Flu and vision distortions research 
By Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor San Diego State University

Posted April 14, 2019;  Disclamer.htm

A few persons of all ages have reported having viral flu and vision disorders; but most do not. A search online failed to find medical confirmation of such linkage. This paper provides information about a possible connection between flu, the inner ear and vision problems.

The eyes, ears, nose and sinuses are closely located within the brain. So it may not be all that unusual to have miniature crystals falling out of place in the inner ear cochlea hairs and cause loss of balance and vision distortions. Viral flu adds another link to these sensitive areas.

Sadaka, an eye injury lawyer,  Sadaka: eye nerve linked to flu vaccine reports that Optic Neuritis is swelling of the optic nerve, a bundle of fibers that transmit information from the eyes to the brain. This condition may cause pain and temporary vision loss. Bacterial and viral infections, including influenza, may cause inflammation of the optic nerve. Neurologists discovered a link between optic neuritis and the vaccine in 1990, following vaccination against seasonal influenza.This may shed some light on the link between flu and vision problems.  Yeager: flu viruses cause nervdegeneration 2019

In the 1990s, scientists showed that HIV could traverse the blood-brain barrier, and subsequent studies revealed that when the virus infiltrates the brain, it spurs neuronal death and a loss of synaptic connections. 

Researchers have confirmed that viruses can trigger numerous disorders that can take years to evolve. For example, Yeager quotes scientist Smeyne in The Scientist that "pathogens [viruses] can play a part in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Once inside the brain, viruses can infect cells or their myelin sheaths and kill them. Viral infection effects can linger long after our immune system has cleared the infection from our bodies. The progression of the disease from the gut to the forebrain takes place over maybe 25 or 30 years in a human. But mice in the research done by Smeyne live much shorter lives. In the rodents, the flu virus can travel the same course and create signs of Parkinson’s in a few weeks. Viruses unable to make it into the brain can still play a part in neurodegeneration, by triggering severe inflammation." The article by Yeager supports the hypothesis that viruses can cause different brain diseases and vision problems, but solid research in humans is lacking. Yeager: flu viruses cause nervdegeneration 2019 

Another group of medical doctors add more information.

WebMD states that certain eye problems can cause eye distortions but does not link blurred vision to viral flu:  General glaucoma takes many years to evolve into a vision problem. It may very well be that the flu virus somehow activates a distortion of the eyeball; although WebMed does not provide medical confirmation of this.  MedWeb: Blurred vision The point of this example is that persons who get the flu may also have had previous vision problems, may not be aware of it, and not relate it to previous eye problems. In 2016, the FDA approved a label change to warn those who prescribe the Zostavax vaccine of another potential side effect: “Eye Disorders: necrotizing retinitis.” 

Merck Pharmaceutical admits that vaccines can cause eye damage: Writer Claire Dwoskin, in her review of Merck, pointed out that "Researchers concluded there is a probable relationship between the vaccine and eye inflammation, though the study wasn’t designed to prove that the vaccine actually caused the condition, according to an article posted by the personal injury law firm of Matthews & Associates. Vaccine Zostavax cause shingles [ children get chicken pox; the virus hibernates in the nervous system and can attack adults as herpes years later] which it did in many who received the vaccine. Although researchers don’t know why the shingles shot may cause keratitis, the condition has been linked to autoimmune disorders. The connection between vaccines and autoimmune disease has been widely acknowledged, most recently by medical researchers worldwide in a compilation of studies published in 2015 in the medical textbook, Vaccines & Autoimmunity."  Dwoskin: Merck Admits Vaccine Can Cause Eye Damage 2016 

Influenza infections affect people differently, and every flu season is different.  Many persons wonder if there are others who have also had flu and accompanying vision problems. Although previous illnesses and most vision-flu episodes are usually unreported, below is posting of flu victims who reported vision problems: 

victoir146073292 over a year ago: Hi, I am 37 years old and I had classic virus flu. It did last for a week with the usual symptoms. The problem is, after the flu was gone I started having headaches and vision problems. Could flu be causing all that? If it is, what should I do, does that mean that the virus is still present?  

nelie31742 over a year ago: Hi there, You have to know that you might have problems with eye during the flu and they can be persistent for few more days after the flu is gone but it should not last too long. In my opinion something else is causing your vision problems and headaches. What kind of medication were you using to treat the flu? I am asking this because there is a chance that you are allergic to some of the medication or this could also be a side effect from the same medication. Have you read the possible side effects of the medicine? If this continues to be a problem I would suggest that you run some visual test. I hope this was helpful.

Guest over a year ago In reply to zelig64173291 on 2008-06-03 I currently have the flu and am trying to do online school work and just noticed my vision is so blurry and my glasses are not helping me. I I do believe it is cause by flu or maybe the medication. So weird and scary.

Guest over a year ago: It is sorta bittersweet that I stumbled across this topic. I am at the end of week 2 with the flu and literally I feel my eyesight has gone down hill fast. With that said - two other adults I know are experiencing the symptoms after contracting the flu. **Note out of the three of us only one took the prescribed flu medication. All three of us live in the same Parish in Louisiana. Has anyone's eyesight repaired itself?

Guest over a year ago In reply to anonymous on 2018-01-06: I'm on day 12 with flu and bronchitis and the last 7 days my vision has been difficult. I wear glasses 24/7, normally vision is corrected with them but now everything is blurry and strained

Guest over a year ago In reply to anonymous on 2018-01-14: This is me. I can’t drive because of this. Thank goodness I can work from home. I did not take any antivirus medicine but did take an antibiotic.

Guest over a year ago In reply to anonymous on 2018-01-19: I'm so glad that I found this thread. I, too, am on day 3 of the flu, fever has come down, and I anticipate that I'm getting better. however, I am now finding that my eyesight is blurry. I only have glasses for reading and while my reading glasses still help, it's as if my sight has gotten worse in just hours, and there is a "film" over my eyes. Like all of the responders on this thread, I am concerned about it. I have not seen this symptom broadly reported as a "regular" one of the flu. I'll be sure to call my doctor in the morning.

Guest over a year ago: In reply to anonymous on 2017-12-10: During the flu at the end of December 2017 I began having double vision. Went to emergency room to rule out serious issues. Went to opthalmologist got a prescription for prismatic glasses. But by the time I received the glasses my vision had returned to normal. Yes the flu can cause double vision. Most definitely.

Guest over a year ago: I started with fever and chills on 2/5/18. My vision was slightly blurry a few days before and mostly when I am looking at a computer screen. I'm still tired and having blurry vision and i'm at 11 days since my worst symptoms. I have never had the flu and only took theraflu for a few days when it was at it's worst and only when I have a coughing fit at night now. My eyes are driving me crazy. Family dr said she had other patients with vision issues and the flu, but didn't tell me when it would start to return to normal.

Guest over a year ago In reply to anonymous on 2018-01-28: had the viral flu for about 12 days( DEC 21 TO JAN 2). horrific! not easy for a 75 year old. glad i found this thread also. on day one my right upper eye lad swelled like a bilster and itched for about 24 hours. however with in 6 hours or so from the start my vision became VERY BLURRY IN RIGHT EYE ONLY!. WENT FROM 20/20 TO 20/80 in 6 hours.there was no prescription for glasses that would help. i was not able to corrected at that time. today feb 27th eye has not gone back to where it was before but i have been able to get a prescription to see. corrected now i have 20/25. totally different from before. i work for an ophthalmology office and i am an optician. the doctor can't figure out why. i do now have permanent damage to the cornea not in both eyes. doctor says it looks like fuchs disease. we are watching it

Guest 7 months ago: Hallelujah. I knew if I looked online I would find the answer. I figured the flu was giving me vision trouble but could not find anything on regular med websites with blurry vision as a symptom of the flu. My eyes are red and swollen, I think from coughing so hard maybe? At any rate, I went from being able to read two days ago to absolute blurry vision. I am using my long distance driving glasses to search this out. Now I will sleep better.

The flaw in the above example of persons reporting viral flu and vision problems is that they did not provide background information like diet, drug-medication use, computer use, and previous vision problems. Numerous responses on the internet about experiencing flu and vision problems include blurry eyesight, distorted vision during and even after having the flu. But lack of more more detailed information simply adds to the mystery.

Here is the author's experience with vertigo, viral flu and vision problems:

I am 90 years old, retired university professor, in very good health, do research, write and post articles on my own website. My mental health is good. I had glucoma in my good left eye, had an operation in this one eye and now have better than 20/20 vision. My right eye has subretinal hemorrhage and I have peripheral vision. I do not wear glasses when working on my computer every day for 3 to 6 hours a day. My blood pressure is on average 127/67 and a low pulse rate. I have not had a flu vaccine for over five years, although my blood immune lab markers are very good. I am a vegetarian, eat fresh raw vegetables, fresh raw fruit and nuts and ingest nutrient supplements. I do not eat sugar sweets, meat or processed foods. I do not take any drug medications and do not drink alcoholic beverages. I swam freestyle laps three times a week. 

But on February 21, 2019, I suffered from vertigo at noon after working all morning on my computer. Vertigo has numerous symptoms that can vary from person to person. I felt the top of my body, from neck to top of head feeling different; then feeling sick, immediate loss of balance and strength, eyes felt glossy, mist-like, like I was swirling or the environment was swirling around me, eyes kind of blurry and bouncing around, vomited once and I was somewhat confused. I had all these symptoms as I sat in my computer chair [after working all morning on my computer], confused and waiting for all this to clear up and go away. After five minutes I began wondering if I was having a stroke in the brain. My wife called 911 and the paramedic ambulance rushed me to the hospital. Waited in the hospital hallway for numerous hours in the admission area, with scores of other sick persons, many of whom probably had the flu. I was given all kinds of lab blood tests every two hours, MRI, C-scan and ultra-sound test for caroitoid arteries. The attending neurologist confirmed that I had vertigo, but no brain or eye damage and since I was getting better and my balance had somewhat stabilized, I was discharged and went home. The cause of my vertigo was assumed to have been detachment of crystals from tiny hairs in the cochlea of the inner ear; but what triggered the crystal detachment was unknown.

 Just sudden movement of the head could cause sensitivity to vertigo. 

The next morning, at home, I felt the flu symptoms and quickly recovered from vertigo in the ensuing days. I share this background as I ended recuperating slowly for over a month from the flu.

I can only speculate about the cause of my vertigo. While swimming I would jerk my head to one side to breath air and assumed that this sudden jerky head movement may have caused my inner ear to become more sensitive, causing my vertigo. Or was vertigo caused by Electro Magnetic Forces {EMF] radiation coming from working long hours on the computer? EMF radiation does cause eye strain and fatigue and this may have been the trigger for vertigo or mild vision distortion. But no one, not the doctors nor utility companies are willing to admit to this possibility! But numerous scientists have connected EMF as trigering vision problems, including an alarm about using iphones that emit EMF, that has being linked to possibly causing brain tumors.

Two months after my vertigo hospital experience, I had a slight vision episode. I felt my eyes swirling slightly but my balance was good [can't recall what I was doing prior to this vision experience]. This senation was different from the vertigo symptoms. I immediately lay down, rested, drank lots of water and inhaled deeply to get more oxygen into my brain and eyes. Eyes need lots of oxygen, and I probably did not inhale deeply. After about 20 minutes, my eyes cleared up, I felt good, and got up from bed.

Two weeks later after the first eye episode, my eyes again felt kind of blurry, but no loss of balance, no nausea and no confusion. I went to lie down on the bed; drinking lots of water, inhaling deeply and resting. After 30 minutes, my vision cleared up and I was okay again. Prior to this second episode, I was working in my office reassembling my computers and probably did not inhale deeply while expending a lot of energy. My guess is that this may have brought on my blurry eyes. My blood pressure is usually very low and I inhale less than 50 times a minute. As usual, my inhalation is shallow, which is resting level for me. Most persons are shallow inhalers and hence, do not supply adequate amount of oxygen to the brain. The eyes in particular are oxygen hogs!

So, my short blurry eye episodes after coming home from the hospital may link vision to a mild form of vertigo. Blurry eye syndrome may be related to viral flu.

There is evidence that blurry and foggy eyes; that are related to the flu, may be caused by a few tiny crystals breaking away from their stablizing locations in the ear cochlea. Also, flu may be causing inflammation of the optic nerve from the eyes to the brain. Doctors do not seem to want to talk about it.

When did I pick up the flu? Was it before going to the hospital or did I pick up the flu at the hospital? Did the flu affect my eyes and hearing and cause vision problems? I do not have any concrete evidence to back up my suspicion and theory. I am searching the internet for more information. I think I and many others have identified pieces of the vision and flu puzzle.

Since my second vision problem, I have had no flu nor vertigo, and I am working on my computer but keeping a one and a half foot distance between my eyes and the computer; minimizing EMF radiation. Three days later I resumed exercising by swimming several crawl stroke laps with no issues.

Viral Flu is complex, very unstable and difficult to pin down. Viruses tend to rapidly mutate so what worked as a vaccine six months or a year ago may not work today or tomorrow. Medications to treat viruses often cause viruses to mutate into resistant ones. A mutation can change virus characteristics and become an entirely new microbe within minutes.

A missing link in the website citing many who wondered about the link between vision blurriness and flu is that they did not know nor report the state of their immune system at the time of their flu. They did not report what they were doing prior to their vision problem. This is essential information to add to the puzzle. In my situation, I had good immunity before I went to the hospital [ no flu for over five years and my immune markers were high]. I surmise that I inadvertently came in contact with flu patients. But there is no medical-lab proof of this.

Three days later, after my second most recent bout with glossy eye sensation, I swam laps, and had no reactions. This adds to the mystery about viral flu and vision problems.

You can contact me : email: wsorochan@gmail.com

Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor San Diego State University

References:

Dwoskin Claire, "Merck Admits Shingles Vaccine Can Cause Eye Damage… and Shingles," September 1, 2016.  Dwoskin: Merck Admits Vaccine Can Cause Eye Damage 2016

MedWeb, "Blurred vision and Change in vision," MedWeb checker.  MedWeb: Blurred vision

Sadaka Mark, "Optic Neuritis Linked to Flu Vaccine," Vaccine Injury health clinic.  Sadaka: eye nerve linked to flu vaccine

Yeager Ashley, "Can the Flu and Other Viruses Cause Neurodegeneration?" Thw Scientist, March 1, 2019.  YYeager: flu viruses cause nervdegeneration 2019

Victori, "Flu causing vision problems?" Steady Health, 2018.  Victori: Flu & vision reports 2018

Video: How the ear works: Length = 3.35 mns.

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