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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
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Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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My 10 year old daughter has been experiencing swirling circles

Resolved Question:

My 10 year old daughter has been experiencing swirling circles in her vision. From how she explains them, they're clear but sometimes changes in color. She's expressed that she's always experienced this, and thought it was normal. Besides that, she sees fine and the swirls don't impair her vision. Could you tell me what this could be? I'm getting worried and wanted to try to find out what is causing this and how it can be fixed. I visited an optometrist and found that she's near sighted, but was recommended to an Ophthalmologist. I have scheduled an appointment, but it won't be for a few more days. Whatever information you can provide will be very much appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today. How long do these swirling circles last when she experiences them? I understand that that it occurs multiple times, I was just wondering how long each episode lasts.

Customer:

It's continuous.

Dr. Rick :

It never stops, goes on all day, every day? Can you make sure that is what she means.....

Dr. Rick :

and occurs in all lighting conditions, from inside,dim, outside, sunlight, cloudy etc...

Customer:

Correct, it never stops. She says when she's outdoors it's less noticeable, but sill occuring.

Dr. Rick :

Ok. One other question. Would you say that in all other respects she is a normal, healthy young girl who has no problems doing anything she wants to do, such as read, run, play video games etc?

Customer:

Absolutely. Everything else is normal. This just happened to come up in conversation, and I was floored because I wouldn't have known this has always been her view of normal vision.

Dr. Rick :

That is not uncommon. Kids think what they experience is what everyone else sees too.....

Dr. Rick :

Ok. Well, your answers have caused the many bad things that can cause what your daughter is experiencing to move way down on my differential diagnosis list. Of course it would be a lot easier for me to know what the issue is if she was here in my office.

Dr. Rick :

First of all, I agree: She needs a complete eye exam by a pediatric ophthalmologist. But, when it is all said and done I think what she is experiencing is going to turn out to be something called the entoptic phenomena

Dr. Rick :

These are images whose source is actually inside the eye itself. There are different manifestations of entoptical effects, depending on how they are generated. Blue field entoptic phenomenon looks like tiny bright dots, or bugs, moving along a wiggley racetrack. These are easier to see when looking at a uniformly lit area such as the blue sky, an illuminated wall in your home or a field of pure blue light. What you are actually seeing in this case are white blood cells racing through the capillaries in front of the macula, or central part, of your retina.


The Purkinje tree is another example of an entoptic phenomenon. This is an image of your blood vessels, located above the retinal photoreceptors, inside your eye. It is best seen by shining a small bright light against your closed eyelids, against your eyeball, or obliquely through your pupil, and wiggling the light quickly back and forth. You may have experienced this image when being examined by your ophthalmologist with the bright light she has on her head. You don't normally see this image as your retina is adapted to the shadow they cast however, when you shine the light from the side, the adaptation is defeated and you see the vessels.


 

Dr. Rick :

Here is a good web page that discusses this:

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

Yes. Is there a cure for this?

Dr. Rick :

By the way, this issue is way beyond the ability of an optometrist to deal with. I'm glad to hear that he sent you to an ophthalmologist.

Dr. Rick :

There is no cure needed.....is a condition inherent in the physiology,anatomy and biology of the eye and the visual system. Some people notice it and most don't. I've seen mine with a special light. It is kinda neat to know that you are actually looking at your own blood cells live as they move through your retina. :-)

Customer:

well, she will need glasses for being near sighted. Do you think maybe that would make it a little less noticeable?

Dr. Rick :

Perhaps....or it might just bring them into better focus :)

Dr. Rick :

what is the take home message? 1. Have her see a pediatric ophthalmologist just to make sure everything is OK. 2. Don't worry. I believe everything will be fine.

Customer:

I thank you very much for helping me today. It's been very scary the last couple of days, not knowing. Your information has been extremely helpful.

Dr. Rick :

If you get a chance I'd love to hear how things turn out after your visit to the eye MD. You can contact me at the link below or on this thread at no additional charge, even after you press that (pretty and fun to push) accept button.

Dr. Rick :

My pleasure. Have a good day.

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 by pressing the accept button or smiley face. I will be glad to answer additional questions until you are satisfied. Thank you very much.

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Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 8474
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 2 years ago.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like to discuss pertaining to this issue.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 2 years ago.
I was just thinking about your daughter and wondering how her visit to the pediatric ophthalmologist went. Did he find anything significant?

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Dr. Rick
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Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest