The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
MEMum presents the second article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Feeling spaced out/visual floaters

Discussion in 'Neurological/Neuro-sensory' started by kiwigirl29, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. kiwigirl29

    kiwigirl29

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    Hi guys,

    I have felt constantly spaced out/ out of focus and constantly had slightly blurry vision/visual floaters since my CFS began (just over a year ago now).

    i know there is another thread about feeling spaced out but interested in more if others take anything for this?
    Had anybody had this feeling?
    What have you done to relieve it?
    It is such a pain, especially when I'm out and about (which rarely happens).
    Is this a normal CFS symptom!? Or could I have some sort of other thing going on as well?!

    Would love to hear suggestions and others stories about this.
     
    Cohen2 and Hutan like this.
  2. Hutan

    Hutan Senior Member

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    Hi @kiwigirl29, welcome to PR! There are quite a few New Zealanders on the forum. @Cohen2; @Jill T; @daisybell and others. Do tell us approximately what part of NZ you are in if you want.

    I get the blurry vision and the floaters. If I have been out and about too long, standing still too long (e.g. doing the dishes) or doing something a bit strenuous, I often get a dizzy, not-quite-there feeling.

    Have you considered orthostatic intolerance as the cause of those symptoms? Orthostatic intolerance is very common in people with ME. One kind of orthostatic intolerance is POTS. Do you find that the symptoms are better when you are lying down?

    If you want to find out more, there are lots of threads about it here. I also like the POTSUK site http://www.potsuk.org. Monitoring your heart rate and, if you can, your blood pressure when you move from lying down to standing up and then standing still for 10 minutes can give you some useful information.

    The good thing about orthostatic intolerance is that there are a number of treatments that people have found help. And just understanding the condition more is useful in managing it better.
     
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  3. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    Have you been checked out by an ophthalmic optician? Floaters mostly give no symptoms but if they are there they are easy to identify by slit lamp. Loss of focus is usually an optometric problem; cornea and lenses can change with time or with ill health.
     
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  4. erin

    erin Senior Member

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    I feel similar to what you have described, it is more intense at times. I don't know why. But no floaters in general, I have floaters only when I am severely anemic. (I'm always anemic but not too much, just below the level)
     
  5. Hutan

    Hutan Senior Member

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    That's a good suggestion, to rule out fixable problems.

    I did just that. My optometrist and I tried hard over a number of appointments to optimise my script, and I still had the blurry vision. It bothers me most when I am driving - I don't think I am a danger on the road but it means that I can't read street signs in time to decide that that is the street I want to turn in to. I don't drive at night.

    Blurriness does seem to be commonly reported by people with ME. My blurriness comes and goes in severity and is definitely worse when other symptoms are bad. I tracked the blurriness along with a lot of other things for a while and it was well correlated with fatigue and POTS severity.

    I went to see an opthalmologist to try to work out what was going on. He told me I had presbyopia, not based on any tests but just because of my age. He also said that my eyes were dry, also due to aging, and that too was the cause of the blurriness. (I then made the mistake of very politely asking if he had heard about the research being done in the UK on visual problems in people with CFS. That really got him annoyed. He rolled his eyes and said that he already knew all he needed to know about CFS and that there was nothing that he could do to help me. $600 for no more than 5 minutes of his time and no enlightenment.)

    I got eye drops after the appointment - they made no difference. So eye dryness is not the cause of my blurriness. The way I explain the blurriness to myself is that when my energy is low, my brain can't process the incoming data to give full resolution. So it effectively cuts down the pixels. That's what it feels like.

    My optometrist had me do a visual field test. She found that I had spots where I was not seeing things. She felt that that was significant. But we moved cities and I haven't followed that up.

    Regarding the floaters, I have seen quite a few people report those in this forum. My optometrist said that the amount of floaters I had was normal, even though they have been very noticeable to me at times. It could be that I was just more aware of them as I tried to find the symptoms that would help in working out what was wrong with me.
     
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  6. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    I would not be sure that blurriness is not due to poor tear film even if drops make no difference. Poor tear film is common and results in a gunky mix on the cornea that blurs the image. Eye drops may not wash the gunk off or if they do may leave the surface without enough oily phase to keep a smooth film. I have poor tear film as a result of chronic conjunctivitis I developed twenty years ago. I find drops pretty useless. It may be that if you use high grade artificial tears very regularly they work but I never had the patience to do that.

    Brains do not use pixels in fact. The 'sharpness' of an image is decided in the retina on the basis of edges and signals are sent to the brain indicating a sharp edge. The brain fills in the colours between the edges when it has decided what they are, having compared with hues in other areas. I agree it would be possible for the brain to misinterpret things but I am not sure anyone has evidence of that for blurriness.

    I used to worry about my floaters too which again were said to be of a normal amount. I think you are right that when one has blurring one pays attention to one's visual image and may notice sinking floaters more and think they are the cause of the blurring.

    One thing I guess might be relevant is that the retina picks up sharp edges by what are called micro saccades. The eye jiggles back and forth and so cells getting light from the edges of things get the light flashing on and off for each jiggle. If micro saccades were sluggish or absent in ME the brain might not get such a clear signal of an edge. As you say, there seems to be some evidence that oculomotor function is odd in ME although I am not sure how precisely that has been defined yet.
     
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  7. Marco

    Marco Grrrrrrr!

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    Near Cognac, France
    @Jonathan Edwards

    While we're on the subject (somewhat) my previously perfect vision has deteriorated badly in the last 5-10 years to the extent that I need reading glasses (otherwise it's a blur and I tend to see triple images close up). I also have had floaters for many years but just treat them as 'one of those things'.

    What surprised me was that I also have recurring conjunctivitis and while the infection is there I don't need to use glasses - my near vision is perfect again. You said something earlier in the thread about curvature of the cornea varying or something? - maybe that's it?

    BTW - re oculomotor function in ME - I think there's been more than one study suggesting problems with maintaining smooth pursuit and presumably this could also affect saccades?

    Apologies to the OP for the hi-jack.
     
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  8. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    Do you get like a spaced out feeling in your forehead and around your eyes, the way you do when you have a bad head cold, like you can't focus your eyes on an object? I know this sounds strange, but I do, especially in the morning.
     
  9. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

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    @kiwigirl29 My floaters disappeared once I had adequate B12. What a relief, I thought they'd be with me forever. Good luck.
     
  10. Cohen2

    Cohen2 Senior Member

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    Yup, get the floaters clouding my vision and the blurry vision constantly but does vary in severity a bit. Recently went back to the Optometrist and he diagnosed mild Astigmatism. Im not sure hes right though as the glasses hes given me to trial make things worse.

    Blurry vision with no obvious cause does seem to be common in ME.
     
    Hutan likes this.

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