Vision symptoms?

I was diagnosed recently and am trying to understand what is what. Maybe you all can share similar symptoms so I can see if this is chiari or arthritis or whatever. I have a type 1 chiari, 6 mm more pronounced on the right. I also have moderate to severe arthritis along my c4, c5, c6 and c7 spine.

My question is about my vision. I sometimes awaken to wracking pain in my lower head, neck and shoulders and this pain is accompanied by strange vision issues, whereby what I am seeing is divided into these round ‘panes’ as though I am looking through rainy glass. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I went to an ophthalmologist who said I am just hyper sensitive to the floaters in my eyes. This explanation is frustrating and I’m sure just plain wrong. He said my retina is healthy.

The physical nature of Chiari puts stress on the brain. Vision is a complicated affair and visual processing can often be challenged with Chiari both pre-and post surgery. I tried vision therapy pre-surgery and before I was diagnosed but it was not successful, and the therapist actually discontinued with me and told me to seek further medical assessment as something was wrong - as indeed there was.

After surgery, my visual processing was still impaired and I returned to the vision therapist. I did a lot of work for a year, took a break, then did some more fine-tuning. I am pleased with the effort

Please note that I had vision problems for a number of years before diagnosis. I saw many optometrists, an opthamologist, and a neuro-opthamologist, who dismissed chiari findings on MRI as relevant.

In regards to your description of vision impairment, it sounds weird. Doctors do not like weird especially when it makes no sense to them, and tend to cast the client into the “weird” category as well. Just seems to be the way it is. It may be that you are highly verbal about what you are seeing and using words that are not meaningful for them. You may want to see an optometrist who specializes in vision therapy for a more comprehensive functional test of your vision. Of course, they are not all the same. Try a find someone who has been doing it for a number of years, is recommended by other optometrists, sees adults/concussion clients, and does not follow a rigid path of treatment for all clients.

Please also note that I found my vision was affected by muscle triggers in my neck and upper shoulders. WHen those were resolved it helped alot. Claire Davies book, The Trigger Point Workbook is amazing for self-treatment in this area. Well worth the $40 and the time required to read and implement it. Given that pain seems to be linked to your vision problems this might be a good place to start. I know that when activated, muscle triggers do dish out a lot of “weird”.

There you are, two things to take control of, assessment with a vision therapy based optometrist and check out the muscle trigger book!

1 Like

Hey Tracy,
Welcome to Ben’s Friends.
Firstly I have to agree with every thing Gabby states above, ESPECIALLY

And if it’s any conciliation I’m weird too. I don’t fit nice and neatly into their ‘medical boxes’, my symptoms are not ‘normal’ and Dr’s often don’t like that. I often joke "I’ve been put in the ‘Too Hard’ basket, which just makes me a basket case (as if we didn’t already know that :laughing: ) " And it is said light-heartedly Haha. But the reality of living it, that ain’t so funny at all.

Some of the medicos are of the opinion that if the tonsil is less than a certain length then your symptoms will be minimal, but this is not always the case. Some report a large tonsil with minimal symptoms and yet others have a smaller tonsil with no end of issues.

I have had a few neurosurgical procedures and my eyes are like my barometer and I have had no end of issues. I don’t get ‘round panes’ but squiggly lines and bits missing in my vision. The pressure behind my eyes is often immense. I queried why? The medicos didn’t much like me questioning. First they said it was a dental issue, so I had all of my top teeth removed. It wasn’t my teeth. Then the said it was muscle tension, so I bought a hydrotherapy spa bath, it’s nice and relaxed me, but didn’t resolve my issue. I tried acupuncture, but without success. Then they said it was stress related. Past stress, present stress and future stress, seems I was storing all of this stress up in the muscles in my neck shoulders and face. So I had multiple treatments of Botox, I had a real sexy, wrinkle-free neck, but I was still having issues. Then they came out with the line ‘Ohh, you just have a low tolerance to pain…’ I wanted to SCREAM. They have no clue how bad neurological pain can be. When you hurt your arm it affects your arm, but when it’s your brain it affects EVERYTHING.

From what I have found, one of the best ways to deal with this can be to go through a process of elimination. If a dr suggests a treatment, a solution, then trial it. Try every suggestion made and document it all, eliminate every treatment option possible. One of them might just work, but by eliminating each option (and documenting it) you are following through with options and by documenting it, you have reports and paperwork to prove it. This can prevent differing dr’s sending you for the same scans or the same treatments.

Having multiple conditions and multiple specializations can make things much more difficult, as you are finding having both chiari and arthritis. It can be easy for specialists to play off against each other and yes, I’ve had to play those games before. You have every right to ask for a 2nd,3rd or 4th opinion. Ophthalmologists often refer back to the primary report. If the primary report (neuro) states the chiari is minimal, it maybe discredited as a cause without consideration by the ophthalmologist.

Best of luck with it all
Merl from the Modsupport Team