Hi. A few days ago I started to see cobwebby shapes flickering on the edge of my right eye. I got very frightened. I took myself to the nearest eye hospital and they did all kinds of tests, and told me there was nothing I could do about this, that it was my age (I am 60), and that they would go away or I would get used to them.
Since then my vision seems to have got more blurry. Yesterday I was working on my computer, which I have to wear reading glasses to read, when suddenly it seemed as if everything went out of focus and I couldn't focus at all! I looked up from the computer and over my glasses and all that was blurred too. Eventually it righted itself but things are still pretty blurry. Sometimes also it seems as if the whole room is spinning!
Can anyone tell me what might cause this and should I still be worried?
I had my eyes tested only a few months ago.
It's very worrying because I am a professional writer and I'm frightened that I won't be able to write!
Spinning rooms are neurological, though not usually serious. Anything that affects blood flow to your head/eyes can cause problems. Low blood pressure, low blood sugar, irregular heartbeat, viruses, hardening of the arteries, etc., etc., and more etcs.
The spidery web things could be vitreous detachment. You're at the right age for that. It happens to most people. Read up on it and see if it fits. Search for either vitreous detachment or posterior vitreous detachment.
Did they not say anything about posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)?
The symptoms you describe, the unilateral aspect and your age all make that highly probable. It's a normal phenomenon that occurs in most people over 50 years of age and often goes unnoticed. They say that 75% have it by the age of 80.
It is where the vitreous gel inside the eye separates from the retina.
I suffered a complication of this process in 2007 and am still undergoing investigations. It happens that I am also a professional writer.
yes indeed they did talk about vitreous detachment and gave me a leaflet explaining what it was.
It's not that which concerns me so much as the feeling that I couldn't focus on anything for quite a while - a real and frightening sense of everything going out of focus. It feels also sometimes as if my eyeballs wont move fast enough, there's a heaviness there, if that's clear.
My long-sighted vision is on the whole fine. I was told in fact that it was excellent by the hospital when they made me read letters on a chart.
Could it just be eyestrain? As a writer I do spend rather too much time perhaps at the computer.
The blurred vision is one of the typical symptoms of PVD. The vitreous gel inside the eye gradually peels away from the rear inner surface, including the retina and, over an indeterminate period of weeks or months, that process exerts a degree of tension on the inner surface of the eye. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that it upsets the focus, particularly in older people who have less ability to make rapid changes in focal distance.
If the hospital doctors have sent you away with a leaflet on PVD, then it seems they are confident there is nothing else wrong with your eyes.
As for the heavy feeling, I am not sure but I suppose it could be a symptom of fatigue. It would probably be best to discuss that with your doctor and he/she might recommend blood tests to assess your overall state of health.
Excessive use of the computer may be a factor. That's why larger companies have imposed breaks for employees who use computers continuously. Those of us who work independently should perhaps follow the same rules but I know how difficult that is to do.
The present financial crisis is certainly very worrying for people who rely on their own efforts to make a living but your health is the most important asset in your life so I wish you luck in getting a rapid solution.
This perhaps could be explained by a combination of things. As we mentioned, vitreous detachment could be a factor. Brian mentioned briefly the difficulty in changing focus at your age. This could be the other factor. You wear reading glasses for the computer because the lens in your eye in no longer as flexible as it once was. When keeping a static focus for a considerable length of time, it can then be a little difficult to switch focus immediately. When working on the computer for extended periods, shift your focus every little while.
Most people who wear glasses for computer use have a prescription for midrange or progressives, i.e., not reading glasses, per se. Since you spend a lot of time at the computer, you might want to look into this.