Neurology

Ask a Neurologist. Get Answers to Your Neurology Questions.

Ask a Doctor,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Neurology
This answer was rated:

I started seeing little sparks and flashes of color, along

with afterimages with no source...
I started seeing little sparks and flashes of color, along with afterimages with no source of light in my vision. They aren't obstructive (although rarely they can be) and they happen 24/7. They're worse in the morning but still continue throughout the day. I went to the Ophthalmologist and he did a thorough examination of my retina and other structures and he told me that all structures were in perfect condition.
The phosphenes (what I'm experiencing) continued to get worse, so I called them, and they said that I'm totally fine and what I'm experiencing is probably an optical migraine.
But I've had a migraine before, and I know what an aura looks like. THIS is not an aura.
The flashes happen too quickly for me to determine if they're in just one eye or both, but the afterimages that come from nowhere are generally only in my left eye, and are never symmetrical with both eyes.
I'm paranoid of having a brain tumor or some sort of occipital lobe infraction, but he said my optic nerve looked great and my eye pressure was perfect.
To break down what I see:
Sparks/Sparkles/Flashes: Usually I'll see a white dot, which will fade to a black dot. Very small, almost a pinpoint. Will disappear within five seconds. Some are even faster than that. They appear throughout the day (perhaps 1 a minute) at any location in my vision.
Afterimage without source: Just like looking at a bright light, I'll have an afterimage
appear in my vision which will last a good 5 to 10 minutes before fading away. I've only noticed them in my left eye.
Bright blue 'gas burner' blob: I'll see a bright blue blob in the left side of my vision (haven't been able to determine if it's one eye or both). It looks like the light from a blue flame on a gas burner stove. It sort of reverberates before disappearing and usually lasts about 5 seconds. Happens about 2-3 times a day.
I get afterimages really easily. My vision becomes 'dirty' with the afterimage of what I'm looking at pretty easily. I'll stare at a yellow line in a parking lot for only a few seconds, and then I'll have a blue line in my vision for about 5-6 seconds afterwards.
Please help, the anxiety from this is driving me insane.
I'm also feeling 'dumber' lately. Like I'm not totally functional mentally. I'm still able to do function normally., but I'll find myself forgetting things, forgetting words, not hearing people, and just generally feel fatigued. I just feel 'off'
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Neurology Question
Answered in 13 minutes by:
3/10/2013
Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9,000
Experience: Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
Verified
Hi. Welcome to Just Answer
I am an adult neurologist and will try to answer your question. I can maybe help a little, but I would say at the start that you need a neurologist to examen you, as there may be issues that I cannot diagnose here online. Some of the features you describe, like staring at a yellow line, and then seeing blue, is an "afterimage" from your retina, having overstimulated the ganglion cells in that particular region of the retina. It is based on the principle of "center/surround" inhibition that goes on in your five layers of retinal neurons, so that is normal, and not to worry. The phosphors you describe suggest activation of the occipital lobe neurons, the primarily (V1) neurons, that can be from a variety of causes, not necessarily pathological causes. As you have a history of migraine, you have a very activated occipital lobe. There are now ways to measure, using optical spectroscopy, the electrical cortical signals which pass in waves along your occipital lobe as part of migraine. here is just one paper on that subject, FYI
http://cep.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/04/23/0333102412444474.abstract
But you need someone to check your visual fields for cortical field cuts ( I assume the ophthy guy did that) and you should see a neurologist for an exam, and maybe an MRI to look at you occipital lobes, to exclude an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) or some vascular anomaly. I would assume that at age 23, your dumb and dumber symptoms are related to stress/anxiety from all this going on in your life, but I can only guess from here, so get back to me on that. Dr Frank T
Ask Your Own Neurology Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Does anything say 'brain tumor' to you?

Are you concerned with these symptoms, or would you guess that they're probably just anomalous.

It could be a brain tumor, you could have a low grade glioma in your optic tract on the way to the occipital lobe, or any retrochiasmatic lesion (after the optic chiasm) based on your history. But in neurology, common things are common, and with migraine, and no severe tension headache, nausea/vomiting, a positional component to the headpain, worse upon awakening, etc. It is unlikely to be a rapidly expanding brain lesion. Much more common to be a very anxious young man with migraine and worry (classically about a brain tumor). How much more likely? Well doing this for 23 years, I would say 20 to 1 odds. But I cannot diagnose you online, you still need a neurologist to look at you, based on your history, to get an MRI if there are findings on your exam, etc. I hope that helps DR Frank T.
Ask Your Own Neurology Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Can anxiety/stress cause my visual symptoms? I've had health anxiety for several years now.

HI. If you look at that paper, it explains the relationship. The general theme is that anxiety can change your serum pH, by causing a respiratory alkalosis, you exhale too much CO2, and the drops your vascular imput in the brain (arteriolar vasoconstiction) which can activate occipital cortical neurons and can be measured with infrared optical spectroscopy. So the answer to your question is certainly, it has been done in labs, and there is a well known mechanism for this to occur.
Ask Your Own Neurology Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

How soon should I get an appointment?

With blue cross/blue shield, what are the estimated costs of an exam?

you may have to wait for an appointment with a neurologist, there is no urgency based on your history. In Ny, a BC/BS copay is $25
Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9,000
Experience: Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
Verified
Dr. Frank and 87 other Neurology Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Finally, are all brain tumors lethal?

I hear that if you get a brain tumor of any kind, you're pretty much dead.

If not, how common are the nearly incurable ones?

Also, my friend has a pituitary tumor that was giving her migraines. I'm concerned for her. What kinds of pituitary tumors are especially difficult to treat?

Finally (and I'll be rating you excellent after this) have there been any reported increases in the number of brain tumors reported on the west coast of the united states after the Fukashima incident (NPP melt down)

All brain tumors are not lethal. The most common brain tumor (Glioblastoma multiform) is also the most lethal. That is not true about brain tumor and you are dead, far from it.
pituitary tumors that reach above the pituitary stalk to involve the hypothalamus are hard to treat. microadenomas of the pituitary are the easiest to treat (they are also the most common)
I have not heard of any increase in brain tumors after the radiation incident in Japan. It has not hit the medical literature as I know.
Good luck to you Dr Frank t
Ask Your Own Neurology Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

She says it's 'prolactianoma'. She's on hormones right now. I think.

HI. so prolactinoma is the most common type of pituitary tumor, and depending on size, can be a microadenoma, or a macroadenoma, but they are usually easier to remove than other types of tumors of the pituitary gland. here is a webpage on the subject. good luck to you dr frank T
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/124634-overview
Ask Your Own Neurology Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Final bit of info.

The visual anomalies happen far more often in the morning.

Do you have signs of anxiety/depression? One of the features is EMA, early morning awakening, is that happening, are you waking is a sweat?? This is an online service, so it is difficult to give you focused answers, but if it is worse in the morning, I would look for metabolic factors, such as hypoglycemia as a cause of these sparkles, go to the drug store, get some dextrostix, or a blood glucose meter, and check you glucose, your blood pressure, and your heart rate, when this is happening. If this were a tumor, you might expect regional swelling to be higher in the morning, and if in the occip. lobe you might have more sparkles. But that is again more rare, and without any other neurological problems, unlikely. Dr Frank T
Ask Your Own Neurology Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

No. I'm never woken up early by any symptoms, no night sweats. Once in a blue moon I'll wake up having a panic attack, but that will maybe happen once a month and only after a nap. Also, when that happens my brain doesn't 'work right' for maybe 30 minutes afterwards, even though I'm aware of my brain not working right.

I do have very obvious signs of anxiety yes. Had a severe panic attack every day during the summer time, but I've gotten control over them.

Additionally, I can't drink any caffeine without getting severe anxiety. A cup of coffee would destroy me.

I've asked several other questions on JustAnswer regarding other things, might be worth it to check those out to get a good recent history.

Ask Dr. Frank Your Own Question
Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9,000
9,000 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.

Dr. Frank is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me.

Susan O.USA

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark

Neurologist (MD)

1,985 satisfied customers

Neurosurgeon - Brain, spine, and peripheral nerve surgery

Jack Scariano Jr

Jack Scariano Jr

Neurologist (MD)

1,056 satisfied customers

Board Certified Neurology 1982 30 years experince. Also expert in Pain Medicine

Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob

Neurologist (MD)

3,731 satisfied customers

Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience

healthydoc

healthydoc

Board Certified Physician

1,851 satisfied customers

Board Certified U.S. Neurologist

Dr. F

Dr. F

Board Certified MD

266 satisfied customers

Neurosurgeon with more than 20 years experience in practice and teaching.

Phytube.com

Phytube.com

Neurologist (MD)

86 satisfied customers

Pediatric Neurology and Developmental Medicine with Special Research In Pain Medicine/Medications

Stroke Doc

Stroke Doc

Board Certified Physician

51 satisfied customers

I am board-certified in Neurology and the subspecialty Vascular Neurology.

< Previous | Next >

Related Neurology Questions
For the past few weeks now (maybe close to a month) have had
For the past few weeks now (maybe close to a month) have had a clear watery salty fluid drip from right nostril. Blowing out clear mucus from both nostrils, sneezing, postnatal drip, sometimes itchy t… read more
Dr Anil Kumar
Dr Anil Kumar
M.B.B.S
2,722 satisfied customers
I awake frequently with severe leg cramps. I have poor
I awake frequently with severe leg cramps JA: What seems to make the symptoms worse or better? Have you noticed any swelling? Customer: I have poor valves in legs JA: Anything else in your medical his… read more
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Consultant Surgeon and Sports Medicine
Post-Doctoral Degree
32,941 satisfied customers
I have inflammation in my hands, wrist and feet. I also have
I have inflammation in my hands, wrist and feet. I also have nerve pain in my toes. I'm trying to figure out what is going on. … read more
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Senior Registrar Critical Care Medicine
Doctoral Degree
7,294 satisfied customers
Can neurontin be used for headaches? Daily with nausea. Bump
can neurontin be used for headaches? JA: Is the headache episodic or daily? And what about nausea? Customer: daily with nausea JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should kno… read more
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Consultant Surgeon and Sports Medicine
Post-Doctoral Degree
32,941 satisfied customers
Does hypereflexia and clonus result from stopping a drug
does hypereflexia and clonus result from stopping a drug like cocaine? … read more
Neuro Doctor
Neuro Doctor
Full Time Neurologist
Neurologist MD (USA Board Certified
2,534 satisfied customers
Last Aug 12 I fell down a flight of steps. Was in the
Last Aug 12 I fell down a flight of steps. Was in the hospital for over 2 weeks. … read more
Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD
Internal Medicine Physician
Doctoral Degree
2,678 satisfied customers
I have recently started to have a lot of pain throughout
I have recently started to have a lot of pain throughout both legs. It is so bad after laying down or sitting, that I can hardly walk the first few minutes Also, a lot of swelling in my right knee, so… read more
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Senior Registrar Critical Care Medicine
Doctoral Degree
7,294 satisfied customers
I was reading the article "When I am walking I feel like I
I was reading the article "When I am walking I feel like I am on a trampoline" … read more
Neuro Doctor
Neuro Doctor
Full Time Neurologist
Neurologist MD (USA Board Certified
2,534 satisfied customers
I have been diagnosed with dystonia...grandmother had
I have been diagnosed with dystonia...grandmother had Parkinson's. How do I know if I have dystonia or Parkinson's … read more
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob
Neurologist (MD)
Doctoral Degree
3,731 satisfied customers
I was diagnosed with atypical odontalgia in the gum area of
I was diagnosed with atypical odontalgia in the gum area of my lateral incisor. Ive had a root canal, apicoectomy, and retreatment of the tooth. Am on lots of Noritryptiline and Gralise, and cant eat … read more
Dr. David
Dr. David
Radiation Oncology Attending Director
Post-Doctoral Degree
13,095 satisfied customers
I am 39 female with severe lower left side it takes my
I am 39 female with severe lower left side it takes my breath away. I have had a hysterectomy about 5 years ago… read more
Dr Anil Kumar
Dr Anil Kumar
M.B.B.S
2,722 satisfied customers
What is the best medical or physical treatment for Deep Vein
What is the best medical or physical treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis in the calfs and thighs? It seems to run in my family (mother and older sister)? Deep tissue massage in these areas are very pai… read more
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Consultant Surgeon and Sports Medicine
Post-Doctoral Degree
32,941 satisfied customers
My wife has ADDHD. She also has Restless Leg Syndrome. Her
My wife has ADDHD. She also has Restless Leg Syndrome. Her doctor had put her on a new medication for the ADDHD when the other wasn't working. This med helped but it caused the RLS to get even worse. … read more
Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik
PSYCHIATRIST ( MD Psychiatry)
Doctoral Degree
204 satisfied customers
I have been experiencing pain on left side of body for a
I have been experiencing pain on left side of body for a couple years now. Cat scan blood work colonoscopy chiropractor all done. Shows no results. My left hip is also bigger than right one. Also my j… read more
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob
Neurologist (MD)
Doctoral Degree
3,731 satisfied customers
I have a small vascular malformation and I want to know what
I have a small vascular malformation and I want to know what that means … read more
Neuro Doctor
Neuro Doctor
Full Time Neurologist
Neurologist MD (USA Board Certified
2,534 satisfied customers
I just received my results from my brain mri for epilepsy.
Hi I just received my results from my brain mri for epilepsy. The report says, there is a persistent, subtle asymmetric thickening and flair signal intensity involving the left mesial temporal lobe. T… read more
Neuro Doctor
Neuro Doctor
Full Time Neurologist
Neurologist MD (USA Board Certified
2,534 satisfied customers
My 2 yo headbutted me in the face today resulting in me to
My 2 yo headbutted me in the face today resulting in me to flicking/throwing my own head backwards to try and avoid him hitting me in the nose. A few minutes later I felt a sharp pain in the back of m… read more
Neuro Doctor
Neuro Doctor
Full Time Neurologist
Neurologist MD (USA Board Certified
2,534 satisfied customers
My husband has weak wobbly legs he is very unsteady when
My husband has weak wobbly legs he is very unsteady when standing and walking he is 75 years of age. This has been going on for a couple of weeks. He has a appointment with the doctor Monday morning i… read more
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Neurologist (MD)
Doctoral Degree
1,985 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x