Pinhole observation & double vision

Discussion in 'Eye-Care' started by Ron, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Ron

    Ron Guest

    I am now having double vision (actually triple vision) in one eye. My MD
    (Ophthalmologist) suspects an early stage cataract that 'could' have what he
    calls 'spokes' that can refract light, possibly giving a second image on the
    retina. Before taking any action he referred me to a Retina Specialist to
    rule out trouble in that area.

    The Retinologist (?) checked me out, and was pleased to hear that I had
    experimented with a pinhole in a business card. He said that my findings
    indicate the cause to be in the optics area of the eye, not the retina. My
    MD has never been interested in anything I have to report regarding the use
    of a pinhole.

    My MD said, at my follow-up visit, that my current astigmatism is corrected
    in my prescription, but he requested a special test to determine the actual
    shape of the cornea. The results showed that extreme astigmatism is present
    in both eyes. The reason I didn't notice the double vision in the left eye
    is because I have dry Macular Degeneration in that eye, and therefore do not
    see small objects . He has now referred me to a Cornea Specialist for
    further examination before making a decision on what must be done regarding
    my double vision.

    I have seen many excellent remarks made by members of this newsgroup, and
    hope that someone (Dr. Judy?) can offer information regarding what I am
    seeing with the use of a pinhole.

    I found that by making the pinhole smaller than a thumbtack sized hole I can
    clearly see what appears to be similar to what one would see when looking
    through a microscope & water on a slide. When I slowly move the card away
    from my eye I can see a detailed an image of many small round or elongated
    things that look like bubbles (they do not move about). My wife and a
    neighbor can see the same thing using this technique.

    The difference between what I see and what my wife sees is this: I see a
    dark figure shaped something like the side view of a perched bird, with the
    tail at about at the 5 o'clock position, and a small head bent down from the
    body near the middle of the picture (much like the profile of a blackbird
    with his head & beak facing forward). This image does not rotate if I rotate
    the card.

    I've discovered that if I slowly move the card away from my eye while
    looking at a small bright light in the distance I see a single light at
    about the 8 o'clock position, below the blackbird. But if I move the card
    slightly to the left the small light JUMPS to the right, behind the
    blackbird. If instead I move the card downward the light JUMPS to the 11
    o'clock position, above the blackbird's head. I feel that this explains the
    triple vision phenomenon, as without a pinhole I actually see three lights
    (6-headlights in the case of an oncoming vehicle at night). One more thing
    of interest is that when I move the pinhole card around, and keep my eye
    looking at the spot it was originally, the blackbird stays visible in the

    I mentioned this to my MD and asked if he could explain what I was looking
    at; the cornea? the lens? the retina? He said that he didn't have a clue,
    and dropped it there. I really think this information is valuable and
    important in determining my condition and making the necessary

    Can anyone offer information regarding the picture my wife * I see, and then
    what the blackbird object I alone see in the object? I believe the object
    is what must be somehow dealt with. If this is what my MD refers to as
    'spokes', then possibly removal of the cataract will cure the problem.

    I tried to make this brief, but obviously failed to do so. In any event I
    would appreciate any thoughts regarding what this 'blackbird' thing is, and
    where it is located. I have no way to determine what I'm actually focusing
    Ron, Apr 8, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. Ron

    Ron Guest

    I've already apologized for the lengthy post, and regret sounding
    'repetitive', but found it difficult to describe so that a reader could get
    an idea of what I see using the pinhole.

    I posted to this group basically because my own MD has little (spelled
    'none') interest in the information, and has no idea what I actually looking
    at when using the pinhole. With only one good eye, I cannot afford to be a
    target for trial & error exploratory surgery.

    Reading previous posts to this group I was impressed with the reports given
    by patients as well as suggestions offered by professionals and by those
    with prior experience dealing with like problems. I had hoped for something
    similar. So far there has been none of these expected responses. Either my
    post was not clear enough, despite its length, or no one has experienced
    anything similar, even a professional.

    Ron, Apr 9, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. Ron

    Salmon Egg Guest

    That is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard. Physicians
    should know a fair about of physics and chemistry among other things.
    Otherwise, they are cookbook biological techs. From x-rays, sphygmometers,
    ultrasound scanners, and even phoropters, medical instruments are key to
    medial determinations. The more my doctor understands the capabilities and
    limitations of his/her instruments, the more confidence I will have.

    Use of the pinhole is a crude method of distinguishing refractive problems
    from sensory (retinal) problems. I would hope that for anything serious,
    there will be further investigation. Using a pinhole to select one of
    multiple images because of a cataract seems pretty straightforward to me. I
    do not need a decade of medical school and residency to understand that.

    -- Fermez le Bush--about two years to go.
    Salmon Egg, Apr 9, 2007
  4. Ron

    Don W Guest


    There is one thing I am wondering about, is what you see when
    looking at an Amsler Grid. Skipping the pinholes for a moment. The
    reason I am asking is that about a month ago some people (on a macular
    degeneration forum) were reporting (additional) double lines on that
    grid, that however seemed to be a temporary phenomenon.

    A grid is available at:

    but that is white on black. Maybe a black on white is more
    sensitive. Good luck.

    Don W.
    Don W, Apr 9, 2007
  5. Ron

    Don W Guest

    How are we saying the problem is "not refractive"? The spoked
    cataract can produce double vision. And he has it.

    Don W.
    Don W, Apr 9, 2007
  6. Ron

    Ron Guest

    I appreciate the feedback. My reason for telling my doctor and this group,
    is only because I am the only person on earth who can actually see what I
    see. I assumed that by passing along the information regarding what I see,
    it would help the doctor determine a probable cause & cure. I was
    disappointed when no one is interested in what I had to say. I also thought
    it interesting to note that a small light would literally jump from one
    place in my vision to another when the pinhole is moved horizontally, giving
    me a double image without the pinhole.

    I assumed I was providing important information, but apparently I was wrong.
    Perhaps mentioning my double vision to my doctor in the first place was
    wrong too, but how else would the he know?

    Thanks for your time - Ron
    Ron, Apr 9, 2007
  7. Ron

    Don W Guest

    Well, I don't think you should react that way. Your first note, I
    think, throws light on how this problem can be viewed. Literally. My
    own personal view is that the vision patient can see his problems
    better provided he makes an effort to do so.

    Don W.
    Don W, Apr 10, 2007
  8. I think both statements are innacurate. Cataracts cloud or otherwise
    obscure the refractive situation of the eye and can induce various
    refractive errors, including regular astigmatism, myopic shifts,
    irregular astigmatism, and polyopsia, all of which are refractive
    problems. Not all refractive problems can "easily be corrected with
    glasses", that's for sure. All optical aberrations are refractive
    problems by definition.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Apr 10, 2007
  9. Ron

    Don W Guest

    Asking the same question as before. How would the Amsler grid be
    seen with this condition?

    Don W.
    Don W, Apr 10, 2007
  10. The kind of triple vision commonly coming from a cataract will not
    affect the Amsler grid, except perhaps to blur it. Amsler grid
    double/distorted lines are cause by retina problems.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Apr 10, 2007
  11. Ron

    Salmon Egg Guest

    Unless you are in bright light and using a small pinhole, diffraction should
    not be much of a problem. Loss of light because the pinhole is smaller than
    your your pupil is likely to limit your vision before diffraction does. That
    is why pinhole "glasses" to not replace real glasses.

    In my case, the information I got by using a pinhole satisfied some of my
    curiosity. I could tell that seeing eight traffic lights instead of one was
    because a cataract was forming.

    -- Fermez le Bush--about two years to go.
    Salmon Egg, Apr 10, 2007
  12. Ron

    Salmon Egg Guest

    It IS a refractive problem! It just cannot be corrected with spherical and
    cylindrical lenses because high order aberrations are introduce. Moreover,
    even if you could correct, the nature of the cataract is to change.
    Presumably, if it were possible to figure the crystalline lens the same way
    lasik figures the cornea, then it would be possible to tolerate the
    refractive effects of cataracts for a longer time.

    -- Fermez le Bush--about two years to go.
    Salmon Egg, Apr 10, 2007
  13. Ron

    Salmon Egg Guest

    It sure worked for me!

    -- Fermez le Bush--about two years to go.
    Salmon Egg, Apr 10, 2007
  14. Ron

    Don W Guest

    I can see where retinal problems cause bent, missing, or grayed
    areas. But what retinal problem would cause a doubled line in the
    Amsler Grid? Of all the examples of the use of the Amsler Grid, not
    such a configuration is exampled.

    Don W.
    Don W, Apr 10, 2007
  15. No you don't. For example, irregular astigmatism. I think it would be
    better to say "...then you know there is a refractive component to the

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Apr 10, 2007
  16. Ron

    Don W Guest

    If the macula is elevated (say due to some neovascular problem),
    then usually the lines are bent (standard optics). It may be that in
    this process lines get paralleled and appear "doubled". But what I
    mean is the _same_ (input) line viewed twice. Maybe the "standard"
    Amsler grid should have alternating colors in the grid. That would
    help in the differing of lines "doubling" vs lines being crowded

    Don W.

    PS. Just our of curiosity, just why isn't there a prescribed best fit
    Amsler grid? One that can optimize the patient's response to his
    Don W, Apr 10, 2007
  17. Ron

    Salmon Egg Guest

    That is crazy! When cataracts were formed in my eye, pinholes did improve my
    acuity. Maybe pinholes are not useful long term, but with a pinhole I could
    usually select one of the multiple traffic light images I could perceive
    without a pinhole.

    -- Fermez le Bush--about two years to go.
    Salmon Egg, Apr 11, 2007
  18. Ron

    Ron Guest

    As a closing remark, I would like to remind you that my personal experience
    with the pinhole gives me the following:

    At first it would improve my vision, reducing the double vision to normal.
    HOWEVER, after using it more, I could see that there was a vague line
    running from lower right to upper left, and if I would move the pinhole
    slightly the object would literally JUMP across the vague line, from the
    left side to the right. And if I were to look at a word like 'spelling',
    the first few letter would appear in the left lower half, and the rest of
    the word would appear in to upper right, slightly ABOVE the letters in the
    left side. Its no wonder I am having trouble trying to read.

    I found that if I were to make the pinhole smaller, then draw the hole
    slowly away from my eye, I could actually focus on something that appeared
    to be a microscopic view of water on a slide, and there was a black object
    running from the 5 o'clock position to the center with a slight tip off
    toward the left at the center. I have referred to this as a 'blackbird'
    because of its shape & color. When I rotated the card the 'bird' did not
    rotate with it, but objects viewed would jump across the 'body', or up and
    down across its 'head'. One last observation is that if I move the hole
    around my focal point (peripheral) I can still see the 'bird', unmoving in
    the hole, still black, and still shaped like a perched bird.

    I took this information to my doctor, assuming it was of value in his search
    for a cause. I still don't know where the object I see is located, thinking
    that if anyone knew, it would help narrow the search for the cause. I
    believe this is a real object, not a result of strange things caused
    mysteriously. As with Bill, it allows me to actually separate and see the
    two (or three) objects that destroy my normal vision.

    Several of you tend to think this is being caused by a cataract, and if left
    unattended, could go away as the cataract grows. This option would eliminate
    the risks that go along with surgery. However, with today's advanced
    technology in cataract surgery, this may be the way to go. I just don't
    want to risk losing vision in my 'good eye'.

    I appreciate your interest, experience, and expertise, Ron
    Ron, Apr 11, 2007
  19. Ron

    David Combs Guest

    Question from mere layman:

    "if vision improves with a pinhole":

    Question: what effect from a pinhole?

    (All I know about pinholes (what, f-stop 500 or more?) is that
    you get huge depth-of-field. Like, with that, you don't need
    any glasses at all! (that is, just plain magnifying or
    the opposite ones))

    Is that the effect that's used in the "pinhole test"?


    David Combs, Apr 24, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.