wish I could call this a superpower
November 12, 2012 2:11 PM   Subscribe

I can see my pulse. Literally. Do I have anything to worry about?

When I say "see", I don't mean by looking at any part of my body or at some sort of medical instrument.

I mean that there is a small spot in my vision that fluctuates rhythmically in concert with my heart rate. It is a spot in the 4 o'clock position in the field of view of my left eye, about 10 degrees off from the straight ahead. It cycles subtly from light to dark with each heartbeat. It's only noticeable if I'm looking at a dark background.

I would mention this to my doctor, but he has often been the kind to be dismissive of issues that I bring up. I had to argue with him to get the asthma medication that I need. Yes, I am trying to switch doctors, but everyone with a good reputation around here isn't accepting new patients.

In my family, there has been a history of stroke and macular degeneration, but no significant heart disease.
posted by wutangclan to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did this just start recently, or has it always been this way?
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:20 PM on November 12, 2012

You'll feel so much better about this if you drop $40 on a basic eye exam. They will either tell you that it's all good or escalate you up the eye care chain. It's your eye. As a person who has one functional eye I urge you to go get it checked.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:26 PM on November 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

You have a small visual irregularity and a family history of degenerative eye disease. It could just be a burst blood vessel, it could be the first symptom of some completely unrelated disease. It's your eye, but I'd mention it to the doctor asap; at the very least he should refer you for an eye exam at an opthalmologist.
posted by jacalata at 2:46 PM on November 12, 2012

I had that superpower one night. I suddenly noticed that I could see my pulse, like a small vein in my eye throbbing with my heartbeat.
I also had massive carbon monoxide poisoning and ended up being treated at the hospital overnight. Once I was no longer being poisoned, I stopped seeing my pulse.

If this is a new thing, especially if it has started since the weather changed and heaters have been turned on, definitely get it checked out.
posted by Brody's chum at 3:20 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't want to be alarmist, but I get that pulsation sensation when my blood pressure is too high and my hypertension meds need adjusting. I'm sure there are many other things that could be going on, some innocuous, some serious. I think it would be a good idea to have a check-up sooner rather than later.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 3:39 PM on November 12, 2012

I don't want to alarm you, because I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to give medical advice. However, you may wish to self-evaluate for the other symptoms listed on this wikipedia page. Do you have a blood pressure cuff? If I were in your shoes, I would find some way to get my blood pressure measured as soon as possible.
posted by d. z. wang at 4:14 PM on November 12, 2012

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