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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7922
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Ok, Im 58 yrs old and on Nov 1, I was hospitalized for 4

Customer Question

Ok, I'm 58 yrs old and on Nov 1, I was hospitalized for 4 days with 6 broken ribs, a broken clavacle and a bruised lung from a horse riding fall. About a week and a half I started realizing I was having vision problems.
I have reading glasses that I very rarely used as I had pretty perfect vision. All of the sudden I realized I was using them often both reading mail and using my laptop. Reading became blurry and I noticed things in the distance and indoors were also a little blurry. When I see people on the other side of the room their eyes look blurry. Even people's eyes on TV are a little blurry. All the little lights on my computer, modem, alarm clock, etc seem to be double vertically.
When I told my doctor (in a HIP center) she sent me for a head cat scan and a visit to an avail ophthamologist the same day. The Cat Scan showed no abnormalities and nothing connected to the accident. The opthamologist did a series of tests including the test where you click each time you see a light and she also dilated my eyes and tested them for diseases which were all normal. She said it's probably dry eye and gave me artificial tears.
After a week and a half I went to another opthamologist and he also tested me, all negative. An eyechart test was 20-25. He said my vision was good and I should wear reading glasses. When I said it was sudden he said it's possible. He also said the double vision on the little yellow and red lights on my computers is weak eye muscles and should cure itself with time.
Here are my symptoms:
Seeing blurry writing both on my computer and off. At my synagogue I needed reading glasses to read the prayer book when I had no problem before. This seems to change, sometimes better than other times.
Hard to see light blue writing on computer and paper.
Can't read posted notices.
Indoor posters and letters blurry. Also people's eyes look blurry.
Seeing double computer lights vertically.
Things just don't look right especially indoors, little blur.
One thing that I've been reading about is computer vision syndrome. Although I am on the computer a lot normally when I'm home now that I'm home with my injuries on on the computer a lot more. Can that cause the problems and are they reversible? Since I've been reading about it I've been on line less and taking more breaks but there is no real change. I am very worried and concerned that these symptoms appeared over night. By the way, reading glasses do seem to help a lot and change my verticle double vision to more horizontal.
Thanking you in advance,
Jeffre Rosen
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I've had horses all my life; was knocked out for 3 days as a kid, so I understand.....

Customer :

I'm more worried about the vision than my injuries!!

Customer :

Also my vision seems better when I get up in the morning.

Dr. Rick :

I've read what you have written.....sounds like you have had a fairly complete going over. Do you remember the ophthalmologist putting the phoropter (large thing with dials "which is better? One or two?....) in front of your face, placing a red prism-like lens over one eye and a white one over the other, shining a bright light at you and asking you about which way the red and white lines were tilting and/or crossing?

Customer :

No, neither one used that.

Customer :

By the way, I never mentioned the CVS to either Dr as I read about it after my visits. I do have a followup visit in 2 wks.

Dr. Rick :

Ok. It is possible that your double vision and blurry vision is caused by a phoria that is intermittently breaking down into a tropia. What does that mean? The gist is that a phoria is "pending" double vision and a tropia is actual double vision....it's really not that simple, but I'm not sure how to explain it without getting all "doctor-speak" on you. This what the ophthalmologist was talking about when he discussed your problem with the little yellow and red lights on your computer.

Dr. Rick :

This "eye muscle weakness" could have easily been made worse by your trauma. I would expect this to resolve on its own but it might take up to 6 months to do so.

Customer :

Would that cause the blurriness both near and far?

Customer :

Also, from what I understand I never hit my head and was wearing a helmet. The C Scan showed nothing. But it can still be caused by the trauma? And what about Computer vision syndrome?

Customer :

I've reading this with reading glasses now and it's perfect but when I take 'em off it's blurry.

Dr. Rick :

As to the sudden need for reading glasses. At your age it is very unusual NOT to need reading glasses, unless you are near sighted already. To better understand this issue I would, once again, put the phoropter in front of you and place a near vision card on an attached pole. I would measure your near point without drops, then use drops and re-measure it. This would give me a number that I could compare to age normal values. If it is way off, taking into account your baseline glasses Rx, It could suggest damage to your accomodative mechanism

Dr. Rick :

Now to catch up to your posts....yes, the "ghost image" from the mild diplopia would cause blurriness.

Dr. Rick :

I really don't put much stake in computer vision syndrome. There are no studies to show that it really exists in my opinion....optometrists like to talk about it a lot to sell glasses, fancy visual aids and examinations/instructions for eye exercises....

Dr. Rick :

The fact that you see perfect with reading glasses and have had two normal eye exams by well trained ophthalmologists is a good thing. Your vision would not improve with reading glasses if there was anything serious wrong. Also, as you said, you were wearing a helmet and your head was not really involved in the trauma.

Customer :

But the reading glasses only help close up. What about the slight blurriness indoors across the rooms where I see people's eyes blurry?

Dr. Rick :

Another thing that can cause a sudden hyperopic (reading glasses) shift is subretinal fluid under the macula....this would have been seen by the ophthalmologists.

Customer :

That fluid, being that two different opthamologists tested me, what are the chances both missed it?

Dr. Rick :

That could be from the "weak" muscles phoria/tropia issue we discussed above. If that is the case I would expect it to resolve within 6 months of the injury. Before we let you suffer for all that time I think it would be good to have a excellent refraction (not sure if the ophthalmologists did this or not) and see if your vision can be returned to a crisp 20/20 with a mild glasses Rx.

Dr. Rick :

very little chance. My subspecialty interest is retinal diseases so I would very much doubt that I would miss it....that being said any ophthalmologist presented with your visual history and complaints would think of that and look closely to rule it out.

Customer :

Thank you. XXXXX shouldn't start learning Braille?

Dr. Rick :

Not right now....and give your horse a nice big hug for not killing you :o) I still have a numb toe from being stomped almost 30 year ago while wearing tennis shoes.

Dr. Rick :

The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man...

Customer :

Well thank you. I'd rather give my riding instructor the hug. You reassured me. I am a little worried still but reassured. I am a letter carrier and when I go back to work I hope I can read the addresses on the mail.

Dr. Rick :

Is that important in the USPS still? Have a great evening and take care.

Dr. Rick :

And, now, the obligatory word from our sponsors: :o)


I hope that this information was helpful for you. Please, allow me get credit for my time and effort in assisting you and press the ACCEPT button for this assist. I will be glad to answer additional questions until you are satisfied. Thank you very much.

Customer :

OK, we still do that in the USPS. I'm actually retired NYPD also.

Dr. Rick :

Sounds like a very interesting life....I trained at St. Vincent's Hospital in the Village many years ago...it really is a small world, eh?

Customer :

Yes. They just closed down.

Dr. Rick :

I just heard about that. Wonder what they are gonna do with the huge building complex?

Customer :

Well thanks again and take it easy.

Dr. Rick :

you too. Bye

Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7922
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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