Sudden Vision Changes & Fear of Retinal Detachment

The other night, after an extremely stressful day, I started to experience some strange symptoms. I had a mild headache most of the day, which was strange enough for me as it was. I figured I would get some rest, and it would go away. However, that evening, to my surprise, I started to experience strange symptoms with my vision as well.

Experiencing new eye and vision symptoms

That evening, I put on a lighthearted comedy movie, in at attempt to relax and get some rest. At some point I decided to head to the kitchen and make some popcorn to enjoy. Fatigue was definitely a theme of the day, but other than that, and my skin flaring up a bit, everything seemed normal.

However, after I made the popcorn and came back to watch the movie, I lied down and as I watched, I noticed something strange. I started to have odd, blurry and ragged lines in my vision. This is very unusual for me.

I immediately stood up, feeling anxiety building up in my chest, and told my parents. The main reason behind the increase in anxiety was that a year or two ago, when I was at my regular eye appointment, I was sent to a retinal specialist as well. My eye doctor saw something concerning she hadn’t before, and sent me to him. She was worried about retinal tears and detachment. She stated this was common in people like myself, who struggle with such severe nearsightedness, along with other eye conditions.

Seeing a retinal specialist

When I went to the retinal specialist, thankfully, he said it was mild retinal degeneration, but not a huge cause for concern. With that said, he did mention if I had symptoms such as blurred lines, stars, flashes, extra floaters, etc. to head to the emergency room right away. These are typically symptoms of retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is quite serious and can cause blindness within hours to days, and typically requires emergency surgery.

Worry over retinal detachment

That night, I was having those exact symptoms – hence my increase in anxiety. I was seeing bright stars in front of my eyes, as well as strange light flashes. It felt quite similar to when you look directly into a flash of a camera, or look into a light for a while, and have blinding flashes after. Except, it wasn’t going away in seconds.

I chalked it up to stress, which in the end, seemed like the likely culprit. I recalled waking up with a headache two days in a row prior to the vision changes. This was extremely unusual for me as I don't get them often anymore. I've had enough in the past though, to know this typically signifies a migraine. I decided to lie down in a dark room, used my microwavable Bruder heat mask, put some calming meditation music on, and just allowed my eyes to rest.

I was a bit scared to go to sleep, in the event I’d need to go to the emergency room. Thankfully, the anxiety started to calm a bit though, and I decided rest would probably be best. Then, in the morning, I could see if there were any changes.

A good outcome after fear and anxiety

Thankfully, after a decent nights sleep, when I woke up the next day, still with a slight headache, but the weird changes in my vision gone. I was pleasantly surprised but grateful at the same time. I did some research on the symptoms and came across ocular migraines. The symptoms were about the same as they would be for retinal detachment, except often caused by a headache. So, I chalked it up to the migraine and stress. I do believe that caused it, as it has been normal since then.

This goes to show, however, just how terrifying sudden changes in our vision can be, and how much of an impact stress has on us. I was terrified I’d end up in the emergency room that night. Thankfully, by listening to my body and calming down, I was able to avoid that altogether.

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