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Ask Dr. Rick Your Own Question
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11237
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Hi. I had a cold last week which has gone now but a couple

Customer Question

Hi. I had a cold last week which has gone now but a couple of days in I noticed a problem with my vision. It has gone very wobbly. If I look at something straight ahead my vision seems to pulsate. This old thing is that if I cover either eye, the vision with the other eye is perfectly still. It is only when I look at something with both eyes that I get the problem. Sometines i feel like my eyes are not keeping up with each other. I saw a doctor last week and he just said wait until the cold has gone and see if it goes away.
I have no other medical problems and I don't smoke.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Does blinking help?

Customer:

no. that makes no difference

Dr. Rick :

Ok.

Dr. Rick :

Do you see two images or "ghost" image when you have both eyes open?

Customer:

no. just one image but it's moving

Dr. Rick :

It sounds like you may have some mild weakness of one of the muscles that move your eyeball (there six per eye). This can be associated with your viral syndrome. The good news? Issues like yours tend to resolve by themselves with no residual problems. :-)

Customer:

OK. Thanks. Do you have any idea how long that would normally take? Its been like this for 4 days or so now.

Dr. Rick :

It could, of course, also be other problems but, at his point I don't think there is any need to do a large workup for these less common conditions.

Dr. Rick :

This varies from person to person. I'm sorry to say I've seen it take as much as 4 months to clear up :(

Customer:

and is there anything I can do to help it.

Dr. Rick :

That being said, your issue seems to be on the mild side so, hopefully, you will be better in a few weeks.

Dr. Rick :

I would try using some artificial tears 3 to 4x/ day. Sometimes this can help.....

Dr. Rick :

Other then that you just have to wait to the muscles to recover from the virus.

Customer:

Just done a google search and found pencil push ups... will this help or am I best letting nature take its course?

Dr. Rick :

I must admit that I have never found pencil pushups to be of much value at all.....It won't hurt anything to do them, of course, but in my opinion it won't help either

Customer:

thanks.

Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi

I have seen an opthalmologist and had an MRI which has rules out any sinister causes. In a brief telephone conversation he suggested that I may have a decompensating exophoria. He is sending me to see someone to measure the deviations.

My question is, is this the same as you were suggesting in your original answer and can I still expect to see this resolve in a few weeks. Obviously I am concerned that they may be permanent damage.

To update my symptoms, I do not get so much of the 'wobble' now, I guess because my brain nis getting used to it. However I still get the feeling that my eyes are not keeping up with each other. When the optometrist did some tests he found that when he covered one eye, then the other I had to shift my gaze upwards to focus on the same spot.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
Decompensated exophoria is a very likely situation in your case from the data you have presented. The bad news? This is a tendency that you have had your entire life that is now just rearing it's ugly head. It does not, in the true sense of the word, go away.

The good news? As you are already finding out, in many cases your brain starts to compensate and things get better. The sift that the optometrist found on what is called the cover test is consistent with this diagnosis.

Does this make sense to you?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am bit bit confused as to why it would appear so suddenly. I have had absolutly no problems with vision at all other then wearing glasses. I get a cold and in the space of a single day I have a problem.

I'm clutching at straws a bit here but if I have been fine up until a couple of weeks ago when I got the cold is it possible that I am still affected by the virus and when this goes away (in a few weeks as per your original thoughts) I will go back to accomodating to the problem that I have apparently always had?

Please carry on answering, I will make a furthur monetary contribution in due course.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
That is the nature of the beast. A decompensated phoria just happens for no apparent reason. It is not a sign of any underlying pathology but rather a manifestation of a lifelong propensity.

Yes, a cold or illness can bring it out but, even when it can be attributed to a physical illness, that doesn't mean that it will go away when the cold/flu etc resolves...but then again it might :-)


The take home message is that these things happen and it doesn't mean that something else, more serious, is at work here.