to cocentrate and may stress you out because you don't know what's happening to you.

I also have TMJ problems and grind my teeth at night.  This can really irritate the eustacean tubes and often cause the problems you stated regarding your ears. Talk to your Primary Physician and ask him/her to refer you to a good Ear Nose and Throat Specialist.  He/she may be able to give you something if you've been carrying around an inner ear infection for awhile and have treatments to help with the other things.

As far as your vision goes, if you've already been diagnosed with oculomotor dysfunction, have you been given anything to treat it?
I have night vision problems as well and have had for about 15 years. I have a connective tissue disease and the muscle tissue in my left eye was tearing away and my optometrist changed my prescription in hopes that it would correct the problem.  I'm supposed to see her in a few weeks to see if there's been any progress.  Hope so.

Anyway all your sx's seem to be connected to each other since they all occurred at the same time 2 years ago and recently.  I sort of broke them up a little to maybe give you a little information a them separately.  Hope this can help.  I understand how frustrating it is to have to slow your lifestyle down and I hope you can get some answers and get taken care of.  Good luck

Have you actually seen the Nuero Optomotrist and Opthomologist yet?  Wasn't clear if you had already.
Avatar universal
...Thank you for your response to my question. I would like to ask you a question regarding your response.  On my MRI report it said that the proximal intracranial portions of the carotid and vertebrobasilar circulation display normal flow void.  Is this the information you were questioning?...or is there another test to provide more information regarding the arteries you discussed??  I have seen about 6 ENTs, 5 of them thought I had Meniere's, which I was pretty sure I didn't have..so I saw a Meniere's specialist, who evaluated me and agreed I did not have Meniere's.  She recommended a neurooptometrist and a posturography test.  Posturography revealed high-level  deficits when challenged in complex testing.  I do have a name of an otoneurologist, and will schedule an appointment with him.  I was also wondering if I should see an endocrinologist...if there was possibly a metabolic problem that was being overlooked...are there any tests you would recommend? Thank you.  P.S. my nickname is actually donnap, even though it says Phil...because that was the person who helped me post the question due to technical difficulties.
Avatar universal
The MRI flow voids can be used to visualize the blood vessels. In addition they sometimes perform a MRA which specifically looks at the blood vessels. I think seeing the oto-neurologist is a good start. I would investigate other avenues after this.
Avatar universal
Dear Donnap (Phil),
I am also a 37 year old female.  I don't know if this will help you but here is my story.  In the spring of 2003, I began experiencing all of the symptoms you describe (lightheadedness, spaced out feeling, nausea, teeth/jaw pain, ear ringing, difficulty concentrating).  I also experienced a lot of skin sensations such as tingling, prickling, tickling, pin pricks, ear tickling, flickering light in peripheral vision, etc.  I have also had many tests that indicate nothing is wrong.  By looking on the internet, I was able to identify that my symptoms are consistent with a syndrom known as electrosensitivity.  There's a lot of information on the internet regarding this syndrome and some books by MDs.  I am now sensitive to electric and magnetic fields, flourescent task lighting, vibrations and high frequency. The literature indicates that the triggering of the sensitivity is often related to a novel introduction such as a new computer.  For me it began with four five plus hour flights in a 6 week period and the intro of a new computer. Prudent avoidance is recommended e.g. move electricals such as clock radio, telephone, light away from your bed/your head, use an electric field shield/ground on your computer and move monitor 3 feet from head, avoid standing near running appliances, avoid cell phones, etc.  My symptoms flared again when I took another flight and went on jury duty.  The commonality was the electromagnetic security equipment that you must pass through.  I often have a symptom flare up after being in large malls (almost all stores have magnetic security devices).  I notice many others on this site also feel sick in malls.  Prudent avoidance has helped me which further confirms my theory. Beyond theory, there are a few doctors that diagnose this syndrome.  I am in a 5 to 6 month waiting line to be assessed at an environmental health clinic at a Toronto hospital that deals with env health including electrosensitivity.  Good luck and take care of yourself.
Avatar universal
Daughter has been suffering from headaches and vertigo for about 6 months now. Three days prior to headaches had a meningitis innoculation. Dr. changed meds from Tegretol to Trileptal because of the epoxide buildup. She does have a seizure disorder.  MRI no contrast and MRI with contrast both came back ok. Saw opthomologist she had slight diplopia which has passed.  Had a wax buildup that was taken care of 6 months ago, no improvement.  Saw neuro-opthomologist eyes excellent felt it was a virus. Saw nuerologist who didn't feel it was a nuerological problem, tried valium didn't help. Saw a chiropractor who felt it may have been the mercury in the meningitis innoculation may have triggered symptoms.

Any suggestions where to start in finding treatment,helping diagnose or what type of a physician to see. Most physicians have just said it is a virus and wait it out.  It has been 6 months that my daughter has suffered from this. She has been having difficulty keeping up with her college studies (usually an A student), struggling to keep C average because of the pain and difficulty reading.  Any advice greatly appreciated.
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