Visual symtom - horizontaly spaced multiple copies of lights

Had a recurrence of a visual symptom over several minutes that has happened before and puzzled me. In the night a bright, fairly distant light approximating to a point in my centre of vision (e.g. a red or green light indicating when or not to cross the road) will suddenly become a horizontal string of perhaps 20 or so equally spaced copies like a string of pearls, for a second or two before reverting back to a singular image. Less central light sources in my vision are not similarly affected.I wear contacts.Anybody explain this?

I’m not at all sure this is an MS issue, and think you should speak to the optician who prescribed the lenses.

A little time on Google suggests that “ghosting”, or multiple images, can be a problem with some contact lenses, especially in dim light, and especially if you have a complex lens prescription - i.e. they are bifocals.

I would definitely check out whether it’s a possible issue with your prescription before assuming it’s anything to do with MS.

If it is the lenses, I’m not absolutely sure anything can be done, as it may be a limitation of the way they work, rather than that the prescription itself is wrong. It may be a case of either putting up with it as an occasional annoyance, or reverting to ordinary glasses.

If you want to get technical about it, a possible reason for the problem is that when your pupil is very dilated (because it’s night), the diameter of your pupil may be larger than the “sweet spot” on the lens - the area where most things are seen in focus, without blurriness. If your pupil is larger than this area of clear vision, the blurry areas around the edges may present as multiple images.

Another reason I don’t think it’s MS is I don’t think it would be as short-term as just minutes, and then resolve.

If you still have an old pair of glasses, one way to check without going to the optician would be to go back to the glasses at night for a while, and see if it still happens. If it doesn’t, you’ve narrowed it down to a feature of the contacts.


I had something fairly similar about a year or so ago, and it just so happened that just after this kept happening I had a routine opticians appointment. When I explained it to her she said it sounds like a visual migraine, so when I got home I googled visual migraine and the images that came up were near enough what I was seeing when it happened. Might not be the same thing but thought I would share.

I always think anything with your eyes is always worth getting checked out.

Thanks guys, really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Just a few things I want to add. The copies are all equally well formed and not blurred, do not move and do not overlap, so I would not be able to choose which was the real one, except to infer it would hold the central position; I think with ghost images, there is degradation of the secondary images. The horizontal alignment also intrigues me because aberrational images can presumably have any 360 alignment with the real image, so why horizontal? My lenses are not a complex type but they do get a bit gunky sometimes. I have since come across a reference to cerebral polyopia which looks on the right lines. I will get it checked out.