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Waking up to black smoke?

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by Prefect, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    Does anyone here wake up in the middle of the night seeing a dense film of black spots in their field of vision here?

    It's like I wake up seeing black smoke a few times a night, usually early morning when I have most of my REM sleep, and it goes away after a few seconds. I also usually feel a bit lightheaded and goofy when I wake up to this.

    Sometimes in the middle of it all I see a black geometrical shape (looks a bit like a digital spider) rotating towards me and dissipating. First time it happened it freaked me out and I tried to catch it in the air.

    I don't think it's sleep apnea because I don't wake up gasping for air from this. I've also had a sleep study done and they said I didn't have sleep apnea.
     
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  2. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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  3. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    I haven't experienced this either. Hope someone has done answers,/suggestions for you.
     
  4. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I've had this on and off all for decades. For me I only notice this in the morning. Always thought it was a variation eye floaters.
     
  5. Stretched

    Stretched Senior Member

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    I had a detached retina years ago (surgically repaired, scleral buckling). I recall wired geometric shapes occurring sporadically at random.

    You might want to get an ophthalmologist to check your retina. If DR It's serious stuff

    Good luck.
     
  6. Starlight

    Starlight Senior Member

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    Yup I know this one! I often get this, not the shapes but certainly a smoky film in the darkness if I wake in the early hours. If I wake in the morning when it's light I will often see everything red or green ... lasts for a few seconds like yourself and then it goes. It only happens in the very early morning, between around 5 and 7. I'll go back to sleep after it and wake properly for the day later and not have any trace of it.

    I've seen an opthalmologist and she wasn't too concerned. She said it sounded like insufficient blood flow to the brain for a few secs, similar to an ocular migraine where a person does not get a headache but does experience the visual symptoms such an aura of colours or any visual disturbance. I have found it quite stressful sometimes but good to have had it checked out.
     
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  7. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    Was this before or after CFS?

    I've had this for years. Optomologist found I was in danger of DR and I've had the patch up laser surgery done to prevent it. I still have the smoke stuff since. With DR though you'd see flashing in the corner of your eye, not smoke in you whole vision.

    Was this before or after CFS? Do you have POTS? I do. I wonder if the insufficient blood flow to the head is due to nocturnal drop in blood pressure? But why would it happen between 5-7 (mine does too!), isn't that when our cortisol is going up?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  8. Starlight

    Starlight Senior Member

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    I've had CFS for nearly 30 years, since I was a small kid,but this has just started happening the last 2 to 3 years I think. Maybe I didn't notice as keenly though until the last few years, I'm not sure.
    I do have severe POTS and hypotension too.
    I'm very bemused also by the timing though. It must be related to that part of the sleep cycle or like you say hormonal cycle. I would love to know what it is. I have had holter monitors at night to track my heart rate and they often record runs of 150bpm while I'm sleeping, always at around 5.30 but it's anytime between around 5 and 7ish that I can have the weird vision. Occasionally I've felt nauseous for a few secs with it, I don't know if that's part of it or if it's because I find it disturbing sometimes.

    At least we aren't alone huh ?:)
     
  9. Stretched

    Stretched Senior Member

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    Try aao.org - Professional organization answers eye questions, medical.
    That's aao.org. Problem with post!!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  10. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    I also sometimes wake up to this phenomenon with a racing heart beat.

    Do you get most of your night sweats during this thing? I do.

    If it were cerebral hypoperfusion due to hypotension our extremities would also be hypoperfused because we'd horizontal at that time. I should get a finger oximeter and see what it says when I wake up to this thing.
     
  11. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member

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    I doubt it, but it sounds vaguely like PVD (posterior vitreous detachment). It's a usually benign condition of aging, but it can occasionally have more serious complications. It may produce a lot of floaters, which can look like dust, but I don't think you'd see it only upon waking.
    [ Somewhat OT, I developed a weird thing in the last couple of years where, if I wake up and keep my eyes closed, I will see bright radial lines if I move my eyes back and forth (while they are closed). The lines are only present for an instant when I move my eyes. Once my eyes are exposed to light, the effect goes away. My eye doctor was not concerned and said it was probably just friction stimulating dark adapted nerves (or something like that). ]

    temp 001.jpg
     
  12. PatJ

    PatJ far and free I gaze

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    Are these two separate effects?

    I've also had the black smoke effect at night, although for me it was like a big cloud of tumbling smoky filaments. This started before I got the first symptoms of CFS/ME and hasn't happened for many years.

    I'm familiar with a variety of curious visual effects. I've got permanent visual snow, floaters, sparks, occasional black spots at the edges of my vision, strobing/flickering of shadows in my peripheral vision, a bulls eye after-image pattern that moves inward or outward, and another that spirals inward or outward. I've also seen halos and have had vertical double vision (both have been described by other people with CFS/ME), and I used to get migraine headaches with an almost full field visual snow blindness.

    That sounds like low oxygen, low blood flow (maybe localized), or maybe low blood sugar. Vision can be effected because the eyes rely on glucose.

    The first couple of times I also reached out to catch it. I thought it was probably an illusion but reached out just in case it was a cloud of insects hovering in my body heat. :)
     
  13. Neunistiva

    Neunistiva Senior Member

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    I had this occasionally. It never happened when I was healthy but my doctor said as long as it only happens when I'm falling asleep and waking up it's no cause for concern. He called it "hypnagogic hallucinations".

    If you google "hypnagogic spider". You will see it is quite common. It's strange because I have absolutely no fear of spiders. I usually just blink it away.
     
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  14. TreePerson

    TreePerson Senior Member

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    Yes I get the spider sometimes on waking. Haven't tended to worry about it. Assumed it was my retinal cells/signals being slow to wake up. Glad to read it's common.
     
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  15. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member

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    I have something like this, though I'm not sure it is exactly the same as what you are describing. I'm pretty sure what I'm seeing is called the "Blue field entoptic phenomenon." From the description, it seems as though most people can see it under the right conditions. What's weird is that I never noticed it until a few days after the onset of ME. When I mentioned seeing this effect to doctors, they had no explanation for it, but I'm not sure if the effect even had a name back in the 1980's.

    I suspect that ME-related light sensitivity might make it more visible to PwME.

    I also get a sort of "granulated" effect when I am becoming dark adapted, which I suspect is not all that unusual, but I have had a pretty bad visual strobbing / flicker effect when moving from sunlight to a dark interior, or vice versa.

    The Wikipedia page linked below actually has a reasonably good animation of the blue field effect.

     
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  16. Neunistiva

    Neunistiva Senior Member

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    @Forbin That's just an evolutionary screw up, where tiny blood vessels that bring blood to the eye are actually laid over the top of our photoreceptors instead of behind them. As I'm sure you already read in the Wikipedia article you linked, those are actually white blood cells you are seeing.

    For what it's worth I've seen them all my life and they didn't get worse with ME/CFS, but POTS can make them worse, probably due to changes in amount of blood in those tiny vessels.
     
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  17. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member

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    You may already be aware of this but there is a wikipedia page about (always present) visual snow. The cause is unclear, but it is possibly connected to migraines.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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  18. Webdog

    Webdog Senior Member

    I get these hypnagogic hallucinations a few times a month (though not as frequently as when I was younger). They sometimes start with what might be described as black smoke out of which usually a large animal or creature forms. They can be quite scary at times.

    During the hypnagogic hallucination, I'm awake but my body is paralyzed and I can't even turn on the light.

    Hypnagogic hallucinations are a hallmark symptom of narcolepsy, but anyone can have them. Perhaps due to ME/CFS disrupted sleep, some of us can regularly experience them as well?
     
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