Vision Disturbances and Migraines

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epstns

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Paleowoman;n884466 said:
I wonder if that is similar to what I am describing as double vision - each eye sees things at a different angle so it's like two images, whereas normally we combine the two images into one. I find when this happens I feel I'm going to fall over but it's not dizziness. I just shut my eyes and after a short while everythig is normal agan.
Yup - That's just what it feels like. Mine don't last long, either, and sometimes just closing my eyes for a moment clears it up. Also, it seems to help to focus my eyes on something in the mid-distance, rather than anything close.

I'm not aware of anything we can do about these, so I just deal with it.
 
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I found this topic when searching for answers relating to my vison problems after surgery, I had aortic valve replacement on November 12th. As soon as I woke from surgery I noticed a change in vison. My left eye I've lost about 60%vison while just a spot in my right eye. The eye doctor says it's due to a retina inclusion saying while uncommon I had what they referred to as an eye stroke where a blood clot blocks part oxygen to be eye and now my vision more than likely is permanently affected but I'm 26 days post surgery and there is a chance that some of my vision will return I'm hoping and praying because if my vision stays this way I would never be able to drive a car and it's very scary. If anyone has or knows of similar experiences please lmk Thank you
 

pellicle

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2ndvalvereplacement;n885935 said:
...As soon as I woke from surgery I noticed a change in vison. My left eye I've lost about 60%vison while just a spot in my right eye. The eye doctor says it's due to a retina inclusion saying while uncommon I had what they referred to as an eye stroke where a blood clot blocks part oxygen to be eye and now my vision more than likely is permanently affected
that's dreadful, I'm sorry to hear that. One more to ad to my list of post surgical complications..

I hope you get some more vision restored

Best Wishes
 
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Thank you pellicle, its very scary & thinking long term only being 36 that's a long future without vision in my eye. But I've been reading quite a bit on here &I I know that I'm lucky I could have lost vision in both eyes or not made it through the surgery OK. I did go into full heart block twice Which was terrifying and I hope to never go thru anything like that. I ended up having to get a pacemaker but it wasn't as bad as I envisioned. I kept picturing my exfathernlaws they had to creat a pocket of skin in his chest where mine is a micro pacemaker and is very small cannot be seeing outside of my body. I had surgery on Tuesday morning and left the hospital the following Wednesday afternoon so it wasn't that bad I'm grateful to have made it through relatively unscathed .
 

doclewis

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I have found some info but not alot on migraines and vision loss post-op.

Seems to not be very uncommon for frequencies to increase after surgery. Before surgery I used to get a vision disturbances followed by a migraine headache about 30 min later that would last about 2 hours around every other month. Fast forward to the present, and post-op I expect to have 1-2 a week. Post-op vision in my left eye just seems to be blurry most of the time unless i concentrate on it... no idea what that might mean but i do wear contacts. February 15, 2018 at 23 years old I had open heart surgery, replaced my bicuspid aortic valve with a St. Jude Mechanical valve and had the aortic root and ascending aorta replaced with a Dacron graft. I take 81mg aspirin (once a day), metropolol (twice a day) and coumadin (once a day but dose changes depending on the day).

Since im on coumadin I am limited on migraine meds I can take when I first get the vision disturbances. Most migraine meds (at least that I have read) are made up of aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine. Since I am not supposed to take more aspirin than I already do, I usually just take Tylenol immediately if I get vision disturbances and try to follow the Tylenol with something with caffeine (coffee, redbull, etc.) depends on what is faster to go buy. Typically if I get caffeine and tylenol in my system fast enough before the vision disturbances go away then I will have a minor headache.

Although I have found a way that I can exist with these migraines, I am still looking to see if anyone has any insight or recommendations. General doc recommended some sort of anti-depressant that "might have the possibility of preventing migraines" or increasing my dose of metropolol which would drop my heart rate below 60. The doc did state that its probably not the smartest idea on the low heart rate thing, and I agree. Anti-depressants just seem like a cop-out to me from doctors when they dont want to dig deeper, and I wont take them. A friend mentioned CBD oil but idk on that or how it reacts with coumadin.

Any recommendations or insights on what other people have discovered?

Anyone else have similar experiences with vision loss and migraines after surgery?
I have had almost same experience AVR, anulus enlargement and aortic aneurysm repair 4 years ago. Bovine tissue valve. No coumadin. Hx of migraines with aura since adolescence (now 74). Migraines morphed in to ocular migraines (aura but no severe headache or vomiting) at about age 30. Occurred about once every three months over the years. After surgery had these almost every day for a while and continued to have them about twice a week for a year. Saw a neurologist who said she had never heard of this, but had seen same phenomena in patients who were post op from carotid endarterectomy. She suggested only baby asa which I was suppose to be taking anyway. Surgeon and cardiologist also said they had never heard of this. They did get a little less frequent averaging about one every eight to ten days. Seem to be related to exercise and have cut way back on my exercise. Have them other times even waking up at night with aura. Still over half occur when I exercise. Were more frequent when I was off asa for colonoscopy/polypectomy. I have found that I feel blah and slight headache for a day after each episode. This is the only physical problem that I have noted since surgery and I guess I should be grateful. However, I was totally asymptomatic when I had the surgery. I have no explanation and have seen nothing in literature about this. Have been told that it happens because of suddenly increasing blood flow to the brain. Doesn't seem to be getting any better over past two years. I have really given up getting help or good explanation. Very interesting to see others have very similar experience and would be eager to know if this is lifelong problem and is it going to get worse or better. I just don't feel well for a day after episodes and don't feel like eating. Feel depressed for a day. I have read that this symptom is "postdrome" for migraines.
 

egar

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I had visual disturbances starting the day after my MVR. I would have one quarter to on half of the visual field in one eye or the other go completely black. The first time it happened in the hospital I mentioned it to the cardiac care nurse and he said it was nothing to worry about.

Over the next several weeks I had maybe a half dozen occurances of this, each lasting only a few minutes. I also had a few instances where there was no blackouts, but could not focus my eyes properly. Unnerving, but no pain and each passed with no apparent long term effects.

I asked my cardiologist and she said it was TIA, basically microclots blocking blood vessels in the retina. She raised my target INR to 3-3.5 and I haven’t had any of those visual issues in almost 5 months.
 
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Johan

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My AVR was 10 years ago and since I came home from hospital experience the visual aura expanding from a bright dot into a circle of flickering white and black little bars until the whole lot disappears. The pattern is exactly the way described by pellicle above, either disappearing on one side or concentric circles ever widening and then disappearing. About once a month since surgery. My cardiologist said it sounds like a "silent migraine". No headache pain at all. Never had it before surgery.
A stranger visual disturbance, only affects the left eye, always looks exactly the same and appeared for first time about 2 weeks after surgery. It looks like a cloud obscuring about a third of the upper vision of my left eye. The lower outline of the "cloud" has a wavy look. The colour of the cloud is dark purple when my left eye is open and white when I close the eye. It takes about 5 min to slowly fade away.
The Dr's cannot explain it and I do not freak anymore, just wait for it to go away. It happens sporadically.
 

Paleowoman

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Since the day after AVR five years ago I have had frequent episodes of visual aura which starts in middle of vision and expands outwards over period of about 20 minutes, I discovered from GP the proper name of this type of aura is "scintillating scotoma". Plus I get episodes of double vision which last a minute or two. On the cardiac ward the doctor said these visual problems are common after OHS but no explanation of as to why. I do not get headaches. And there are no triggers for these episodes, they happen any time of day - or night - I will sometimes wake up and find I am expriencing the visual aura. The trigger seems to have been OHS.
 

Boomanchu

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I had bouts of double vision, ocular migraines and a host of other visual disturbances after surgery which no doctor seemed to relate to surgery. The good news is that it began to happen less often and now almost 4 1/2 years later I would have to say things are back to normal.
 

workmonkey

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Had the same experience as all describe here: Woke up from surgery with flashing lights. The auras continued for years ... It'd happen every time after exercise, but I'd also wake up with them. Sometimes it'd happen dozens of times throughout the day. I eventually got used to it, as they simply became an annoyance more than anything. Occasionally, I'd have double vision and some vertigo, but that was rarer. Along with some mental haze and fog, these were eventually diagnosed as complex migraines, most likely caused by the surgery.

Here's the good news: Roughly six months ago, my doctor prescribed Propranolol @ 20mg twice a day ... This is a betablocker that is a common and tested treatment for visual migraines. After about a week, the auras started to disappear. Not only that, but my bouts of brain fog dissipated as well. I could exercise again without brain fog. If I have any visual disturbances now, they are rare, and only last a few minutes. I'd highly recommend it to anyone having this problem, as it resolved after five years of frustration.
 

WoodyAVR

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At last I’ve found some people experiencing exactly the same as me. My aortic valve was replaced with a St Jude’s mechanical in September 2006. Since then I haven’t discovered any evidence relating my visual experiences to my surgery but I knew it was directly related.
More research please cardiologists.
 

SumoRunner

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I never connected the double vision/vertigo/brain fog stuff to the visual auras, but I guess they could be related. I tend to get them all occaisionally, but not simultaneously.
 

Hollyn

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I haven’t posted here since prior to my Avr/anulus enlargement in Oct 2018. I too experienced visual occurrences post surgery and still do but less frequently. Mine are almost like a small white lightening bolt periodically will flash in my vision field. Strange. Also I have always gotten visual migraines but they occur much more frequently now. I’m interested to know if anyone had visual hallucinations when taking tramadol post surgery? Mine were vivid and didn’t go away rapidly. Obviously I stopped taking tramadol and will never again.
 

Paleowoman

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Mine are almost like a small white lightening bolt periodically will flash in my vision field. Strange.
I get those too every day in addition to the visual aura and double vision which happen roughly once or twice weekly. The small white lightening bolts for me are like those Roman candle type fireworks where the bright white lights bounce across up and down out of the firework, that's the nearest I can describe it. I don't really have a problem with any of these visual things, apart from the double vision which is disorientating, thankgoodness the double vision episodes are very short lived, usually. The visual aura is kind of pretty and interesting, and the small white lightening dancing across my vision is pretty. Would be nice to know exactly why this all started immediately after AVR !
 

Protimenow

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My AVR was 10 years ago and since I came home from hospital experience the visual aura expanding from a bright dot into a circle of flickering white and black little bars until the whole lot disappears. The pattern is exactly the way described by pellicle above, either disappearing on one side or concentric circles ever widening and then disappearing. About once a month since surgery. My cardiologist said it sounds like a "silent migraine". No headache pain at all. Never had it before surgery.
A stranger visual disturbance, only affects the left eye, always looks exactly the same and appeared for first time about 2 weeks after surgery. It looks like a cloud obscuring about a third of the upper vision of my left eye. The lower outline of the "cloud" has a wavy look. The colour of the cloud is dark purple when my left eye is open and white when I close the eye. It takes about 5 min to slowly fade away.
The Dr's cannot explain it and I do not freak anymore, just wait for it to go away. It happens sporadically.
The new thing you are describing may be secondary to Zyrtec. When I took Zyrtec, I seemed to lose vision (temporarily) in one eye and often had the side of my tongue, and sometimes fingers on the same side, go numb). I have a friend who had the same reaction, and someone else here reported the same symptoms.
Of course, I stay away from Zyrtec - as do the others who've had a similar experience - but I suspect that this may not have been well documented, and may be more prevalent than people think.

Do YOU take Zyrtec?
 

Protimenow

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It's funny - "double vision" can mean a few different things (to me, at least):
In one case, it's looking at something and seeing a second image of it slightly below (or below and to the side). You can see it when looking at a traffic signal - you can see the light that's on, with one below it. This can happen to people developing cataracts -- the lens, getting cloudy, carries a phantom image of the bright things, while the actual image gets through the cataract.

It's also supposed to happen if you take too much lanoxin/digoxin. There may be other medications that have this side effect. This type of 'double vision' may be unrelated to OHS.

The other kind happens when you actually see what your eyes see - as separate images. Your brain doesn't fuse the input from your eyes into a single image. This is probably the more troubling of the two - and it may prompt you to close one eye or the other to avoid confusing your brain, and making it possible to navigate. You might wait until your brain can handle the two images - either turning one off, or fusing them into a 3-d image.

I don't know if this is OHS related.

Since I stopped taking Lanoxin, and had my cataract surgeries, I, personally, rarely if ever experience the first type.

I DO, sometimes, get the second - but usually only for a few minutes, until my brain does something about it or I refuse to acknowledge it.

---

BTW - to nobody in particular - the word is 'lightning', NOT 'lightening.' 'Lightening' is something some people may do to their hair if it comes out too dark, or turning an extra light on in a room that is too dark (or something). It's the opposite of darkening.

I prefer not to get hate mail about pointing this out - it's a common error.
 

Malleus

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I'm sorry folks are dealing with these migraine auras, but this is fascinating. I have suffered from them for decades, but they've been well controlled for the past two years with metoprolol (taken also for hypertension). I will have to undergo AVR soon, and had a cardiac catheterization procedure last week. Immediately following that, just after I was wheeled back to my room, I had two back-to-back episodes of visual aura without headache. I just had another one this morning, whereas prior to the procedure I'd been having them perhaps once every three months. There's definitely an association here. I'm a scientist myself, though not an MD, but I recognize the prospects for a good journal article in this!
 

doclewis

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As I posted before AVR with repair of aneurysm 4 years ago. Interestingly I had a migraine aura while lying on table for my cath about a week before my surgery. Never thought much about it. Post op every day. I had been on bisoprolol for years preop and continue to take it to this day. I would love to see a scientific article as to the etiology of this phenomena. I am a retired MD and have found nothing about this. I too am convinced that the dramatic increase in frequency of these auras is related to the surgery. Wonder if it is caused by sudden increase blood flow to brain or somehow related to heart lung machine.
 

ZachL

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Thank you everyone for your incite on this topic. I recently talked to my cardiac doc, cardiac surgeon and general doc all said they had never heard of such a thing. If they continue to happen with the same frequency I am going to try and talk to a neurologist.
I did however solve the problem of double vision not going away... during my week in the hospital after my OHS for my mechanical valve and aortic graft someone/somehow my new boxes of contacts I ordered got mixed up so I was wearing the prescriptions on the wrong sides. My prescriptions are fairly close -1.5, and -1.75 so I did not notice anything quickly right after surgery (drugs and loopy). It basically made one eye a magnified and the other blurry but I was not driving and I was wearing my glasses more than usual. Lets just say I was pretty pissed at myself when the eye doc noticed the boxes were marked wrong.



- Not sure why, but I was the OP and signed in when I wrote the first post and it says it was written by a guest. Anyone know if it is possible to update/change it?
 

Protimenow

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Hey, Doc - I've been hoping for the same kind of research. No doubt this would be anecdotal - and, judging from the pretended ignorance of such a thing (I'm sure it's more common than many doctors want to admit), it'll be difficult to build any kind of database of people who experience this.

I wonder if it's limited to people who've had valve replacements, or any type of OHS. Perhaps something can be written to alert medical professionals to watch for this - and not just discount reports by patients as coming from wackos, hypochondriacs, or wierdos reporting something that doesn't exist. If it's seen as real -- and possibly some actual numbers (or even some kind of registry) can be created, perhaps they can actually determine what's going on, what can help alleviate it, and, perhaps, how to prevent it.

Of course, there's a lot of other stuff that may be more pressing, and NIH funding is undoubtedly drying up, so until someone driving a car takes out people in a crosswalk because he or she can't see them, this will probably be a silent problem - silent everywhere but on this forum.
 
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