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Tunnel Vision at Elevation
#46265 05/16/16 02:53 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 21
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 21
Hello-

Of course I should go to my doctor and I will. But, I was hoping to get any input as well.

I am 46 years old, I've day hiked Whitney 3 times, Baldy 30 times and ran/walked a few 50M Ultras and always lost. I've been lucky to have no real injuries or complaints outside of being slow. I've usually faired better than most above 12K in the past.

In the last year, in 3 of 4 times hiking above 8K I have an acute symptom. I develop somewhat of a tunnel vision of sorts. My peripheral vision contains appears to become kind of flashy or blotchy. When I slow down or stop the symptoms disappear.

I was hoping to go high again this summer but now I'm thinking it may not be a good idea. I would be very interested in some feedback. Thank you- Mike

Re: Tunnel Vision at Elevation
Mike Kennedy #46268 05/16/16 05:10 PM
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Sorry you are having problems

First are some very general internet thoughts that do not take the place of legitimate medical advice.

'Coning of vision" , or loss of peripheral vision, occurs in acute and severe hypoxia situations, like pilots. It is not a classic manifestation of simple altitude illness (AMS)

At only 8,000 ft height, there is not enough hypoxemia to do that, unless you have something else going on: (A) migraine equivalent or some other vascular phenomenon. (B) Cardiac arrythmia (despite your successful hiking /running career) because as you say the symptoms improve with stoppage.

Don't let your PCP blow it off as old age or pressing too hard. You need a specialist. I think a cardiologist and a neuro-opthalmologist both may be needed here. Better be safe about this.

Re: Tunnel Vision at Elevation
Mike Kennedy #46276 05/16/16 11:58 PM
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I have been diagnosed with silent or acephalgic migraine. it happens from time to time. The silent refers to lack of or much-reduced pain over the regular kind. The main vision defect is a hole in the center of my vision, peripheral vision is reduced, but mostly OK. I do get auras - the most gorgeous hues of deep blue and purple you can imagine, plus scintillating lights. I just lie down for an hour and enjoy the show...


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Re: Tunnel Vision at Elevation
Mike Kennedy #46392 05/23/16 02:00 PM
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Thank you both so much for information. I'm going to follow good advice and see my doctor and try and figure out a bit more what is going on.

Re: Tunnel Vision at Elevation
Mike Kennedy #46814 06/22/16 07:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
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Could be Scintillating Scotoma. I have 30 minute episodes of it 3 to 5 times a year. It's usually associated with migraines. I don't get the headache but do get the shimmering auras. There are some good cgi type videos that depict what it's like to have an episode. Look it up.

Re: Tunnel Vision at Elevation
catpappy #46866 06/27/16 07:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
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I also have been experiencing scintillating scotoma for the past few years. I don't get the cool colors, just Widmannstatten patterns, pretty coarse grained, like a clear kaleidescope partially over my field of vision. No pain, dizziness or anything else but the visual effect. Not triggered by altitude or exertion, or anything else in particular that I can identify. Haven't seen a particularly good cgi of what I get, but one of the ones on the Wiki page is an approximation.

In fact it started the year I did my JMT through, but I do not remember ever getting it on the trail. I did discover my tinnitus on the trail, but that's another story.


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