kaleidoscopic vision

Can anybody help or advise? Diagnosed with MS in 2014 and now experiencing kaleidoscopic vision in left eye. Only lasts minutes before kaleidoscopic effect clears but on the whole vision is quite poor. Gave up driving 3 years ago when sight deteriorated. Is this a common symptom of MS?

Hi Aunty Meg, Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve and is a very common symptom of nerve damage in MS and plays havoc with eyesight. Vision usually returns after a few weeks or months. You should see an optician who will probably refer you to a neurologist, but there’s no treatment. When I had it, I used an eye patch so I only used my good eye, and didn’t get confusing images. It came in handy when playing Pirates with the grandchildren when they came to stay one weekend. They never suspected a thing. You might want to take it off when you go to the bank. Regards, Anthony

Hello Aunty, I’ve had MS for over thirty years, that started with an optic-neuritis attack in 1985, and I also get a kaleidoscopic effect in my vision, fairly regularly. However, my sister and dad also get them, and they don’t have MS, as did my dad’s mother, who also didn’t have MS. I’ve been told that they are migraine headaches without the pain and it almost sounds like an inherited condition - at least it looks that way in my family! I’d mention it to your neurologist, next time you see him/her, just to get a proper medical opinion though. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your replies and support, I really appreciate them. Sadly I have no support network and no future appointments to see my neurologist. My MS Nurse is no help whatsoever and does not reply to messages.

Curious to know if you can describe in more detail what you mean by kaleidoscopic vision. Do you mean for example it is something like an ever changing radially symmetrical pattern about a central point.

I sometimes experience multiple (20 or more) horizontally spaced copies of luminous objects like car lights or traffic lights or the red man green man ‘cross’/‘dont cross’ illuminations. I now realise that I get this effect only when the light source is made from a matrix of LEDs, rather than a bulb. Just find these things fascinating.

Hello mrbobowen, I can only tell you what mine is like.

I’m normally given about 5 minutes warning that one is on its way, because my vision can go slightly blurry. Then a small kaleidoscope (I guess it’s just all the colours of the rainbow) starts near my central vision and over a period of about 10 minutes it expands into a large C shape, generally to the left of my vision, and it keeps expanding outwards until it clears from my vision. As I said, it only last for about 10 minutes or so and it makes no difference if i close my eyes, or leave them open, it’s always there. Which makes me wonder if it is more to do with my brain than my optic nerve? I can go through a time when I get one a week, but I can equally go for a few months without one and it seems to me to be regular in its irregularity…

Hope this clarifies it for you?!


Thanks for that, I can imagine it more clearly now.

Hello mrbobowen,

My eye problem is just like looking down a child’s kaleidoscope toy but only in my left eye. It comes and goes with no recognisable pattern but I am very very sensitive to light often wearing sunglasses indoors. Recently started having an ache behind the eye reminiscent of a migraine but not actually developing into one.

Hope this is helpful.