Blinking shadows in time with heartbeat

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by mr.lurkermeister, May 15, 2005.

  1. Greetings,

    I've got pretty bad nearsightedness, (around -9.75 in each eye).

    I've had problems for a few years now with massive numbers of
    floaters, flashing lights, and sometimes when I sneeze or cough real
    hard, I see what look like fireflies blinking on and off all over in
    front of me.

    My eye doc has examined me several times for retinal holes and tears,
    but hasn't found any yet. He has observed "quite a bit" of what he
    calls "lattice degeneration". He just says the stuff I'm seeing is a
    normal part of getting older (I'm only 27!).

    I've also complained to him of flashing lights that I can see at night
    with my eyes closed when I move my eyes. I.e., in a dark room, eyes
    closed, when I move my eyes left to right I'll see flashes on the sides
    of my vision. I went in for an exam after this and was again told that
    there are no holes or tears.

    Well, I've got a new strange occurance and am about to schedule another
    apointment, but just hoped to get a little information beforehand.

    Recently I've noticed that when I really get my heart pumping and
    producing a heavy beat, I see a dimming of my vision that goes in time
    with the heartbeat. Sometimes it can get pretty bad, enough that it
    looks like someone is flicking the lights on and off. What is this?

    Does the stuff I've described sound like things that I just have to
    wait on, i.e. don't worry nothing can be done about them? Or should I
    be looking at going to a different doctor to have someone else look at
    this stuff.

    My nightmare is that I'm going to sneeze too hard someday and go blind
    from a retinal detachment or something.
    mr.lurkermeister, May 15, 2005
  2. You are right to be concerned about these symptoms, but don't get
    carried away. I mean all 10 D myopes are in the same boat, and most of
    them never detach. Having said that, don't take up prize fighting or
    gymnastics. The pulsile changes in your vision can indicate a blood
    pressure or intraocular pressure problem, but nothing of an emergency
    nature. Just make sure your bp is normal and your iops are normal, and
    if they aren't, take care of it medically. And don't socialize with the
    likes of Mike Tyson. You'll do fine.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, May 16, 2005
  3. mr.lurkermeister

    LarryDoc Guest

    Add lattice generation, high myopia and symptoms as you describe, no
    resolution from your doctor and the advice is: go see another eye
    doctor, tomorrow. You may indeed have something as simple as a vitreous
    detachment along with the lattice and that is causing your symptoms, or
    it could be he/she missed seeing the real cause. And that, combined with
    your added symptom of dimming vision with elevated heart activity is far
    more worrisome. You should see an internist/cardiologist in conjunction
    with your *new* eye doctor and until you have this figured out, I would
    avoid any kind of strenuous activity that causes increased heart rate
    and blood pressure.

    I'd suggest you move on this first thing in the morning. I don't think
    it is appropriate to list the possible causes, as there are many, but I
    will say that although some of them are quite serious---most can be
    treated to prevent serious outcomes.

    Do let us know what you learn.

    --LB, O.D.
    LarryDoc, May 16, 2005

  4. Thanks for the reply.

    I check my blood pressure regularly and it's normal. If I remember
    correctly, the intraocular pressure is checked at my annual exams and
    has never been out of the ordinary ... hopefully that'll be the case at
    this next exam too.

    Are there any other things that could explain the darkening that goes
    along with my pules? Just something that comes along with my crappy
    eyes I suppose.
    mr.lurkermeister, May 16, 2005
  5. I see that Larry is more concerned about the pulsile dimming than I am.
    I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry. But what causes this is
    when the intraocular pressure is greater than the diastolic blood
    pressure (at eye level; NOT the same as in your arm at heart level, as
    is usually measured), the eye momentarily "blacks out". So maybe your
    blood pressure is LOW. That would cause this, especially if you're
    artificially raising your eye pressure, as by "squeezing" (e.g., and
    sorry to be graphic about this, but does this by any chance only happen
    when you're on the toilet?). The little arterioles in the eye can get
    flattened out momentarily because the surrounding fluid pressure in the
    eye is briefly higher and it "flattens" the little hoses. No biggie.

    Just make sure your iops are not too high and your bp is not too low.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, May 16, 2005
  6. mr.lurkermeister

    LarryDoc Guest

    And knowing that his bp and iop are "normal", my concern continues.
    Something is causing the vascular - retinal change and that needs to be

    --LB, O.D.
    LarryDoc, May 16, 2005
  7. I would also think about carotid artery stenosis, and possibly a "steal"

    A steal syndrome detours blood destined for your head to some other part of
    the body, due to an arterial problem. Organs that need more blood, during
    exercise or digestion, for example, can "steal" it from the arteries going
    up to the head, and cause a depresion in the blood pressure going to the

    If a carotid artery is very narrow, it can take a high pressure to get it
    through to the brain. Exercise can again cause a lower blood pressure to
    this area, if it going to the muscles, and the pressure gradient to get
    across a narrowed carotid ma not be there, causing dimming and pulsation in
    the eye. This would be in 1 eye only. Narrowing of the vertebral-basilar
    artery system, posteriorly, would affect blood to both occipital areas,
    causing a bilateral dimming.

    Cardiac reasons can lower blood pressure temporarily, causing bilateral
    dimming also.

    Lot of systemic reasons for symptoms like these are possible. This is where
    medicine is an important part of understanding the visual symptoms.
    David Robins, MD, May 16, 2005
  8. mr.lurkermeister

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    Do you suffer from unusual shortness of breath? Are you extremely tall
    and thin? Did you ever have rheumatic fever?

    Dr. Leukoma, May 16, 2005
  9. Not that I've noticed.
    5'11", 245 lbs
    mr.lurkermeister, May 16, 2005
  10. mr.lurkermeister


    Dec 12, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Heyy I have exactly the same, r u still alive? Im also 27 but in 2022 so u r kinda my future. Hope you read this.
    anrxmimi3000, Dec 12, 2022
  11. mr.lurkermeister


    Apr 12, 2023
    Likes Received:
    I also have this. It just happened while I was taking a hot shower. For more info: I have myopia and I get visual aura migraines. I had one earlier today. Thanks to anyone who replies in the future.
    flashyeyeballs, Apr 12, 2023
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