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Eye & Vision Board Index


Hi I'm new here and this is my 1st post. :)
I have a strange problem with my eyesight.
Since last year, I've been getting all sorts of wierd visual distubances that have baffled my doctors. I get these little spots in my eyes, one at a time in each eye and in different locations. They look like 'afterimages' like from a camera flash or a sun spot, only I didn't look at a light. The bright spot will last hours, days, and occasionally a couple of weeks. Sometimes they totally go away, but the ones that linger the longest turn into tiny blind or blank spots in my vision, which remain permanant and don't move.
I also get many temporary aura-like spots every day but I don't have migraines with them.
I've been to several opthomologists, a retina specialist, and neurologists. I've had many of the tests - OCTs, visual fields, ERG, MRI, angiogram. No signs of any problem were found, except the last opthomologist I saw told me he could see very tiny floater-like debris sitting on or stuck to my retina. The locations of the debris he saw were in the exact locations of my blind spots. He didn't think it was anything to worry over, but I think anything that's creating blind spots is worrisome....
I know there are other people with the same problems and I wonder if anyone else has ever had a doctor make a similar observation and what it could be?
go to an eye doctor and get an OCT immediately. ask about cytoid macular edema.. i suffer from this and it can be treated. if it is not, it inevitably will lead to blindness..
Clr18287, thanks for your reply. Actually I've had about 4 OCT tests done over the year, the most recent was a month ago. Everything looked normal. The doctor I saw told me that OCTs only test a limited area around central vision, but problems in the peripheral vision may not be in the range of the scan.

What were your symptoms like? Were they similar to mine? How long did it take before you got a diagnosis?
Kabees: Are the spots all over your visual field, or just central, or just peripheral?
They're scattered randomly in my peripheral vision, but I have a spot in my right eye somewhat near my central vision.
Hi,
I am very interested in any answers you may get about your blind spots. I have been searching for an answer for almost 4 years now. It started with a "strobe light" type of flashing in my left eye on Sunday afternoon and within 2 days had become a significant size blind spot. I had multiple test on my eyes, blood test, MRI (the drs thought maybe MS), etc. with no answer. A few months after the first one another flashing started and then turned into another blind spot. Anyway, here I am 4 years later, I finally got tired of all of the drs and just hoped I would not develop anymore since they seemed to quit, I was just left with a blind spot in each eye, well about a month and a half ago another blind spot showed up, this time with only a few little flashes of light. I haven't gone to see any dr about this one because I am tired of sitting and waiting only to be told nothing. I have even been to the eye foundation hospital and still no answer. The say my eyes are perfectly healthy as far as that goes but they can not tell me why I have the spots. I would at least like an answer if I will eventually be totally blind or not. Your description of your eye problems are the closest I have read to what mine are like that is why I am interested in any answer you get. Thanks
Hi bekah

Sorry to hear you are going through what seems to be the same mysterious problem. You're not alone, there are quite a few others that have posted here and elsewhere reporting the same symptoms and so far I have yet to see anyone say they got a diagnosis or found any treatment.

I also get lots of temporary shimmery spots all the time, every day. They seem to be similar to migraine auras. Do you ever get these too or have ever had migraines? I was 28 when I first noticed this blind spot thing, I'm curious how old you were when yours started?

I'm going back to the doctor I saw a few months ago to have him look some more at my eyes and ask a few more questions. If anything new comes up I'll let you know.
Bekah, did you have a fluorescein angiogram?
My first spot was when I was 31. I just turned 35. In the course of trying to find out what was wrong a neurologist told me that I have migraines. I have never had really bad headaches just cluster headaches but never associated with the blind spots, the neuro put me on preventative meds for the migraines and just kind of forgot about the eye problems. I don't feel I need the meds for the mirgraines because I don't have many at all. I just feel so frustrated about this, I have always been pretty healthy, except one condition I was diagnosed with during pregnancy, Antiphospholipid sydrome, I have often wondered if this was the cause of the spots but all the drs assure me that it is not. I had many pregnancy problems because of this sydrome which can cause blood clots. I take an aspirin a day but other than that I have no other problems, just the eyes.
No, I have actually never heard of this.
[QUOTE=KeelaC;3820197]Bekah, did you have a fluorescein angiogram?[/QUOTE]
I had just posted that I had not had a fluorescein angiogram, I have had so many tests that I was not sure what this one was so I just looked it up and I have actually had 2 of these done.
When the strobe light like flashing occurs it is continuous for 2-3 days and then becomes a blind spot. These spots have never gone away nor changed in anyway since I first had them, the first one almost 4 years ago. I do, however, experience quick flashes of light sometimes, these come and go, they are sort of like I look directly into a bright light and then look away and have the little flashes from looking at the light, but of course I have not done that. In the time since the original blind spot occurred, I have had 2 more significant blind spots appear, the 2nd was just like the first with the strobe light first for a couple of days and then the blind spot, the 3rd was just a few flashes off and on for a few days and then the blind spot. The 1st spot is in the peripheral vision of my left eye, the 2nd in the peripheral vision of my right eye but this new one is just slightly off from the center of my vision in my right eye. I have learned to adjust to the first 2 but the 3rd is harder since it is very near my center of vision. I also have little small spots throughout the center of my vision which started after the 1st spot. I hear all the time that they must be floaters, but they have remained in exactly the same spot and never changed in 3 1/2 years so I don't believe this fits the definition of floaters. I had a retina specialist at the eye foundation tell me about 3 years ago that it was something to do with my retina and the spots would all be gone in 6-8 months, well as I said 3 1/2 years later they are still there.

As I said in previous post, they did tell me that it could be MS but I have had 3 Head MRI's in the 4 years and there is nothing to indicate MS.

To answer some of the questions, I don't work, I am a stay at home mom. As I had said previously, I don't have any medical conditions that could answer the question as to why this is happening. I actually decided that after 1 1/2 years of sitting in waiting rooms, paying co-pays, etc. that I was done with trying to get an answer from the doctors. My first 2 spots had not changed nor had any new ones come up so I thought that maybe it was just a freak thing that I would learn to live with but then a little over a month ago the new spot showed up. I am very concerned now because over the course of the 4 years I have lost a good bit of my vision so I wonder what will happen in the next 5-10 years, will I go completely blind? Anyway, I know this is a long post but this is so frustrating to me and I just hope that someone that reads this can say, here is your problem and here is what will happen or how you can stop it from happening.
Bekah,
about how big are your abnormal blind spots? Most of mine are very small and round. The largest ones I have can block out my computer mouse arrow if I sit a foot or so away from the screen.
Bekah, you are keeping close track of your spots, but I don't know if you use an Amsler grid. If not, look it up online. In a pinch, you could use graph paper. Plot the scotomas on the grid. There may be some you haven't noticed. Keep the grids as a progression report.

It's my belief that the flashing, slivery spots are the photoreceptor cells firing, perhaps from lack of blood/oxygen. Then they die.

I have large central blind spots that haven't been properly diagnosed in ten years. The docs call it retinal dystrophy or cone dystrophy, but say the retina doesn't show the damage of cone dystrophy. There are some conditions that cause your symptoms but the blind spots are supposed to go away, as your doctor said.

I've also given up on going to different specialists. The last one was very interested in my family history and says all retinal dystrophies are genetic. There's nothing in my family background though.

I've come across several people in the last eight years with the same problem.
KeelaC

Thanks for the info, I do have one of the grids it was given to me by one of the many eye drs I have seen. I too looked closely into my family history and found nothing like my problem.
It is easy to keep track of my spots because they are not small spots. I do have some small spots scattered throughout my vision but the 3 that I am most concerned about are rather large, I don't see through these spots at all, it is completely black and blurry around the edges.
I do appreciate everyone's input, that is why I started posting on here, hopefully I can find an answer before I go totally blind.
Kabees

I just read your question, if I am reading a book and I am reading on the left side I cannot see the right page at all, I notice this because I like to read and this is really annoying when I am trying to read, not that I need to see the right page while reading the left but when you are use to seeing the entire thing when you look down and now its gone, that can be annoying. Using the computer as a reference, being about a foot away from the screen if I close my left eye and only use my right I can see only a little less then half of the screen I can see a little more then that with my left eye.
I mentioned retinal dystrophy in my post. That would be a good subject to investigate. There is a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa but it affects peripheral vision first and would probably have started at a younger age. There is cone dystrophy that affects the macula, or central vision. But I've often seen cone/rod dystrophy mentioned. I'm not sure if that's a separate disease, or if the cone dystrophy eventually works itw way into the peripheral area. I've seen differing opinions that said cone dystrophy won't cause blindness and that cone dystrophy eventually will affect the rod photoreceptors.

My central scotomas have been fairly stable for about eight years and my peripheral vision is very good. In your case, since the spots are both peripheral and central, all bets are off. As I said, research the retinal dystrophies. I'm not claiming that's what it is. You've had angiograms but I don't know what they said. Blood vessels that are, or become, too narrow can starve areas of cells. Occlusions, or small blockages, can do the same.
I went through similar experiences. Turned out to be caused by PVD. (Posterior vitreous detachment) First my left eye then a month or two later same thing in my right eye. I can still see a grey area with either eye, if I shut the other one, since it seems to make the normal blind spot where the retina enters more prominent. It originally happened about thirty years ago.

auburn62
auburn62, thanks for sharing.
If you don't mind me asking, what were your experiences like when it started?
Did you get abnormal blind spots in your vision that didn't go away?
Was it hard to get a diagnosis at the time?
Thanks!
[QUOTE=bekah3702;3819917]Hi,
I am very interested in any answers you may get about your blind spots. I have been searching for an answer for almost 4 years now. It started with a "strobe light" type of flashing in my left eye on Sunday afternoon and within 2 days had become a significant size blind spot. I had multiple test on my eyes, blood test, MRI (the drs thought maybe MS), etc. with no answer. A few months after the first one another flashing started and then turned into another blind spot. Anyway, here I am 4 years later, I finally got tired of all of the drs and just hoped I would not develop anymore since they seemed to quit, I was just left with a blind spot in each eye, well about a month and a half ago another blind spot showed up, this time with only a few little flashes of light. I haven't gone to see any dr about this one because I am tired of sitting and waiting only to be told nothing. I have even been to the eye foundation hospital and still no answer. The say my eyes are perfectly healthy as far as that goes but they can not tell me why I have the spots. I would at least like an answer if I will eventually be totally blind or not. Your description of your eye problems are the closest I have read to what mine are like that is why I am interested in any answer you get. Thanks[/QUOTE]

Hi there. I don't mean to scare you but I had to login and answer your post when I saw your comments.

So you've seen a retina specialist and they didn't find a problem?

I don't mean to scare you or anyone here. It's just that AFTER someone has lost thier vision you won't find them posting stories on this board.

I have a very scarey disorder or autoimmune disease running in my family. It's almost never diagnosed. The only way it was diagnosed in my family was after a younger family member lost sight at a young age. This family member was in their early 30s and still has good sight in 1 eye and not the other. It's very, very scarey to think about.


In addition to this, I have an elderly family member who lost sight in mid
60s. This family member was NEVER diagnosed with any health problem, but we now feel they probably have the same autoimmune disease as the younger family member. I have a very large family and if our family were small, we may never have known about the autoimmune disease at all.


The elderly family member began to get dark spots in their field of vision. They noticed dark spots when reading. The doctor, and I think he was an opthamologist, not sure, told them NOT to worry about it. Then about a year later their retinas detached in BOTH eyes.

They were able to have laser surgery in one of them but too late for the other. They have legal blind sight in only one eye and no sight in the other. They're up in years now in their 80's and thats where their sight is now. I'm not sure when it' got that bad. It may have been better than that for several years, I'm not sure.

The younger family member also had treatment and laser surgery, and this is the outcome. Good sight in one eye, no sight in the other. And this family member will need regular treatments of immune supressants for life.

This family member is taken very good care of by other family members and lucky in that respect.
But losing their eyesight was a horrible thing.

You guys having flashing lights, flashing lights are a sign of retinal detachment. So are dark spots. I don't mean to scare you, like I've said, but you DO NOT want to give up and not go to the doctor. If you have regular tests that's a good thing. Discuss with your doctor and make sure you DO NOT have any retina tears or inflamation. You DO NOT want to give up if a doctor is telling you that you have something they have never seen. FIND A DOCTOR who HAS seen it and KNOWS about it.

DO NOT mess with your sight. You need to see a retina specialist on a regular basis and have your vision and eyes monitored and treated if necessary.

Don't give up. DO NOT think it's not important. DO NOT let the doctors tell you it's not important. They are YOUR eyes. YOURs and no one elses.
Take care of them. There are lots of things they can do in the early stages of a problem. They can keep inflamation down, they can do something called retina freezing or something like that. So it's not as bad as it sounds if you keep it monitored.

When it happens it happens fast, and you dont' want to be the unlucky one who thought it was nothing to worry about or the one who gave up. My eldery family member, I believe didn't go to a doctor again for about a year after they were told not to worry about it.

I know that floaters sometimes are not a problem, but you're talking about flashing lights and dark spots. So if this is what you have stay on top of it.

And you must be monitored by a RETINA specialist, not a regular opthamologist. Again, I don't mean to scare you, and I'm not sure why the doctors are saying there's not a problem. However, they are only human, and maybe you have a much slower course and just need monitored, so don't freak out. If it's been years and years you've had these things, it's probably a good sign, that your problem isn't as bad as my family members. You just don't want to take that chance. See what you can do to keep it monitored by someone who knows what they're doing. Make sure you're going to the right type of specialist.

Good luck to you and God bless.
Eyewideshut,

Thank you so much for your post, it actually doesn't scare me anymore than the fact that I have lost parts of my vision in the past four years and don't know why.

I am very curious about the autoimmune disorder you wrote about. What is it? This is interesting because about 2 years before the flashing and spots began I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called antiphospholipid syndrome. I had a stillbirth at 34 weeks that was unexplained and the next pregnancy they did more tests and diagnosed me. I was on heprin and asprine throughout 2 other pregnancies (I miscarried one before I was put on the treatment). I often have questioned if this syndrome has anything to do with the spots (it actually can cause blood clots) but have been told no.

I saw a neuro-opthomologist and a retina specialist both told me that my eyes looked perfectly healthy. The only thing the retina specialist told me is that he thought it was probably some type of deposits on my eyes that would not hurt anything and would clear up within 6 months, well that was about 4 years ago and they are still there as big as they always were. I was also told by another opthomologist that it was either a blood clot that was gone by the time I had the MRI or the beginning of MS. My neurologist has since told me that she does not believe I have MS but she also has no answer for my eye problems.

I did appreciate your post about not letting this go. I am very scared that one day I will be blind, I am 35 with 3 children ages 15, 8 & 6 and I don't know if I will still have my sight in 5 years. I had given up just because I was so tired of sitting and waiting with no answer but I know that will not fix this either. Thanks again for your post.
Eyewideshut can tell you more about this autoimmune thing, but that came up in my treatment as well. My ophthalmologist wanted me to be tested for (if I remember correctly and I might not) antigen B, but this particular test is unusual I guess, because it coulldn't be done in Canada. That was about seven years ago. The blood sample had to go to a single lab in the Midwest--maybe Nebraska? I gathered from that that the autoimmune condition was quite rare, or the test very specialized.

When I saw a genetic ophth, she did take blood and sent it to a local lab where she knew the tech could perform the test. Well, didn't he up and leave the country before the test was done. After that, she never pursued it.

My original ophth did say if it was this autoimmune condition, I'd have to take drugs that resembled chemo.
Hello to all, here's my story, and I hope it helps you come closer to getting yourself some sort of diagnosis.

About two and a half years ago, I had lost a slight area of vision in my left eye in the upper peripheral on the nose side. It turned out there was swelling in my optic disc; I had an MRI to look for MS, that was negative. Blood tests came out negative as well. Close to a year later, I lost a significant portion on the same side of the same eye in the lower peripheral area, of which several more blood tests and another MRI came out negative, though there was pretty significant swelling of the optic disc once again. I was diagnosed by my optho-neurologist with non-arteritic aschemic optic neuropathy (NAION), although my retina specialist mentioned that is unlikely because it happens in much older individuals (I am 30).

Since that time I had not had any further issues, and was actually doing pretty well and getting some of the vision back that I had lost. Then about six months ago, I started to lose some of the upper and lower areas of my peripheral vision again in the same eye. It was determined there was no swelling, and there were no changes in my visual field test. Both my retina specialist and optho-neurologist could not see any noticable changes though I could clearly see it on an amsler grid (blurring/distortion). Around the same time I developed a small circle/oval in my outside peripheral vision, and about a week later it started flashing rapidly in that area, followed by a dark shadow surrounding it. Again, both doctors found nothing significant and dismissed it as being "in my head".

I finally decided to go to Mayo Clinic, and they have several tests that I had not done before, such as an electroretinogram, which maps out your entire retina, and something called a VEP (visual-evoked protocol) test, as well as several more blood tests. Based on the results, he diagnosed me with something called "acute zonal occult outer retinopathy", or AZOOR. It is an extremely rare eye disease, and thus not much is known about it. There could also be an underlying autoimmune condition as well, since I tested positive in the blood work for something called HLA-B27.

It would be worth your benefit to look some of this stuff up; since it sounds like many of you are having similar symptoms. I think this disease is so rare because many specialists aren't even aware it exists and therefore goes undiagnosed.

Hopefully this info helps you out.
I know it's been some time since you posted your original question, and I haven't read all of the replies, but I have experienced a blind spot preceeded by the bright strobe light effect. It was about 5 years ago and the blind spot is still there. I do also, on occasion, get the occular migraines, the bright flashing vision lights that start small then expand until they disappear. They are not followed by migraines the way my friends experience them, but then again, I pop aspirin the second I notice it happening.

When I noticed the blind spot I went to my optometrist who sent me to a specialist. The specialist determined that the blind spot was caused by a blood clot in the back of my retina in one of the veins that supplies the eye with blood. He took pictures and the clot completely coincides with the area of vision loss. He said that it is most likely permanent.

Since then I have come up with two plausible explanations for why this would happen to an otherwise healthy 25 year old woman. At the time I was a smoker and I had a 7 month old with a labial adhesion. I was treating her adhesion with progesterone cream, a hormonal suppliment. I later learned that there are studies showing a correlation between blood clots and hormone levels.

The only other explanation is that the clot was a hint that I was harboring a slow growing ovarian cancer. In my case, it's a question of which came first, the cancer, or the clot, and which of the two were affected by the progesterone, if either. To be fair, my oncologist thinks there is no smoking gun here and that each incident was independant and that the progesterone cream had nothing to do with either. I feel like I'm right, but most people do feel that way even when they're wrong. ;)

Good luck to you. You might ask your physician (even the optomotrist can do this) to look in the back of your eye at the veins and see if there appears to be a bloodclot there.
I have the *exact* same thing, and I describe it the exact same way. I've said the sentence to countless puzzled doctors, "It's like having your picture taken with a flash and it stays in your vision." Some last a few seconds, some stay "bright" for a few days and then shrink a bit and just become "blank."

I've had every test--angiograms, pictures, visual fields, microperimetry (central vision visual field), MRIs 10 years apart, blood tests for Lyme disease and HIV, and seen opthamologists, retinal specialists, optometrists, and coming up, a neurologist. No test has indicated anything abnormal except that I can draw them every time on an Amsler grid.

A few things I've noticed:

-The short-duration ones come most often when I'm hungry, and a Jolly Rancher or some soda usually gets them to go away until I can eat something more substantial.

-Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the devil and will give me one of the permanent spots every time I eat it. I won't touch Doritos, Chinese food, Ramen noodles, many Mexican dishes, etc., and I read the ingredients on everything. MSG is also referred to as autolyzed (anything), hydrolyzed (anything), and a few others.

-Being in good shape helps a lot.

-They were getting worse for years 2000-2003, then went into remission from 2003-2009 and now are getting worse again. The ones I had didn't disappear in that time.

-A baby aspirin every day seems to help. I also take magnesium.

These things indicate to me that it is likely some kind of migraine. I have found some literature from a doctor in New York City that supports this. That's how I came up with the idea for the aspirin and the magnesium. He writes of "permanent monocular visual loss" and how sometimes retinal migraine auras are permanent. It's the closest I've found so far in the 10 years I've been dealing with this. Bolstering this is that MSG and skipping meals are recognized migraine triggers.

I hope someone is still reading this thread!!!
I have the same. I have found others and it is informally referred to as "bright spot when blinking" syndrome. My spots got darker with time, and are kind of blind spots now, but much smaller than when they were bright. It is real, I know. I have not been diagnosed with anything. I seem to be fine health wise. My only concern is that I will get more someday in the future.

My other related eye issues are: palinopsia (increased after images), light sensitivity, floaters and increased visual capillary function as well. I have had other symptoms as well, at one time I could barely see at night. Seems there may be a visual commonality among people with these conditions.

The medical establishment has yet to give me a diagnosis and no specific research seems to be going on that i am aware of.

So, we share the same issues. My grandfather had and died of MS, this I know, maybe there is a genetic connection? I also get migraines, but they are rare now and the visual stuff remains.
Since posting, I've found a neurologist who believes me (baby steps) at least. He's put me on supplements: Migrelief (riboflavin, magnesium, and feverfew and coenzyme Q-10 in addition to the daily baby aspirin. It seems to help, and it definitely decreases the occurrence of the ones that last only a few seconds. I also plan to get into slightly better physical condition. The severity of my symptoms and the sensitivity to the triggers seem to go in cycles where I'm very sensitive for a couple years, then much less sensitive for a few years (though maybe I was just in really good physical shape those years). Right now my doctor is calling it a migraine aura that occurs in the eye as opposed to the brain.

Very perplexing! I recommend just working out frequently and figuring out if you have any triggers and avoiding them--assuming we do indeed have the same problem.

Good luck to all!
Sept. 2, 2010

I've read this whole thread and printed out a few possible clues to my problem or a related one.

You don't any of you mention if you're diabetic, and if you've had cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy (extra blood vessels that have to be laser sealed) allergies, etc., none of which may be relevant in your case, I realize.

Since 2006 cataract surgery and a lens IMPLANT, I sometimes see reflected sunlight as if my implant might be whirling around, probably just fluid in the eye, and just the last couple of days, multi-colored very beautiful DUST particles! To a child it would be like "fairy" dust I suppose. Also when I look at my oil paintings, I seem to see beeswax shaped mosaics, and this morning there's a very tiny thin bit of glittler on the monitor screen, sometimes whirling, barely perceptible. Eyes are watery and I have allergies and a bit of "dry eye". I think I'll try to find my visine and see if that helps. Did anyone else try that? I'm in my seventies, btw, have been treated for retinopathy, had to go to a different opthalmologist to get the dye test which showed I needed laser treatment (4 sessions) and she still insists she can knew without testing. Medicare pays for the dye test once a year!

Your information is interesting and maybe you've heard of someone with my problem, will give me a link. Thanks.
It's a wonder how a simple internet search can obliterate feelings of isolation. About 6 months ago, I developed a blind spot that matches the descriptions of those mentioned here exactly, and it has been arduous trying to find anyone that understands. All of these posts have been very helpful and informative with their explanations and hypotheses, and I figure mine could add to the pool of information as a means to try and figure this out.

6 months ago I noticed a "camera flash-spot" exactly as described before, and while looking at my computer screen it appeared as though someone had splashed water onto a liquid-crystal display, with multicolor pixels flashing in cycles. I went to an opthamologist the next day, and thus began the series of fruitless tests, spread between a retinal specialist, a neuro-opthamologist, and a neurologist: retinal examinations, 3 fluoroscein angiograms, OCT, a test that I believe was a multi-focal electrical response test (which required me to wear clockwork orange-esque eye lenses), and an MRI. All showed no visible problems, and my eye was seen to be operating "perfectly", from the retina to the optic nerve.

I have noticed that in my particular case, I experience three types of spots now that happen in particular situations. The first are the random black spots and shapes that appear in my peripheral and sometimes central vision that flash when blinking and fade over roughly 20 minutes. The second appear only after drinking alcohol, and are much more profound in the blacking out of my vision. These flash while blinking as well, however clear up from the inside out over up to 14 hours or so, slowly giving way and disappearing while leaving only a faint shadow until the next day. The third are these silvery spots, which have occurred twice after the permanent one's appearance, however disappeared within 20 minutes of taking two extra-strength aspirin. The flash while closing my eyes with these appears as an intense yellow glow, as if I had stared at a flame for a long amount of time. I have begun to notice that this permanent spot appears to adapt to the background, and becomes prominently noticeable while shutting my "good eye" and looking at certain backgrounds. Other colors, such as red and green appear to mask it entirely, when I am certain it is the silvery-gray color that has been described prior. It also does not obscure my vision entirely, allowing slivers of the image behind it to peek through, giving it a somewhat shutter-like quality.

The black spots appear to act like very prolonged optical migraines it would seem, as they are triggered by a specific cause in the alcohol's case, and resolve themselves in a pseudo-normal fashion when compared to an optical migraine's course of events, according to my neurologist. These began to appear immediately after the permanent blind spot did as well. Combined with the fact that I smoke, the cause being some kind of vasoconstriction becomes very plausible.

But no less disconcerting. I have abstained from alcohol for 2 months now, and have not experienced the profound, day-long spots since, so there's that. I have cut down and attempted to quit smoking, however do not see a reduction in the others. Nicotine stays in the body for some days after even one cigarette, so the vasoconstricting effect would in theory still be present in my system.

I do wonder if this is related to migraine issues of some sort, as this now appears to gain support from the posts mentioning improvement with migraine-prevention vitamin regiments and the "persistent aura" condition. Aspirin, when taken immediately after noticing its appearance, appears to be a great help.

This has gone from being intensely frightening, to depressing, to completely preposterous and back again in the last 6 months. If any news arises on my end I'll be sure to share. I want to thank you guys for coming together and sharing these experiences, as up until this point I have simply felt lost and alone. It is immensely helpful to know that there are others who empathize.
Hello all. I found this board through Google, and I can't tell you how happy I was to do so.

A year and a half ago, I had cataract surgery. About a month later, I started experiencing a "spot" in my vision, just to the left of center. The spot would strobe and "roll," almost like an old tv that's vertical hold was off (now, doesn't that description date me??). I went to both my cataract surgeon and my retina surgeon (I have had a detached retina in both eyes related to Stickler's Syndrome), and neither could find anything wrong. My retina is in good shape, the lens is in good shape, and other than that spot, I can see fine.

The spot has remained since. Some days it is almost undetectable, some days it's so distracting that it's hard to read. I've seen my dr's numerous times since, and like most of you, they've found nothing wrong.

I did have one specialist mention the migraine thing. My father has a history of migraines, and I get them occasionally, and I have noticed that the spot gets more prominent when I have a headache (though what came first, the chicken or the egg on that?).

Anyway, thank you to all for sharing your experiences. I've got some avenues to research as a result, including perhaps not drinking for an extended period of time (I tend to drink wine once or twice a week) and see if that helps.
Hi Kabees,
I am new to this forum and just read your post from 2008 regarding your blind spots. You explained "exactly" what I have been experiencing since Nov 2010. I have been followed by a Retinal Specialist regularly, 2 Neuro Opthalmologists and have had every test done they could think of and all say they cannot find anything unusual in my vision. I also see crescent shaped images as well as the blind spots. Most of my blind spots are in my peripheral vision, some come and go but most stay. I am curious to know since 2008 did you ever get an answer to the cause and how is your vision today. I am completely beside myself with worry and am very frustrated that none of the doctors can find an answer. They continue to provide assurances that it is not serious but my concern is the blind spots will continue to accumulate to the point where it will begin to impact my vision. Would like to hear from you (now three years later) from your post. Thanks
Hi RJ Mac
I'm sorry that you're experiencing this. I know how frighting it feels to worry about what's going on with our vision. I eventually got diagnosed with persistent migraine aura by a neuro-opthomologist, as that was what he felt this was after several visits and reviewing all the other tests I had, plus my history of migraines. He also saw what looked like floaters sticking to my retina, and I have a few that float around like regular floaters. I'm near-sighted too.

Do you have any history of migraines? You mentioned you also get "crescent shaped images", I think some people see "c" shaped lines related to migraine. I sometimes see a pin-wheel shape around my central vision.

I still get temporary spots and flashes of colored lights all the time but I haven't gotten any of the permanent ones that turn into blind spots in a couple of years. For awhile it was frequent and it caused me so much worry. Luckily after a couple of years they seemed to subside and so far I just get the ones that last a few minutes or so. The old blind spots I got a few years ago are still there but I tune them out unless I try to look for them.
I'm not sure what might have caused it to settle down a little, but I was under a lot of stress at the time and when I started to relax more the eye issue seemed to as well. I don't take any preventive medications for migraines but I try to avoid things I know trigger the headaches.

One thing I've noticed that makes the flashing spots more likely to get worse is when I haven't eaten in awhile. If I go too long without eating and then start to get really hungry, I get more of the flashes in my eyes. When I eat it goes away. Another trigger is going from a light environment to a darker one - like outdoors to indoors. Both of those things also cause headaches for me as well, so there could be a connection.

I think we have the same thing and the doctors don't seem to understand it or see many people with our symptoms. I used to read a lot of the posts on this site and others and there are surprisingly quite a few people who describe similar issues. I think it needs to be studied more. I still worry about it because it can be so scary not really knowing what exactly it is and what if another spot appears, etc.

I hope the visual disturbances settle down for you as well, keep us posted if anything new comes up or you find out more about it. I know it's very hard but try not to let yourself get too consumed with stress over it. Feel free to send me a message anytime if you'd like.

Take care :)
Hi Kabees,
Thank you so, so much for responding to my inquiry. Interesting you mentioned migraines. One of my neuro opthalmologists I saw believes these crescent shaped images and blind spots are "complicated migraines". She said this is determiined by ruling out everything else. The latest neuro opthalmolgoist I saw (last week) believes it may be PVD (retinal tugging). I suffer from "classic migraines" since I was 12. With the classic migraines I get the full visual aura that lasts 20 mins or so followed by a terrible headache. In the cases of these other visual crescents and blind spots they are not like my typical migraine aura and they hang around for weeks with no headache. Like you the blind spots I got in November are still there and I too try to turn them out. The crescents last approx 6 - 8 weeks. My neuro opthalmolgost said stress can increase these "complicated migraines" which is a tough one to overcome as the visual issues have me very stressed. It's frustrating when none of the eye specialists I see can provide a definitive answer but they all provide reassurances they do not feel it is anything serious however, every time a new blind spot or bright crescent appears (which can be anywhere from once a week, couple of times a week or every other month) I cannot believe it is nothing serious. I also have a blood condition called "Essential Thrombocytosis" which is basically an overproduction of blood platelets. My hematologist evaluated to see if this may be causing the visual disturbances but does not believe my blood condition is related.

Your emessage was increadibly reassuring to see you seem to have overcome the issue and I too hope I will be able to get to that place as well.

I cannot thank you enough and very happy I found this forum to see what others also experience.

Take care,
I just found this thread. I've been having a lot of similar symptoms. I have ocular migraines and spots that don't go away. I currently have two, one in each eye. They seem to be in corresponding spots in my eyes. They're not exactly blind spots, but they are darker than my regular vision. I get random light flashes a lot too.

Anyway, this all started a few years ago, when I was 19 or so. I've had ophthalmologists say it is just ocular migraine, but the visual symptoms don't go away. I've also had an MRI and seen a neurologist who said I might have had a small stroke that was hard to detect on an MRI, but I don't feel like this was an accurate answer. It was more like "we have no idea what's going on, but here's a random guess."

I was terrified when all this first started, but I eventually got used to it. Now I'm worried I might be developing another spot, but I'm not sure. I'm scared of going blind, especially since no one has been able to accurately diagnose me.

Also I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and I worry it might make things worse.
When I was pregnant w/ my first child 6 years ago I developed a flashing light in my eye that does not go away for any long period of time, I now have a large blind spot in the area that the light flashes and my vision is deterioriating in that eye. I did notice the flashing becomes more rapid in times of stress or the morning after drinking, however the light is present daily, like a strobe light. I call it my indicator light. I am going tomorrow to boston to tuffts for an erg, but so far it looks like I have azoors and limited info b/c its so rare. Glad I'm not alone, but still freaked out. Really just want the flashing light to stop...6 years too long :)





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