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HPPD?


David S. Kozin
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From a sufferer:

In the summer of 2002 I woke up to a world which had been changed forever in my eyes. I saw floating spots and clouds everywhere. I had experienced floaters in bright sun before and guessed that this was some type of extreme case. Instantly I got very nervous knowing that I had once asked my doctor about them and knew that there was no treatment. Nevertheless I made an appointment with my eye doctor. I was told that I had no retinal tears, and that my eyes looked healthy aside from the floaters. Later when I looked at my chart, I saw that I had macular drusen, which is a precursor to macular degeneration.

I went home in despair, as I was given no hope that these would be going away. I would have to live with them the rest of my life. Also, I may have a potentially blinding condition in macular degeneration.

Days past, and I started seeing visual snow everywhere. I had always seen static in the dark since childhood (which I thought was normal at the time), but never with the lights on. Every wall I looked at was covered in static. I covered one eye... static, I covered another eye... static. I went to a neuro-opthomologist this time, and all of my tests came back normal. He said he wasn't familiar with my symptoms and had no advice.

Days past, and my eyes became very sensitive to light. I started seeing negative after images everywhere, then my body began to tingle. I called the doctor and he said I needed to get to the ER, that I may be having a stroke. At the time I was 27 years old, so a stroke seemed a bit rare, but so was everything else happening to me.I was admitted into the hospital for a week and had every test run known to man including CT scans, MRIs, blood work, Xrays, and a lumbar puncture.

When I came home from the hospital my vision was worse. I was having ghosting images, halos, glare, and my vision had gone from about 20/30 to 20/40. Still no explanations.

A few weeks went by and I was looking at my baby daughter; my older daughter was right behind her and there were two of her. I was seeing double. Not on the object I directly looked at, but whatever behind my object of focus was doubled. Back to yet another doctor. I was told that my brain had stopped filtering out excess visual information. Each eye sees two independent images and it is our brain that fuses those images into one. My brain was not doing that job effectively anymore.

Down to Miami for extensive testing. All results normal. Back to Orlando for a $500 an hour, out-of-pocket, neurologist. All results normal.

Finally, after months I stopped getting new symptoms, but every single symptom I developed over those months has stayed with me. I still have the floaters, visual snow, after images, ghosting, glare, haloes, double vision. I still live with it all 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even with my eyes shut tight.

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  1. What is the diagnosis?
  2. Ok, think how it relates to your symptoms and what you read hear? Would the patient be statistical similar to the results of the symptoms and psychophysic tests conducted by Dr. Abraham.
  3. Now, if I told you this patient took LSD in 2002. What is the diagnosis?

This story is not a drug user, but you may have recognized it. This is from a member of a foundation for raising money for research on vision disorders like this.

- David

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