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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11242
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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The other day I had a panic attack as I suffer from panic disorder

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The other day I had a panic attack as I suffer from panic disorder and during the attack I saw hundereds of white dots at the top of my vision. Also panic or not there time when I see white strobe light flashes in my vision, or I see dark spots in vision when I blink. The last part has been happening for months. I have this pain in the back of skull as well and nerve pain in upper shoulder. I don't know what the pain is skull is and the same side my ear gets a clogged feeling and ringing.

Dr. Rick :

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

Customer:

hi

Dr. Rick :

Good news. The white dots, strobe flashes and other things that you have been experiencing are not a sign of brain tumor or serious brain issue. What you are experiencing are the visual symptoms of a posterior vitreous detachement.

Customer:

what is that

Dr. Rick :

You are likely experiencing a PVD or posterior vitreous detachment, a common event that happens in many people.

You have a thick gel material in the middle of your eyes called the vitreous. Over time as it liquefies, this gel material collapses on itself, forms little clumps that you can see as dots, lines or bugs. As these clumps form the vitreous pulls away from the wall of the eye. In the process it can stimulate the retina -- causing the flashes that you may see.

It is recommended that you see your ophthalmologist to look at the retina to make sure there are no problems such as a retinal hole or tear. In most cases, there are no problems, but this exam is precautionary and allows for preventative treatment of any lesions that are found.

If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light (like a lightning storm), or a shadow/veil in the periphery of your vision, this can be worrisome for a retinal detachment. You would need to contact your ophthalmologist promptly in that case.

Dr. Rick :

 


What can you do about the floaters? Well, floaters don't go away, and they don't really get worse. Over time they tend to "sink" out of your central vision and you brain "filters" them out so you don't notice them so much anymore. They almost never cause significant visual problems except, of course, if they cause a secondary retinal detachment as discussed above. The only way to decrease or remove the floaters is with a major surgery called a vitrectomy. As a retinal specialist for almost 2 decades I've only done this procedure to remove floaters in a handful of cases.

Dr. Rick :

I've actually experienced exactly what you are talking about many times in my life. I have a PVD in my left eye and see the dots, etc at certain tyme.

Dr. Rick :

times...

Dr. Rick :

Is there anything else you would like to discuss at this point or have all your questions been answered to your satisfaction?

Customer:

Would this increase when Im having a panic attack

Dr. Rick :

Yes. It would be more noticeable during a panic attack, although the two conditions are not linked.....does that make sense?

Customer:

My doctor told me it was from hyperventilation would that cause it?

Dr. Rick :

From what you have posted I'm not sure that would be the answer, although it is possible. If these things you were seeing were from hyperventilating, I think you would also have other symptoms, such as being very, very light headed, tingeling in your hands and feet, ect.

Dr. Rick :

But, it is possible........

Dr. Rick :

The good news is that this is not a sign of a terrible underlying brain condition or illness.....

Customer:

I did have tingling in arms and legs I could barely walk I was so shaky.

Customer:

ok thank you very much

Dr. Rick :

My pleasure.

Dr. Rick :

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick

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