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  • I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

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    Old 12-04-2009, 05:15 AM   #1
    macanon
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    I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    Hi, I wonder if anyone can help me please. I’m new to the boards and have tried to find existing posts related to my problem but can’t.

    I have recently been undergoing hospital tests, but have been discharged without diagnosis as nobody knows what is wrong with me! I have had an MRI scan of my brain (all clear) and also several EEGs to test for epilepsy (nothing detected).

    Every single day, anything up to about 6 times a day, I experience a change in my perception where colours seem overly bright and everything is very vivid. These “episodes” only last for about 10-15 seconds and I don’t experience any other symptoms (such as headache, nausea, dizziness, unusual sounds or smells). I can continue to function completely normally and nobody else would know I was having this experience unless I told them. However, it is unusual and distracting!

    The symptoms started about 5 years ago and for about 2 years were not as extreme as I describe now, so I was actually unable to define what was happening, and hence didn’t see a doctor. For years they did not alter at all, and then suddenly got worse (colours got brighter, like when you turn up the colour and contrast on your TV set). Recently they have changed again, and now everything seems to stretch slightly in shape during these episodes.

    Incidentally, I am not taking (nor have I ever taken) mind-altering drugs! As far as I remember, there was no trigger for these “episodes” – I did not have a head injury or major illness. (I am 36 year old white British female, by the way, in case that’s relevant)

    It is definitely a brain issue and not my eyesight as my eyes have been tested and there is nothing wrong with them, plus I can almost “feel” it happening in my head. Recently, they have started happening during my sleep and wake me temporarily – even in the dark when no colours can be seen, I can “feel” it. Also, just before they happen in my sleep, I see a very fleeting image, extremely vividly, almost like a dream but so quick and almost subliminally I can rarely remember what the image was when I wake up.

    So to sum up – 10-15 second episodes daily when everything I am looking at becomes extremely bright and colours are more vivid, sometimes accompanied by a slight stretching out of shape. They happen at any time (including when I am asleep) but I cannot bring them on at will.

    It is not a migraine (I’ve had one of those and it’s completely different) and I don’t experience any other symptoms but it is distracting and worrying.

    Has anybody out there ever heard of or experienced anything similar? I would love to hear from you!

    Many thanks.

     
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    Old 12-04-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    I have complete empathy for you.I take Lorazepam for my anxiety.It has helped me and has sold 22 million prescriptions last year per AARP of 10/09. Please consider
    that perhaps this would be helpful.I had trouble with taking one pill several years ago.This gave me wild stuff,and to this day,double vision came on board with one pill.
    Yellow pages in phone books became one glob of black paint...very scarey.Eyes still hurt at times.I know how eyes are all important. God bless... Bill

     
    Old 12-05-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    wow that IS pretty crazy to just have happen with no appearent reason like the pre migrane aura we can get witht hem? i a,m just wondering if you have ever actually been seen by a specialist called a neuro opthamologist? these types of eye specialists just deal much more with the effects the brain can have on vision, espescially from trauma or spinal cord injury, but THIS would be the type of doc who would more than likely be the type who could put ANY possible brain 'reasons' for your actual vision problem together for you. just wanted to mention this incase you have never seen this particular type of specialist? i just do really thinktnis particular type of doc would be your very best bet at possibly finding the real underlying reason for the overly sensitive color reactions you have been having. i wish you luck in finally finding the real Dx of this. please keep us posted. marcia
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    Old 12-05-2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    Hi, thank you so much for your replies, it's really kind of you to take the trouble to do so.

    The only doctors I have seen are my GP and a consultant neurologist (and a million nurses!).... I'll certainly enquire if I can see the neuro opthamologist though. They seemed pretty fixed on the idea it was epilepsy, hence all the EEG tests, but I've been sure from the start that it's not that! (and the EEGs showed no evidence of epilepsy)

    My experience of a pre-migraine aura was also completely different (during the one migraine I had) - I had zig-zag lines in the peripheral vision of my right eye... and then a headache like you wouldn't believe!

    In a way, these episodes aren't unpleasant and when I had one watching a beautiful sunset in the Mediterranean, it was amazing to see the colours brighter still!

    But it can't be right or healthy... and as the symptoms have changed over time, I just worry what might be coming next. I wondered if it was a vision thing, and if I was posting on the right board or not, but as they happen in the dark with my eyes closed, I'm more inclined to think it's my brain and my perception of what I am seeing, rather than my eyesight.

    I'll certainly keep you informed...

    Many thanks.

     
    Old 12-05-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    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.

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

    Last edited by hb-mod; 12-27-2009 at 12:59 AM. Reason: Removed quote of the immediately preceding post. Please use Quick Reply instead of Quote Reply. Thanks.

     
    Old 12-06-2009, 08:24 AM   #6
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    dont cha just LOVE those 'specialists' or primarys who DESPITE the correlating test results that would confirm or deny a particular Dx or condition being responsible STILL continue to INSIST that 'this IS what you are suffering from? thats what they tell patients when they don't have a freaking clue.

    i just really DO feel that the neuro op would indeed be the best type of doc to move onto next, even more now, lol. geez. i mean despite any evidence to back up this dx, we are just going to 'label' you with having it? the neuro ops just KNOW how the brain can impact vision much much moreso than with any other type of real specialist. this is exactly where i would ask to be referred to, asap. YOU just do deserve much better care and treatment and diagnostics than you have been getting, thats for certain. a real solid Dx would be kind of nice for a change. good luck with this and please let me know what you find out,K? marcia
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    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

     
    Old 12-07-2009, 09:22 AM   #7
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    Hi everyone

    Sadly it's certainly true they don't have a clue what's wrong, although I cannot believe I am the only person EVER to have presented these symptoms! That's why I found these boards in the end... just to see if anyone out there is experiencing the same thing. As I said, they're not particularly debilitating or unpleasant (hence the docs discharging me, as I don't think I'm in serious danger) but it would be nice to know what it is and prevent the "episodes", if possible. Or at least know they're not going to get any worse.

    I didn't really mention before that they seem to happen more when I am tired or under stress - the only day I have had without one in the past few years was when I was relaxed on holiday for a week. And then it was only one day out of a week's holiday - they happened all the other days!

    Aside from this, I am otherwise in good health and nobody else in my family has ever reported these problems. A mystery!!

    So if anyone has a clue, please let me know! And for those who have responded, many thanks for your support.

    Best wishes.

     
    Old 12-13-2009, 06:50 PM   #8
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    this afternoon I had something similar to what you're describing. I posted it in the "eyes" section of healthboards.
    I don't think we're supposed to double post. I also have a slight head pain on the same side of my head and will call the doctor in the morning.

     
    Old 12-14-2009, 10:58 AM   #9
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    Hi eyesworld, thanks very much for your response. I'm sorry to hear you've experienced something similar too - I will check out your post in the Eyes section.

    Very best of luck at the doctors, I hope they can help you. If you get any kind of diagnosis, would you please be kind enough to post and let me know?

    Thank you and good luck again.

    Best wishes.

     
    Old 01-02-2010, 05:55 PM   #10
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    I very much can relate to what you are describing. My experience is also increased contrast, usually with a reddish hue. Sometimes everything looks like fog or smoke, that can last for 20 minutes. I have been to two neuro-ophthalmologists, they could not explain it.
    My symptoms were caused by a traumatic brain injury.
    My understanding is that an EEG might not detect abnormalities deep enough into the brain matter and cannot absolutely rule out simple partial seizures. I am taking an anticonvulsant and it helped to calm it down.

     
    Old 01-03-2010, 08:07 AM   #11
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    Hi biminia, thanks very much for your reply. I'm sorry to hear about your experience, especially a traumatic brain injury.

    Your symptoms do sound similar to mine, although mine do not last as long, nor have the fog/smoke effect. In fact, since my last post, they have changed again (this is the worry - what will they become next?) and now when I have an "attack", everything distorts to become slightly wider, and appears to zoom in towards me. Thankfully they are still only lasting 10-15 seconds.

    Thanks for the EEG and the anticonvulsants info .... I hope your symptoms settle down.

    Best wishes.

    Last edited by macanon; 01-03-2010 at 08:07 AM.

     
    Old 01-03-2010, 12:18 PM   #12
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    I wasn't very clear, my thinking gets foggy too, so I'll try again.

    My vision changes (assessment of size, movement, orientation) were caused by biomechanical diffuse axonal shearing. I had severe visual comprehension problems, double vision, no depth perception and didn't recognize individual things. Then had vision therapy for 1 1/2 years and continued therapy for several more years on my own and still continue to improve. Diagnosis was post traumatic vision syndrome.

    Additionally, colors get stronger and brighter with sharp edges. Sometimes it looks like there are several edges. This slowly increases and decreases throughout the day depending on stress and activity. Maybe water intake has something to do with that too. I also see bright yellowish fast moving lights and overall patterns.
    The smokiness happens only several times a year. Often, the only color I can make out is faint pink. The worst one lasted for the rest of the day and was gone by the next morning. This has been going on for 7 years but improved greatly with medication that I have been taking for about 5 years. So it took 2 years to find a remedy that worked. My diagnosis for this was physiologic non-epileptic seizure disorder.

    A neuro ophthalmologist should be able to identify the cause and give recommendations. Sadly, both of mine did superficial exams, had technicians do the acuity testing. So, insist on an extensive exam by the n/o. Depending on insurance billing, that is a 30 or 45 minute exam. It is important that you find the cause of this. It could be a virus that runs its course or something that needs to be investigated promptly before it gets worse.

    Keep a symptom diary. You may think you will remember, however that will rarely happen. Prepare a list for your doctor besides your medical history and medication. Describe your symptoms, when they started, how long they last, what relieves or worsens it, how it changed over time.

    I wish you all the best.

     
    Old 01-03-2010, 12:49 PM   #13
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    It is possible to have "silent migraines" with no pain but other neurological symptoms including vision changes.
    (I had silent migraines with vertigo as my primary symptom for years.)
    I would ask the neurologist about this.

     
    Old 01-06-2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    Hi biminia and alborde, thank you both for your responses.

    alborde - good point, the neurologist did say there was a chance it could be migraine-related, and did suggest I could take beta-blockers to see if this would help. However - they come with their own side effects, and since it wasn't a definite diagnosis but a "well, MAYBE it's migraine and you could TRY these drugs" vague theory, I didn't fancy taking the drugs for no reason. I sympathise with your vertigo, that must be tough.

    biminia - good heavens, that sounds extremely traumatic, I'm very sorry. Hopefully with medication you're able to lead as near to "normal" life as possible, I really hope so. You have a definite point about a symptom diary - to me, they appear so completely random that I have never seen any pattern or connection (other perhaps than stress/tiredness). But then I never have actually written it all down, I could well spot something if I did. Thank you.

    Incidentally - I haven't had any today... but woke from them about 5 times in the night! We'll see how I sleep tonight.....

    Thank you both again, and best wishes.

     
    Old 03-02-2011, 06:24 AM   #15
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    Re: I see bright vivid colours - frequent episodes of changed perception

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macanon View Post
    Hi, I wonder if anyone can help me please. I’m new to the boards and have tried to find existing posts related to my problem but can’t.

    I have recently been undergoing hospital tests, but have been discharged without diagnosis as nobody knows what is wrong with me! I have had an MRI scan of my brain (all clear) and also several EEGs to test for epilepsy (nothing detected).

    Every single day, anything up to about 6 times a day, I experience a change in my perception where colours seem overly bright and everything is very vivid. These “episodes” only last for about 10-15 seconds and I don’t experience any other symptoms (such as headache, nausea, dizziness, unusual sounds or smells). I can continue to function completely normally and nobody else would know I was having this experience unless I told them. However, it is unusual and distracting!

    The symptoms started about 5 years ago and for about 2 years were not as extreme as I describe now, so I was actually unable to define what was happening, and hence didn’t see a doctor. For years they did not alter at all, and then suddenly got worse (colours got brighter, like when you turn up the colour and contrast on your TV set). Recently they have changed again, and now everything seems to stretch slightly in shape during these episodes.

    Incidentally, I am not taking (nor have I ever taken) mind-altering drugs! As far as I remember, there was no trigger for these “episodes” – I did not have a head injury or major illness. (I am 36 year old white British female, by the way, in case that’s relevant)

    It is definitely a brain issue and not my eyesight as my eyes have been tested and there is nothing wrong with them, plus I can almost “feel” it happening in my head. Recently, they have started happening during my sleep and wake me temporarily – even in the dark when no colours can be seen, I can “feel” it. Also, just before they happen in my sleep, I see a very fleeting image, extremely vividly, almost like a dream but so quick and almost subliminally I can rarely remember what the image was when I wake up.

    So to sum up – 10-15 second episodes daily when everything I am looking at becomes extremely bright and colours are more vivid, sometimes accompanied by a slight stretching out of shape. They happen at any time (including when I am asleep) but I cannot bring them on at will.

    It is not a migraine (I’ve had one of those and it’s completely different) and I don’t experience any other symptoms but it is distracting and worrying.

    Has anybody out there ever heard of or experienced anything similar? I would love to hear from you!

    Many thanks.
    I was just browsing and searching. But everything seems bright and glowing today. Been like that for a couple hours. So was checking stuff out online. I was wondering if they ever figured out what was the problem with your eyes. Thanks....

     
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