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Old 08-08-2011, 11:47 AM   #1
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Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

When I was 23 I had a detached retina in my right eye, which required surgery (and the placement of a permanent buckle), I was also given a laser treatment to handle lattice issues in my left eye. I also was left with some tiny floaters, which donít obstruct my vision, but are annoying at times, especially initially when going outside into the sunlight.

For the past twenty years I have had yearly appointments with an ophthalmologist (past ten with the same one) specializing in retinal and vitreous problems. About 8 years ago, he gave me an additional laser treatment on my left eye, as he determined that the lattice would be less likely to tear with additional treatment. Everything has been fine with my yearly appointments since.

However, 6 years ago, I started to suffer from visual migraines, which would occur once every four or five months. No headache ever accompanied these events. My ophthalmologist, to be on the safe side, sent me to a Neurologist, and he sent me for an MRI with contrast. Nothing unusual was discovered. These migraines involved transparent/shimmering segments/crescents that moved from the center of my vision in both eyes to the periphery, and would be over in about 15-20 minutes. During that 15-20 minute block, when my eyes were closed, I could still see these figures. I have read a good deal about these visual migraines, and I am aware of the possible causation.

Five weeks ago, when I left my office on a particularly bright day, I noticed out of the bottom corner of my right eye, a tiny shimmering/sparkling area - somewhat like a very small circle of little sparkling dots - very subtle and transparent.

This is in just one eye (unlike my ocular migraines); does not move on its own from center to periphery (unlike my ocular migraines); cannot see it when I close my eyes (unlike my ocular migraines). It follows my line of vision, so if I rotate my eye right, it moves further to the right; when I look straight ahead, it is at the bottom of the corner of my glasses (right eye) - it acts just like my ďfloatersĒ - as my eyes move, so do they. It has been with me every day for the past five weeks (unlike my ocular migraines).

As a matter of fact, the only time I can see it is when I am outside during the daytime, and sometimes when I walk into a light room from a pitch black room. I donít see it when I am indoors, whether in a car, or in a building. It may still be there - I simply donít see it. Moreover, the longer I am outside, the less obvious it typically becomes. If I am walking from my office on a sunny day, I can see it out of the corner of my eye. However, after 5 minutes or so, I typically canít see it, even if I specifically try to locate it. However, I see it every time I initially leave a building or car and walk out into the world (even when it is a bit overcast). The only exception to the inside vs. outside rule is that in both instances when my pupils have been dilated for examination, I can see the shimmering/sparking area inside a building - when I look at my computer screen for example.

I went to see my ophthalmologist a couple of days after first noticing it, and he gave me a thorough examination (dilation/retinal exam) , a visual field test, typical visual acuity test/glaucoma test, etc. Vision was fine (nearsighted but correctable to 20/20) and he didnít see anything wrong (no new tears/lattice/detachment), and told me to come back in a month, though sooner if symptoms change. He indicated that given my history, and the symptoms, and the absence of a clear indication of anything wrong that typically the issue is a visual migraine, though he indicated that this would be a diagnosis by default (i.e. not finding any other clear causation). I came back today (a month later), and everything from his perspective still seems fine with my eye. He does not know what to make of the small shimmering area.

Any ideas?

 
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

dont take this the wrong way, but its nice knowing im not the only one that has this odd issue. only difference, youve had surgery, procedures etc. i have the same exact thing you do only in the center of my vision but ive never had anything done to my eyes. it just started happening. ive been to multiple visits and has been told that its just an air pocket in my retna? but they always tell me they cant be for sure thats what it is..and to come back in a month. i really wish i could figure this out!! it drives me crazy. its like little reddish orange tinged crystal spots. so very strange!

 
Old 06-11-2012, 06:00 PM   #3
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

I know it's been awhile since you posted but hopefully you will see this. I just started having the exact same issue but can't get in to see the doctor until Thursday. I was just wondering if you ever found out what was causing the shimmering spot?

 
Old 06-12-2012, 10:10 AM   #4
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

I have other posts about the same problem if you want to search for all of my posts on this site, reflecting different doctor's visits, responses to other people who have had similar problems. It may be helpful to look through them. But, in essence, the sense seems to be that i have some additional scarring due to the hardware (buckle) they placed in my eye many years ago due to my detached retina. However, this is a diagnosis of exclusion after misc OCTs, Visual Field Exams, multiple dilated eye exams and an MRI. Why don't you give us some more detail about what you are experiencing?

 
Old 06-12-2012, 04:07 PM   #5
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Thank you so much for responding. I will definitely check out your other posts. Basically what's happening to me is that Thursday night I was standing in my friend's living room and all of a sudden I saw a very small area just outside of my central line of vision to the top right that was shimmering/flickering like a movie projector. It does not expand and does not float around. It is always in the same spot. It is not noticeable 24/7 but happens several times a day. It does not effect my vision. It is just startling and an annoyance. I have been very myopic my entire life and have experienced flashes and floaters my entire life. My last eye exam is September of last year and everything was fine. This spot does not move unless I look around but it is always in the same spot even when I move my eye. I can also see it when I close my eyes. It's there even when I wake up in the morning. I have an appointment with an opthamologist Thursday afternoon but am just trying to ease my mind until then.

 
Old 06-13-2012, 07:08 AM   #6
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Just to clarify:

1. You say: it "does not move unless I look around but it is always in the same spot even when I move my eye." Just to clarify. Does it move at all when you look around? For example, when you look all the way to the left, does it move to the left, or is it still in the right part of your vision regardless of where you look?

2. Is it in both eyes, or just one? Important in determining whether it is something like PVD (age is significant here), or something like ocular migraines (which i also have), whether it is something specific to the eyes proper, or to the brain/nerves.

3. Does the phenomenon expand and contract depending on how long it persists, and when it does occur, does it simply stop after a certain period of time, e.g. 15 minutes, or does it stop when you move out of the light, out of the shade, etc?

4. You have it several times a day - for how many days have you had it? Does it ever skip a day?

5. Just to emphasize, i have no medical training, and my only knowledge comes from reading about these things due to my own specific problems. Eye problems are frustrating. So happy you have decided to see a doctor - a lot of people would simply wait.

6. Please don't forget to let us know how things turn out. If i had to guess, if it is both eyes, and it does come and go, I think you are experiencing ocular migraines, but that is only a very tenuous guess. You'll find a lot of info on them on the web. Do a search, and you will find plenty of descriptions from people who experience them.

 
Old 06-13-2012, 10:17 AM   #7
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Sorry, I should have clarified! If I look to the right it is still in the right of my vision. If I look to the left it is still in the right of my vision. It does not "float" across my vision and does not change position. It is only in one eye, the right one. I can not look directly at it so I can't tell if it has a particular shape. It also does not expand. I have read alot about ocular migraines and this does not seem like that as it is only in one eye and does not expand. I have no other visual disturbances related to this shimmering spot. When it happens it lasts for maybe 5 or 10 seconds and I am usually able to get it to go away by closing my eyes or turning the lights off until it goes away. It is not a bright light. I barely notice it at all when I am at work in front of my computer screen. Lights do seem to affect it. It has been happening on and off for 6 days now and has not skipped a day. Thanks for trying to help me figure this thing out! Lol.

 
Old 06-13-2012, 09:30 PM   #8
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Sure. I hope that everything works out. It seems to me that the biggest differences between our symptoms are: 1) My shimmering spot moves with the movement of my eye. if i look straight ahead, it is to the lower right. if i look to the left, it shifts to the left. and 2) I do not see it when i close my eyes.

Otherwise a lot of similarities. However, because of (1) and (2) I would guess that we are experiencing something different. it sounds like you have done your research - make sure you emphasize such differences to your doctor - it certainly will help him/her make a diagnosis. you may be given an OCT or visual field test, but these are pretty easy. They may also want to get a reading on the optic nerve for your affected eye. All of this is fairly standard, depending on how cautious the doctor is - keep that in mind. It is also possible that they will recommend an MRI - it is very common to do so as a precautionary measure, so don't assume the worst.

I will be thinking about you tomorrow, and hope that all turns out well. keep us up to date.

 
Old 06-13-2012, 10:17 PM   #9
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Thanks again for all of your help. I had an MRI done in 2009 but I guess that was too long ago to help with anything. I will definitely update you on their findings.

 
Old 06-14-2012, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Ok here's the update. My appointment today didn't go as well as I wanted it to. The good news is that I don't have any tearing in my retina, it is fine. However, my right optic nerve appears swollen. He spent a ton of time looking in my eyes with different lights and took pictures of my nerves. He said he doesn't think it is MS because I don't have any symptoms. I also don't have any symptoms of optic neuritis. Nothing other than the flicker of light. When he said that my optic nerve looked swollen I instantly remembered another eye doctor telling me that my optic nerve measured differently about four years ago. The doctor moved so I never went back for additional testing. This new doctor mentioned that it could be a calcium buildup but he wants me to have an MRI. He is happy that I had one three years ago after being told my optic nerve was swollen so we know a brain tumor is probably highly unlikely. He seems baffled that I have absolutely zero symptoms and said that my flash in my eye could be totally unrelated. Of course my anxiety level is now of the charts. I keep telling myself that because I've obviously had swelling in that nerve for many years and have not had any symptoms then hopefully that means it is benign. I'm trying not to freak out.

 
Old 06-15-2012, 06:02 AM   #11
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

It is good that you don't have something that would present an emergency threat such as a detached retina. When you mentioned that the affected area did not change position when you moved your eye, I suspected that it would have something to do with the optic nerve - the fact that you don't experience it in both eyes suggested it was happening on the eye side of the optic chiasm.

I've had a lot of problems with my eyes, and one of the biggest mistakes I've made has been to spend a good deal of my spare time trying to figure out what my symptoms could possibly mean. Please don't do this to yourself. You'll drive yourself crazy. for every symptom out there, there are 99 benign causes, and a couple serious ones. Being human, you'll focus on the serious ones There are many many reasons you could be having touble with your optic nerve. Don't look them all up. I have no medical training, but I know far more than I should about pathologies of the eye, because I have spent so much time worried about my eye issues. You have taken the necessary steps to resolving your problem by going to your doctor. If it makes you feel better to check out your symptoms on the internet you should, but take it all with a grain of salt and assume that benign explanations are lkely underrepresented.


Also, chances are that if it is optic neuritis, you would be experiencing other visual symptoms, and that you would have been experiencing them for some time now.

Good luck. I know it's scary not knowing. I've had an MRI for my symptoms, and they found nothing wrong. Hope yours is the same.

Keep us current. Please do not despair. I'll keep on checking back for updates.

 
Old 06-15-2012, 08:56 AM   #12
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Thank you. You've made me feel a little better. If you were me would you have the MRI and go back to the ophthalmologist or would you take your previous MRI to a neuro-opthalmologist and get a second opinion from a specialist before having another MRI done? I just don't want to have a bunch of unnecessary MRI's done because they are not cheap, even with insurance.

 
Old 06-15-2012, 10:30 AM   #13
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

That is a very difficult decision to make. You have to weigh and balance a lot of issues: cost, to what degree a new MRI would relieve your anxiety, what your doctor wants.

The key issue for me would be the following - you are experiencing a new symptom, regardless of whether you had swelling in your optic nerve before, so something new is probably happening. I tend to follow the recommendations of my doctor, but at the same time do research to confirm that what they suggest is necessary. You'll have to weigh and balance all of the factors.

Will the Opthalmologist give you a referral to the Neuro-opthalmologist without getting the MRI he has ordered?

 
Old 06-15-2012, 10:50 AM   #14
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

The good thing about my insurance doesn't require me to have a referral so I can go to any specialist I want.

 
Old 06-15-2012, 01:27 PM   #15
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Re: Transparent/Shimmering/Sparkling Area in One Eye

Nice insurance. Well, if you decide to go that route, let your ophthalmologist know, or make other arrangements to have the information he/she gathered from your recent exam to be sent to the neuro-ophthalmologist in order to see if things have changed since your exam.

Good luck. let us know how things go with whatever choice you make.

 
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