Medically Unexplained Vision Loss: A Self-Reported Analysis

Summary of symptoms (from most to least distressing)
– Permanent bilateral stationary blind patches in vision
– Episodes of skin numbness lasting for up to 21 days
– Light-headedness; ranging from mild to collapse
– Generalised anxiety and OCD symptoms
– Visual Snow: Constant static-like visual disturbance, accompanied by mild palinopsia, BFEP, and night-blindness
– Symptoms of low blood pressure: Readings taken by medical professionals and self ranging from 94/56 to normal, frequent visual fading upon standing, weakness (particularly before eating)
– Severe headaches, approx. every 2 months (least distressing as largely treatable with multiple painkillers, but leaves me feeling groggy and heavy-headed)

Timeline of Symptoms
– Anxiety/OCD (always)
– Headaches (c.2003-Present)
– Visual Snow (2005-Present)
– Light-headedness (2010-Present, no longer severe)
– Numbness (2012-2013)
– Scotoma (2012-Present)
– Low BP (2012-Present, to best of knowledge)

Medical Visits and Tests
GP visit re: Light-headedness (2010). No further investigation.
GP visit re: Light-headedness (2011). Tachycardia observed and issued with 24-hour heart monitor. Some slight abnormalities observed but no further investigation.
GP visit re: Arm numbness (May 2012). Reassured of likelihood of trapped nerve. No further investigation.
GP visit re: Persistent and spreading numbness (April 2012). Placed on neurologist waiting list.
GP visit re: Scotoma (June 2012). Sent to Eye Hospital for examination. Broad-range field test (normal), central field test (several missing patches observed). Eye examination (normal). Told to wait for neurology appointment.
Admitted to hospital following leg weakness and reduced sensation in leg and foot (July 2012). BP (low), MRI/MRV (normal), spinal fluid pressure (normal), blood content (normal), eye exam (normal). Fever following lumbar puncture lasting 24 hours. Discharged the following day with scheduled Visual Evoked Potential and Fluorescein Angiography.
Visual Evoked Potential (September 2012). Normal.
Fluorescein Angiography (October 2012). Some abormality at side in both eyes but informed that this would not cause the symptoms described.
Follow-up appointments (2012-2013). No observed progression of symptoms so discharged from care.
GP visit re: Anxiety (2014). Prescribed Sertraline. Significant improvement in mental state but no improvement in previously-described symptoms.

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US Visa Application and undiagnosed neuro symptoms?!

Ok… so it’s been a while since I posted on here… Sorry about that! I was discharged from the hospital care a while ago in terms of my VS and other neuro symptoms (all of which remain undiagnosed) and I’ve been caught up with my (hopefully) upcoming move to the US to marry my beautful fiancee ❤ Please visit our blog (http://www.katieandjen.wordpress.com for more information, or follow us @katieandjen 😀 )

Thankfully I don’t have anything new to report in terms of symptoms, but I have found myself in a new situation that has led me to post here again. Before I have my Visa interview in London, I have to attend a medical examination by the US Embassy’s designated doctors’ surgery.

The purpose of this is to assess your physical and psychological state to determine if you’re fully functional and able to work, and therefore unlikely to become a burden to US taxpayers, as well as to ensure you’re not going to bring any communicable disease with you. This is fairly straightforward; but before you attend the medical exam, you’re required to fill out a questionnaire about your health.

One of the questions is “Have you ever been investigated or treated for a serious illness?” (Wording may not be exactly the same but essentially the same meaning.)

Well, April 2012 is when my blind spots first developed. I was investigated for all sorts that year, and was also admitted into hospital for several days at one point for further testing. (I want to point out that to this day I have no idea whether or not the blind spots are related to my VS, which I developed as a teenager.)

At that time, I had no idea my future self would be applying for a US Visa, and naturally a diagnosis was at the forefront of my mind. However, it now leaves me trying to explain a fat wodge of medical notes (well actually a lack of them, as it is too expensive to get them all printed!) that do not lead to a diagnosis. It is great, of course, that the doctors dug as deep as they reasonably could into my health and didn’t find anything serious; however they did, at the time, find scotoma in my vision, which was never explained.

This leaves me with the only option of trying to prove that my undiagnosed symptoms will not prevent me from working in the US. As I have no diagnosis to give them an estimate of my future health, I can only get a letter from my doctor stating that I am fit and able to work, and perhaps also my employer stating that the only extended sick leave I have taken was during my stay in hospital.

I will keep you posted with how it goes and any new information that comes to light. Bye for now.

Health Update: Numbness and other stories…

It’s been a while since I have given an update on my symptoms and medical results. Not much had happened over the last few months in terms of medical appointments and, thankfully, new or worsening symptoms.

In fact, there had been no change at all until approximately two months ago. That is until the top of my left thigh went numb. I was gutted; it had been a good while since I’d had any weird skin sensations (or lack of, I should say). I went to my GP (a woman that I haven’t seen until recently, and who, so far, seems to actually take me seriously).

She got me booked in for some blood tests and an X-ray of my lower back and pelvis. The bloodwork came back normal, as usual. The X-ray showed that I have a curvature of the spine in the lumbar region, but she didn’t seem too worried about this as it didn’t appear to be pinching any nerves.

Since there was nothing obvious causing the numbness, she will refer me back to the neurologist. Although I probably won’t see him/her for months, and the sensation in my leg has improved somewhat during the last month or so anyway, I am happy to be seeing the neurologist again.

The last time I saw one was as an inpatient in hospital two years ago. Because I had been admitted at that time, they did a decent investigation, including an MRI of the brain, an MRI of the vascular system in the head, and a lumbar puncture (a.k.a. the demonic procedure from hell – sorry if you’re due one! The procedure itself is OK – although they were prodding around for ages trying to get a sample and only one of the top doctors managed, which, now I think about it, could be because of the curvature – but I got a horrible fever and spent the next 24 hours throwing up, and then the following four days horizontal with a bar-steward of a headache every time I sat up).

Anyway, they found nothing abnormal apparently. I would like another MRI now to see if anything has changed on that front, but I have no great desire for another LP!

Since I was in hospital, I have been seeing an ophthalmologist every few months for a check-up. I am glad of this but it will be good to see a neurologist again. I’ll keep you posted!