I'm I'm seein' seein' double double.
September 19, 2010 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Should I be concerned about this brief moment of double vision earlier?

I was looking at the computer earlier when my eyes suddenly felt tight. It felt as if one or both eyes were spasming. My vision became strange, and I walked downstairs to a mirror. In the mirror, it looked like I had two rows of eyes. My vision seemed to be "stacked," one set of eyes atop the other. After about two minutes, the double vision disappeared.

I've been having dry, itchy eyes lately. My eyes have felt very tired. While I haven't had full double vision before, I have had two previous incidents where one eye seemed to be spasming. Both instances occurred after looking at a computer screen. In those instances, my eyes felt crossed, and I couldn't seem to read things up close. The "double vision" disappeared within a minute.

Additional information:

-I wear glasses, though I usually don't wear them when viewing things up close.
-I spend my entire day at work staring at a computer.
-I've had occasional pressure on my temples and sinuses for the past couple of weeks.
-My vitamin D levels are low, but everything else is okay.

During the double vision, I didn't feel particularly dizzy or nauseous. I didn't have a headache. I'm having a bit of sinus pressure, and the immediate right of my right eye feels kind of sore.

I put aside the other instances of my eyes "crossing" because I thought my eyes were just tired. Was this more of the same? Could it be due to allergies and sinus pressure? I have a doctor's appointment next month. Should I bring this up then?
posted by omoikkiri to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
If this were me, I'd move my doctor's apt. up. There's no reason to wait on something like this.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:06 PM on September 19, 2010

I agree--I would call physician's office tomorrow--describe your symptoms and ask for an earlier appt. Express your concern--I trust they will be helpful.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:09 PM on September 19, 2010

If it's a recurring thing, it would be wise to be seen sooner rather than later. I have similar things happen once every year or two and I haven't, but only because it's so rare and it only happens when I'm particularly fatigued.
posted by wierdo at 4:11 PM on September 19, 2010

It could just be eye fatigue, it could be something else. Nthing move the appointment up.
posted by goblinbox at 4:33 PM on September 19, 2010

If you wear your glasses because of astigmatism correction, it could be fatigue.
If you are slightly nearsighted, and approaching 40 years of age, it could be presbyopia.
It sounds like that, because looking in the mirror is also "near vision", as far as your eye muscles are concerned. Look away from close-up things every 15 minutes, and focus at a distant point for a minute. All muscles cramp if in the same position for too long, including eye muscles.

Since it won't hurt to move the appointment up, do it for peace of mind, IMO.

But depending on your age/RX, it's probably just some mild eyestrain.
Not a doctor, just an optician with a lot of experience.
posted by Stellaboots at 4:40 PM on September 19, 2010

Move up your GP appointment and get a referral to an ophthalmologist while you're there to have your vision checked. Vitamin D deficiency can do some odd neurological things, so you may also want to discuss having a neurologist check you out.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:31 PM on September 19, 2010

I had this happen to me last month, the second I parked the car (and thankfully not while driving). I happened to have parked by a pharmacy with a blood pressure cuff, I naturally thought that could be the issue, but it wasn't. I'm pregnant so I saw my OB/GYN and he couldn't come up with any reason it happened. It hasn't happen again. I'd call your doctor's nurse line in the morning and tell them (as long as it doesn't keep happening through the night).
posted by kpht at 6:28 PM on September 19, 2010

Disclaimer - IANAD
I work on computers all day long. What works for me is doing eye yoga. It takes two minutes and the benefits are immediate and last all day long. Do this daily and see your doctor.
posted by jack.tinker at 6:53 PM on September 19, 2010

I have this (double vision) because I wear contacts, and the left eye always seems to wear out before the right eye (they're two different brands). If it happened to my real, live eyes I'd be on the phone to the doctor sooner than it took you to type that question.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 7:07 PM on September 19, 2010

Yes. My mom had something simliar and it turned out to be ischemic CRVO. It was basically a mini-stroke in her eye. Go see a doctor, please - don't risk your vision.
posted by Ostara at 7:24 PM on September 19, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you for your replies. If I can't get in to see my GP until next month, should I a) spend the extra money (no eye insurance) to see a nearby eye doctor I've never been to but who can probably see me this week or weekend or b) go to Urgent Care tomorrow after work? I have insurance for emergency room visits.

I have mild astigmatism, I'm near-sighted, and I'm in my early twenties, for what it's worth. I'm currently taking 50,000 units of Vitamin D per week to bring my levels to the double digits.
posted by omoikkiri at 7:36 PM on September 19, 2010

If you go to an ophthalmologist for a medical issue related to vision-- not an optometrist-- it's medical insurance, not vision insurance. (I don't have vision INS and my insurer covers my ophtho visits.)

Call whoever you need to clear it with your insurance and go to an ophtho.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:34 PM on September 19, 2010

2nding fairytale.
If you see an opthalmologist or your primary care doctor (Internal Medicine, Family Med, whomever is at Urgent Care etc..) they should be covered by your health insurance. In my experience, it can be tough getting an appointment with an opthalmoligist without a referral from your primary care doc, and I'm not sure that double vision requires an eye specialist, so I would see my usual primary care doctor if I was in your shoes. But sooner rather than later to put my mind at ease.
posted by ladypants at 9:13 PM on September 19, 2010

MD and GP are not going to do the best evaluation if it's RX related.
Optometrists will do the best job of judging an RX/eyestrain issue. And if it's health-related, they are trained to recognize that, and refer to an Ophthalmologist. Which your insurance would cover.

If the Urgent care referral to an MD will make it covered by insurance, do that, but he will probably refer to someone else.

With no pain, experience is telling me that you need an update to your eyeglass correction.
When you do see an eye doctor, be sure to let them know about the amount of time you spend on the computer.
I have seen people your age prescribed bifocals to allow for the strain long amounts of computer time put on their eyes, and astigmatic correction applies to far and near. Mostly for print, like street signs driving, but also computer if you are reading a great deal.

If your last eye exam was 2 or more years ago, spend the money and get the exam done at an OD. Shouldn't be that expensive, depending on your area.
posted by Stellaboots at 9:16 PM on September 19, 2010

Your D levels are in the *SINGLE* digits? As in, below 10 ng/mL?

Man -- get those levels up, and fast. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I know about the 50,000 IU you are taking; that's a prescription D2 supplement (probably Deltalin). You can get better stuff over the counter at the pharmacy; though it is still a matter of debate, most vitamin D specialists will tell you that the natural form (cholecalciferol, or D3) is better absorbed and more effective at getting the serum levels up. 50,000 IU a week translates to just over 7,000 IU a day. You can take up to 10,000 IU safely (and frankly, if your levels are that low, you can probably tolerate more - some doctors use 100,000 IU weekly).

If you go out to get your own vitamin D, get it in a liquid form from a reputable supplier. The tablets don't work. Talk to the pharmacist.

Whether this double vision is caused by spasms or by cerebral ischemia, it's a huge warning sign. If your D levels are that low, you are absorbing next to no calcium, and over time that will lead to muscle problems (spasms, tremor, etc. - to say nothing of what it does to your skeleton). Chronic D insufficiency is connected with a whole host of serious nervous system diseases, some of which can cause the symptoms you are describing.

Your level should be at least 30 ng/mL, preferably above 50 ng/mL. If you are taking vitamin D, you should also be taking calcium -- but remember, IANYD.

You can get more information at the Grassroots Health website (with which I have no personal affiliation, just FYI).
posted by rhombus at 7:58 AM on November 23, 2010

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