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Dr. JLB, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 86
Experience:  General Ophthalmologist, Fellowship trained in Refractive Surgery
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I live in Denver, and for the last few years whenever I go

Customer Question

I live in Denver, and for the last few years whenever I go up into the mountains, I start seeing large spots kind od in a star shape in my central vision. They glow a golden color, and are more visible when I blink. It all fades away slowly if I stop hiking or whatever activity I am doing. Recently it is starting to happen while I am exercising down in Denver at a lower elevation. What is happening?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. JLB replied 8 years ago.
Hi Reynee,

These symptoms are likely due to oxygen deprivation to areas of the brain or the eyes. Higher elevations have less oxygen concentration in the air and combined with hiking, where the body is exerting itself, the amount of oxygen reaching the eyes are brain could be less and these symptoms can occur.

In terms of exercising at lower elevations. the body's oxygen demands increase and the scenario is identical to the one described above.

Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol can predispose a patient to experience these symptoms during the above activities.

I recommend a visit to your primary doctor for a complete work-up. An underlying condition could be found that, with treatment, can improve the symptoms you have described.

I hope this helps and that you can resolve this issue soon...


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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Okay, thanks. That makes sense to me. Should I avoid triggering this until I see my doctor? I'm afraid that I may be permanently hurting my vision.
Expert:  Dr. JLB replied 8 years ago.
I would suggest decreasing exercise activity until you see your doctor.