I’ve been dealing with a visual symptom of “shaky vision” or “oscillopsia without nystagmus” for the past 5 years. I’ve recently done some research and came across some very interesting articles about this rare sensation that I wanted to share with the forum. When I first began experiencing this, I was extremely anxious as a result of this aura and spiralled down into a depression due to the lack of answers from all the doctors I saw. I know this is the case with a few others on this forum and I want to help prevent this from happening to more people, as it was truly a terrifying experience.
For those who experience this symptom, we know that when we try and fixate on an object, it won’t stay still and our gaze is unstable. Its hard to focus on something that is at a distance. We feel better when watching movement or moving ourselves (something which sounds typical of MDDS). I’m no doctor but from my observations carefully reading the following two journal articles, it appears that this is a symptom of hyper-excitability of the visual cortex area V5 in the brain.
The article by Suzuki et al. (2004) measures the differences in brain blood flow/activity between a patient experiencing the oscillopsia without nystagmus compared to 6 other healthy individuals. The area of the brain in the Visual Cortex ‘V5’ for visual motion processing appears to light up for the patient when watching stationary dots, however did not for the other healthy individuals. Both the patient and healthy participants had both light up when watching moving dots. This demonstrates that this V5 area is “hyper-excited” due to being triggered by a migraine or dysfunction in the brain.
The second article by Jacome (2013) suggests that this oscillopsia is from a persistent migraine aura and the patient was treated successfully through Topiramate 50MG twice daily, which has proven to suppress excitability in other various studies. The patient unfortunately didn’t undergo any further tests like TMS or MRI to verify persistent migraine aura’s typical hyperactivity, however it seems that this is the likely cause of it due to the evidence of V5 hyperactivity found by Suzuki (2004).
My goal for this forum post is to raise awareness, so patients can share these to their neurologists or neuro-opthamologists and aren’t just dismissed with anxiety as the cause, and hopefully leads to a successful treatment. Anxiety and stress is definitely a component that exacerbates it’s severity as explained in Jacome (2013) , but the underlying condition most likely points to Persistent Aura causing an Oscillopsia without nystagmus if no infarction or lesions are evident.
I’d imagine the reason why this particular oscillopsia symptom is so rare, is because it probably occurs with the combination of BOTH vestibular migraine and PMA. Most people only have one (only vestibular migraine or normal migraine with PMA)
I hope this has been helpful,