Sunday, July 19, 2009

Meniere’s disease and vision

Lately I have spent a lot of time wondering why my meniere’s disease is coming back. Last week I went to the doctor and found out my blood pressure was high, so I thought that was the reason. I am still having attacks, small attacks but attacks. Before that I thought it was the plane ride that I took in June. Well, it has been a month since that happened so my ears should have recovered since then.

Here is another theory I am tossing around, my vision has something to do with it.
Last summer was busy with gent injections every 2 weeks for a total of 4 injections and my cataract surgery, which was a month after that. It seemed like it was all squeezed together. After I had the first eye worked on I couldn’t believe how different everything looked, the colors were vivid and the sky was very bright. The time between having the right eye done and the left eye was strange because my vision was mixed up, everything was vivid coming in one eye and dull out of the eye that still had the cataract.

After the surgery was completed I had to put eye drops in many times during the day for several months till my eyes healed. This caused blurriness in my eyes. At the same time I was feeling the effects of the gent injections and I was having some of my worst attacks. It was at this time I went on disability.

My eyes got better, I stopped taking the eye drops and my meniere’s got better early this year. My vision was so good that I no longer needed prescription glasses just glasses from the drugstore.

Now some 6 months later my vision doesn’t seem as good as it was and I might need to go back to the eye doctor.

Is there a connection between my vision and Meniere’s disease coming back? I don’t know I’m not a doctor but I know that vision plays an important part in the balance system along with the inner ear.

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Thanks

32 comments:

  1. Hi David, hope you are feeling well now. In my experience and the experience of many others who have Meniere's Disease and contact our help site, I think vision is of course conected. On the one hand things like watching TV or something fast moving - reading while travelling (in the car or train)- flashing lights, driving etc can all spark vertigo attacks nwith Meniere's. On the other hand the vision is affected by Meniere's Disease anyway isn't it so it's a bit of a chicken and egg question.

    Have you tried a strict diet? Meaning lots of fresh veggies and fruits & low in salt (obviously) sugar, saturated fats and processed foods. We have found this can help a great deal "over time". Also we have found that alcohol and smoking is a BIG problem.

    Take Care David and I wish you luck.

    Mike

    www.menieres-help.com

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  2. REF/MENIERES/EYES. I use [opto chromology filters]in my glasses to help limit the effect of meniere's on my eyes.I suffer from variable D/Vision on a daily bases. Primarily used in the treatment of AUTISEM/DESELIXA.Try to limit READING/TV/SHOPPING when exp/episodes.MENIERES SELF PERLIFERATES.Keep a day log to help you relate to pos/causes and triggers.I MY SITUATION MENIERS EFFECTS MY EYES AND VISION IMPUT EFFECTS MY MENIERES 100% CONCLUSIVE.

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  3. Hi David, I too have Meniere's Disease and have had difficulty with my vision. Mainly, the difficulty is that I got new contacts but haven't been able to wear them due to pre-vertigo symptoms (for me this includes narrowing of vision, sweating, ears ringing, etc.). I can't get myself through that period of time when a person needs to adjust to a new glasses/contacts prescription. I keep going back to my old glasses, knowing that someday the inevitable will happen and they will get broken or lost. I'm sure I will have to beg my provider to give me my old prescription, although it expired a three years ago. Anyway, I can't wear my new contacts longer than 2 hours without that ill feeling that vertigo is coming on. Good luck to you. This can be a very discouraging disease.

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  4. Hi Chloeamos,
    I really think that there is a connection between vision and meniere's. I hope you get your contacts to work.
    thanks for the comment and keep in touch
    David

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  5. Hi David,
    If you are still receiving comments, please let me know. I had Cataract surgery in March, 2010, and in May I was told by an ENT that I have Meninere's Disease. I have not yet tried another Dr. but am seeing one soon. The only symptoms I have is hearing loss and ringing in my left ear. I too wonder if the surgery on my eyes could have created this horrible disease. Take care, God bless.
    Roni

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  6. Roni,
    It is always good to get a second or even third opinion. Luckily you don't have the spinning which is good and I hope you don't get that. As for the tinnitus (ringing in the ears) there are things that can be done about that. Try to find a doctor who specializes in inner ear problem and who is familiar with tinnitus and meniere's disease.
    good luck and stay in touch
    David

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  7. I was diagnosed with Meniere's just last week...however, I've dealt with the symptoms for quite a while. The specialist I saw, said that drs. now think that Men. has to do with migraines. What I have noticed is that I don't have full-force vertigo...mine is a stumble here and there because I get 'out of whack' . As far as vision, what I have noticed is that I have a feeling of a panic attack and it seems that my periphreal vision is stronger than what I see what in front of me. I'm not sure how to describe it...I guess what I am saying is that my brain tries to focus on what I see to the sides of me rather than right in front of me. Anyone else experience that?

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  8. There seems to be a lot written about the connection between migraines and meniere's. Although you can have meniere's without the migraines. And I have also heard of people that have meniere's without the terrible vertigo.
    That's interesting about your periphreal vision being stronger than what you see in front of you I hadn't heard of that before. I will have to ask that question in an upcoming blog
    stay in touch
    David

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  9. There have been no peer-reviewed studies to suggest a correlation between cataract surgery outcome and Meniere's disease.

    BUT...

    Since I am Bilateral Meniere's, and since my balance is ENTIRELY reliant on my visual acuity and my adaptation to my own values of vision that have established over many years an almost perfect balancing system, I have declined the offer for cataract surgery.

    There is one article on PubMed - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20375750 - that would indicate that we are not deceived by the pacifications of eye surgeons.

    I KNOW instinctually not to have this procedure, which would throw my life back to the fishes. I operate instinctually in most things, and it has served me better than my intellect ever did.

    David, lovepeacesanity to you, and may your path be clear and with joy.
    -Jessica Williams, jazz pianist

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  10. Hi Jessica,
    it is so strange that I had a lot of my meniere's problems after my cataract surgery I wonder if they did have anything to do with my balance.

    I can imagine that it would be very difficult to control your balance with bilateral meniere's especially only relying with your sight.
    thanks for commenting and stay in touch
    David

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  11. Hi.my name is Elizabeth. I suffer from Meniers for years on and off. I had a tube placed into my Ear to drain fluid, then it was removed and left a 3 mm hole. Now I am in a severe crisis and my Eyesight is affected, I squint a lot and Things / Objects seem to move when they are still
    .do any of you have this problem ??? Please share.

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  12. Hi Elizabeth,
    There does seem to be a connection between vision and meniere's disease. I know that I have also had the problem of things appearing to bounce around as well.
    thanks for commenting and stay in touch
    David

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    Replies
    1. Make that three of us. My vision has been distressingly inconsistent since my labyrinthectomy surgery. Not only is my vision worse than it used to be, but it's better or worse from day to day, and things do tend to jump around. I think the jumping around is from nystagmus, but the rest I can't explain.

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  13. I am going to have cataract surgery. I am really afraid. I have heard it can make meniere's much worse. is this true?

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  14. In my own case the cataract surgery didn't cause any problems with the menieres'. The one thing that I noticed after the surgery was that the things that you see are much brighter and more colorful.
    good luck
    David

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  15. I feel you pain and I too have a visual issue.
    I was diagnosed in my mid twenties, I am now 40 and since I was 35 I have had chronic Meniere's disease - black outs etc, practically disabled from it.

    As sufferers we all have different symptoms which make it difficult to rationalise for experts and even more difficult for us reconcile.

    I have often thought that the vision, and the brain's reaction to vision and 'shock' either audible or visual brings on the most shocking attacks.

    Prior to having Meniere's my body was capable of handling severe visusl/audible changes, but now they seem to aggravate the condition. Well I am now thinking that it is not the Ear/ Balance organ that we should question...

    The ear/Balance organ, in my opinion is a by-product of cranial dysfunction - from the nerve to the ear.
    I was told by my surgeon that after the Gen treatment, they would perform the vestibular neurectomy thus stopping the signal from the brain. High risk - but will cut the dizziness and black-outs. The other ear will compensate over time.

    I'm wondering whether the nerve is more at fault than the ear/balance organ. If the brain is the source and can no longer process 'shock' could that be why the attacks we suffer are audio/visual/balance?
    My vision goes cloudy, my neck tightens, my head tightens, and i can't concentrate.
    Is the Ear to blame for all this?

    David, you are not alone. Wish you well!

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  16. It's difficult to say where the main problem of meniere's is, it probably is a combination of balance, vision signals to the brain as well as diet and other things as well.
    Thanks for commenting and please stay in touch
    David

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  17. I wanted to comment on the tightness many of us get in our necks/heads/shoulders. I think it happens because we realize that if we move our heads, we are likely to feel dizzy. That was certainly true for me. I understood after awhile that I was holding my head unnaturally still in the hope it would reduce my symptoms. That, in turn, made my neck and shoulders very stiff.

    I had to start making a conscious effort to do exercises to loosen up the neck and shoulders, because otherwise it became quite painful. So I would do slow head rolls, arm circles, and other stretches, to keep the area from tightening up.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Sometimes our bodies' reactions can be ultimately counterproductive. In this case there is a short-term benefit to stiffening up in that you don't feel wobbly, but longer term I believe there is a detrimental effect as our senses become less used to movement (and therefore more likely to over-react when movement does happen).

      If you can keep yourself loose and moving naturally through the slightly uncertain balance feelings I believe this is a way to let your body adapt; basically you're exposing your senses to your new reality and they will adjust.

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    2. I am probably starting to sound like a broken record about this, but it was yoga that loosened up my neck and shoulders. I started feeling much, much better in terms of stiffness and aches and pains as soon as I started doing yoga again.

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  18. Hi David,
    I live in Uk have had menieres since 2004, it has recently got a lot worse as in vertigo and balance problems. Within last couple of years have developed cataracts, and wondered if there was some correlation to my worsening syptoms? Dilemma do I have the cataract surgery, my optician feels that I would not be able to cope with the interim deficit in vision between eyes,and I have always struggled with changes in lens prescriptions the same as one of the comments made. Any input I would be grateful as I am now in the process of going back to the ENT (Ears, nose& throat) dept of my local hospital to try and sort something out as things are not good at moment.

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  19. Anonymous, I believe any change in your vision would have an impact on your balance when you have Meniere's. Because of the damage that is done to your inner ear by the disease, your balance becomes more dependent on other senses, such as vision and touch. If one of those is compromised, it is harder to stay stable.

    I am inclined to believe that anything that improves your vision would help the vertigo/balance.

    But another thing I wonder about is whether you have nystagmus on a regular basis. I had ongoing baseline nystagmus for years following my labyrinthectomy, and I think that might be why my vision never seems to respond fully to corrective lenses. I'm not even sure now that it has stopped.

    That might be something to check out pretty thoroughly.

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  20. Hi Peggy,
    Thanks very much for that info, I will certainly look into it. I am due to go for further tests on my balance to check out amount of damage done todate in the inner ear so hopefully will be able to get the nystagmus problem looked at more thoroughly as I do know that I have that problem in one of my eyes. Really appreciate you taking the time to reply

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  21. Ask your ophthalmologist about prism lenses, too. When I had the nystagmus, I tried prism lenses in my glasses for awhile because my ENT thought it might help. It didn't help me as far as I could tell, but it does help some people, stabilizing the eyes by forcing your vision in certain directions.

    I think I have less of the nystagmus now than I did before, but I haven't been tested in many months. I am sure that the adjustment of my inner ears to manage my balance is an ongoing process, and a very slow one.

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  22. Hi Peggy,
    Yes I do have a prism in one of my lenses already would be interesting to check out which eye has the nystagmus and which the prism! Or if its the same one of course. Awaiting to see my GP as the ENT chappie wants to increase my serc dosage to see if it helps the worsening vertigo I've got at the moment + going to see the balance clinic I will let you know how I get on. Many thanks for all your comments they have been very useful.

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  23. A woman who used to post on this blog (and I wish she would come back!) said once that the first prism lens she tried wasn't strong enough, and she insisted her doctor increase the strength of the prism. That might be worth asking about?

    Good luck... I hope things come together for you. The serc did nothing for me, but I assume you have the real thing, being in Europe and having better access. The serc here isn't the same, apparently. :(

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  24. Hi Peggy,
    Sorry for delay not been too brill, managed to get to see GP today have had my Serc increased so will see how that goes. Many thanks for the prism info, due for MRI on 31st Oct. still waiting for appointment for vestibular tests, not looking forward to those heard varying reports. Have you ever had them done?

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  25. I've had more tests done than I care to recall! The only ones I've really minded were MRI's with contrast dye, because even the best lab techs have a difficult time finding the veins to get a needle in for the dye. I didn't really like the test where they blow cold air (or cold water) into the bad ear and then measure what your eyes are doing with goggles that send the results to a computer, but it was quite bearable.

    Oh, wait, I know... my worst test ever was the 48-hour EEG, where they glued two dozen electrodes to my scalp, put a tight netting cap over that, and sent me home with all the wires and a monitor to track brain waves for two days and nights. But that was about my migraines, not Meniere's as such.

    Don't sweat the tests. They aren't so bad. :-)

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  26. Thanks Peggy, got the feeling its probably for water in the ears job, will let you know how I get on. Hopefully the MRI is without dye, we have a friend who has just been diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma dont feel I'm in that league thank goodness. Next problem on horizon is the govt. over here are decimating the welfare system which means sadly I'm in the position of losing what help I do get financially within a year max. Will have to rely on my partners wages to keep us both which is pretty scary!! Will let you know how tests go.

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  27. Hi Peggy,
    Nothing to do with menieres hope you are in a safe place re 'Sandy' if not will be thinking of you and sending prayers. Would imagine this sort of huge weather pressure is not helping the menieres either.
    Regards

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  28. I know with the intense pressure from the approaching storm my tinnitus has been off the charts. There's been 2 occasions today where I thought an attack was imminent, but nothing came of it. As for the storm, I'm in upstate NY, not in the path, but we are getting a lot of wind, much more so than we had from Irene, but we're not suppose to get anywhere near the rain we had with Irene. Hope that anyone anywhere near the storm has sought higher and safer ground. Stay safe everyone.

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  29. I don't know if anyone will see this, but I wanted to post something else about vision and Meniere's.

    Since my husband and I moved to CT in the middle of last summer, my balance has been much worse, and I feel dizzy most of the time. In addition, my vision has been quite blurry, and I had no idea why.

    This week I was due for my annual vision tests, so I did that. My prescription has changed only a little in the middle and near visual fields, but they diagnosed me as having chronic dry eye. They gave me a sample of prescription eye drops, and I feel so much better now!

    Not only did my eyes stop burning/itching/tearing, but also I just feel better overall, with clearer vision and (even more importantly) less noticeable dizziness and less of that awful general feeling of malaise. I'm wondering now whether the extra dizziness could have been caused by the blurriness that went together with the dry eye.

    I will be getting my new glasses soon, and I chose a frame that has a larger lens (slightly wider and deeper), so I can get a broader field of clear vision. My new theory is that my progressive lenses could also have been part of my overall dizziness for the past year or so. The ones I've been wearing are fairly small, and the lenses taper slightly toward the bottom. Couldn't read books with them at all.

    I will test this theory and get back to all of you. But I'm hopeful that treating my vision issues could actually help reduce the Meniere's symptoms.

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