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Weird vision problem when I wake up..?

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Old 12-09-2009, 02:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: US
Posts: 450
Benit HB User
Weird vision problem when I wake up..?

Occasionally when I wake up from low quality sleep (often in the middle of the night, during a nightmare) I have some sort of closed eye visuals, as in colorful images and fractal-like patterns. I do not actually see them in my field of vision, but when I close my eyes, it seems like I "think" I'm seeing them. But that's just the first part of it.

Then what usually happens is I get some sort of "slight" vision change--I can look at my alarm clock and the numbers look different than usual, and my hands look different in some slight way, like the lines are more bold and noticeable. This only seems to happen when waking up from disturbed and/or low quality sleep. The longest the vision change lasted was 2 minutes, just recently in fact, and it freaked me out. But eventually I started some deep breathing exercises, moved around a little, and it went away. It always does go away, although the aformentioned episode was quite scary.

Seeing as this is exclusively a "waking phenomenon", some people have suggested it could be hypnopompia, in which I've awoken but some parts of my brain are still asleep. I'm not sure if the actual vision change could fit hypnopompia, though?? I can say that I do not get nausea or headache following it, although I have had a sensation of constant head pressure for 6 years now. I'm not a migraine sufferer, although some people like to call my head pressure "atypical migraine."

I have taken antidepressants for many years, and I do sometimes have large amounts of caffeine in the PM (surely it affects sleep) so its possible these two drugs may have something to do with it. The first time I noticed this phenomenon, I had been on an antidepressant for at least one year.

I also have anxiety disorder and can sometimes be prone to panic attacks. It seems the vision oddity when waking can put me in a panic attack, in fact. I'm 28 years old and the first time I noticed this phenomenon when waking up was 10 years ago. I'm asking about it now because it has now happened about 6 times in the last 2 weeks.

Anyone have some idea what this is.. without scaring me (hypochondriac, here)?

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Old 12-09-2009, 10:37 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 169
point08 HB User
Re: Weird vision problem when I wake up..?

I think it's a side effect of the anti depressants you are taking.

Old 12-09-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: US
Posts: 450
Benit HB User
Re: Weird vision problem when I wake up..?

Thanks for your response, point08.

Anyone else have any ideas, though?

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