space perception issues?

Yesterday something really odd happened.

I was out with friends for my OH's birthday and I got up to head to the loo, the restaurant was in an old building so there were lots of little slopes, steps, changes in flooring material, wonky walls and changes in lighting.

I was stepping down steps that weren't there and not the ones that were so kept stumbling and crashing in to walls etc. got really confused about which doors to use and actually walked into the mirror once as I thought it was the way out.

I do have difficulty judging steps, adjusting to changes in lighting and walking on uneven ground.

My co-ordination and balance isn't great anyway and I sometimes get odd vision but it's never been that bad before, it was like I'd lost all my ability to judge space, distance etc :(

I felt a bit panicky  but is this normal and what causes it?

(I know it's not optic neuritis so it's something else causing this)

Hi Tabitha,

There's a complicated word that means awareness of what bits of your body are doing, and where they are in space: it's called "proprioception".

Unfortunately, this is one of the functions that can get shot in MS, just like motor movement, sense of touch, and perception of heat, cold, pain etc.

You know when your neuro asks you to close your eyes and bring your finger to your nose?  This is to check if proprioception is working OK.

It sounds like, in your case, it's not.  At least for the time being.

Might you be having a relapse?

It's not "normal", but pretty normal for MS I'd say.




I do not know why,but as I come down the stairs the last step I missjudge it most of the time.And I often fall because of it,why the last step I realy do not know.Its as if the step is not there or I feel I am stepping onto the hall floor but didnt.

Tabitha Hi. To us lot normal! Dont worry, MS aving a laugh. I also have what seems like electric shocks, not good at first, but you get used to them. Tracey xx

Tabatha, I can quite equate what your talking about, it happens to me all the time, but very hard to explain to someone else.  I wont go out during the evening, never drive in the dark and walk gingerly in the evening at home because Ive bounced off things in the past.


Ive often tried to explain to my neuro how I bump into doorways not knowing where my body was in space, found outside puddles werent, they were either holes or deviations in the path.  Steps can be steeper than we think and our eyes play tricks so our brains dont quite know what to make of things, so mistakes are made, hence you bumping into a mirror, thinking it was the way out.


It must be part of ms.  Dont know if it affects other msers but count me in.  What a weird world we live in eh.




Hi, I do exactly the same as Jellybean it is always the last step. It is so weird, I have fallen a couple of times because of this. Yes it is strange but that sums up MS. Karen x

Gosh Karen I should not say this but I is well happy that I am not alone with the last step...

Its like you have missed it or its not there and I fall to my knees but it also sends a jolt through my body.I find myself checking the last few steps so I do not miss the last one and if I carry something down the stairs I now feel the stairs with my feet and make sure I have not missed one.


The same thing happens to me and has for years. I use a stick to walk anyway and use it to test the ground as I don't know if there is a step or a dark patch or a puddle.

I was always falling at the top and/or bottom of our stairs. My OT arranged for extra rails on the stairs that level off at the top and bottom so I feel where I am through my hands. I hope that makes sense.

My OT has recommended to have another rail put on my stairs to....

Sorry, I also ment to say maybe you were tired? I struggle in the house if I'm tired. Or perhaps your eyes were struggeling if it was dark, but you should tell your MS if you have one.

Take on board what Tina has said about proprioception, and add to that the fact that your eyes can quite literally play you tricks. Well, actually, it is the messages from the eyes being mis-interpreted by the brain.

Just one example is the condition where the two eyes focus on different parts of the retina (quite common in MS, and normally corrected with a small degree of prism in one lens). now think about going down the stairs (or off a kerb) and one eye "says" that you are at the bottom, while the other one is telling you that there is one more to go. OOPS!

It is easy enough to fool a person with normal eyesight with a whole range of optical illusions - when that person has MS, it becomes a lot easier.  When both the body, and the brain are giving out conflicting messages, then ther is scope for a lot of strange happenings.