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Flashing/Strobing Vision
flashing strobing vision
Answer
6/1/12 7:45 AM
Hi All, this is my first post on TDO.

Now, straight to the point. The first (conscious) noticing of this phenomena was on the cushion with eyes closed. Light in my vision blinked/strobed rapidly. I came to the conclusion that it must be my eyelids flickering. However this effect now occurs to me off the cushion too, with eyes open. I am not constantly aware of it, but usually straight after meditation or when my mind is pretty calm and still, I notice it/become aware of it. It's pretty subtle, sometimes barely noticeable at times, (sometimes not so subtle when my eyes are closed, just before sleep for example) when it occurs with eyes open, being perhaps more noticeable in the periphery of my vision, when I'm not focused-in on any point in my field of vision in particular. Also I've noticed a moving, subtle film-grain type of effect on my vision too. Can any one shed any light on this? (please excuse the unintended pun!) Thanks.

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
6/5/12 10:31 AM as a reply to Matthew Jones (UK).
Hi Matthew,

Welcome.

How long has this been going on? -like most things, it will pass I think, I'm guessing it already has?.

all the best

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
6/5/12 4:14 PM as a reply to Matthew Jones (UK).
Hi Matthew, the same stuff happened with me, though it's been a little while since the first happened.
I can't really be sure about what it is, but I have my own set of assumptions.

I believe the flickering light is simply related to deep relaxation, since to me it only happens in a really relaxed state, and yes, if I open my eyes right when it begins I can still see it, but it always disappears quickly. I think that because I find it quite similar to the one of the first stages of hypnagogic hallucinations.

I also get this second effect of a subtle film-grain on the vision, it only happens if I look at something in a somewhat unfocused way. I don't know why this happens, I believe it's something normal. I usually spend a lot of time using the computer or doing anything that require near focus vision, so I frequently have my eyes a bit irritated, is this the same as you?

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
6/6/12 8:32 AM as a reply to John P.
Thanks for your replies.

Yeah, I'm not dwelling on it too much to be fair, just a curiosity. I suppose it's a combination of being very relaxed and attentive. It's good to know that others have experienced something similar.

Thanks again, Matt.

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
9/14/13 1:40 AM as a reply to Matthew Jones (UK).
It is a very common migraine aura. I see these all the time, just as they are described here, and that is what they are. Meditation can induce them. Taking a calcium channel blocker prevents them, and prevention is good because migraine aura is a huge risk factor for stoke.

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
9/14/13 2:01 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
It is a very common migraine aura. I see these all the time, just as they are described here, and that is what they are. Meditation can induce them. Taking a calcium channel blocker prevents them, and prevention is good because migraine aura is a huge risk factor for stoke.


This is not the best advice if this has come up as a result of meditation.

Here's my take...

My own vision is constantly flickering. All day long, eyes open or closed. The frequency of the flickering corresponds exactly with the frequency of vibrations I can feel in the body. So for example, as I go through the Dark Night stages in sitting practice the flickering will often slow down, and when in the A&P or Equanimity it can be extremely fast/fine in line with the vibrations in the body. My own conclusion has been that this is simply a result of the increased resolution at which I experience sensations.

Often during sitting practice I will use the visual field as object along with the body and sounds. It can be very powerful to see all of these sensations as impermanent at the same time. To try to see them as "the same". Flickering, strobing, vibrating, changing...

Sounds to me like you're making good progress emoticon

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
9/14/13 11:39 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Hi, Bagpuss. I'm newish here and have described my experience and medical history at length in several other threads, so I won't repeat them at length here.

In short, I have a long history of complex migraine consisting mainly of auras, not headaches. My auras are persistent once they get triggered. Vipassana after recent A&P Event brought on what I interpreted and still do interpret as dissolution stage. The vibrations became peripheral and jarring. And then after about a week of this, my vision started undulating, in big warps, like 3D convex and concave. I'm 49 and have had a lot of different auras (affecting all 5 senses), but never this before. As best as I can make out (and I could be wrong, having only recently become acquainted with the maps), I was transitioning from DN to low EQ when this happened.

After weeks of this nonstop aura the doctors call metamorphosopia (along with tingling body sensations), I went to the ER. There I received IV Depakote, and the auras stopped immediately. They restarted after a few days, when Depakote was out of my system. Since vipassana speeds up neuronal activity and migraine aura basically is neuronal hyperexcitability, it is difficult to sort them or exclude one paradigm in favor of the other. I firmly believe they are the same thing in me. Mine change speed, too, by the way, depending on the breath and, I guess, the stage/state. I have to medicate, because I'm at a high risk for stroke, otherwise (migraine is the second biggest risk factor for stroke, over smoking, obesity, and oral contraceptive use--and combinations of these).

I'm committed to dharma practice, so this has been quite a paradigm quagmire for me. I've seen on other threads that some have problems with mania or hypomania, another manifestation of neuronal hyperexcitability. I guess my experience is analogous.

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
9/14/13 12:59 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Hi Jen. Not sure if you've checked this out but if not I would highly recommend looking at high fat low, carb paleo-style eating. All kinds of things start to fix themselves once the brain gets enough saturated animal fats. Not to mention the benefits of not eating grains! See here for one example:

RE: Flashing/Strobing Vision
Answer
10/13/13 1:01 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Thanks. I try to stay away from sugar and starches, and I am gluten-free. I've not noticed that this has helped with migraine, but I feel better in terms of blood sugar, calm energy--and I avoid gluten because gluten sensitivity is thought to trigger autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's disease), which I have.