• My granddaughter says sometimes everything she sees turns one color. What’s going on?


    Question:

    On occasion, my 5-year-old granddaughter will say that everything is blue or pink. That everything in her vision turns one color. I've never heard of this. She's so young that is hard to believe she's making it up, and hard to get a detailed description of what she's experiencing. Can it be true, and if so, what is the cause?


    Answer:

    A dilated eye examination with an ophthalmologist is recommended, specifically looking for traction on the retina or retinal inflammation (swelling), or optic nerve problems that could all cause flickering lights that I suppose could be described by a child as colored lights.

    If the eye exam shows no problems, which it usually does, then this could be migraine (neurological, or brain condition that can cause visual disturbances) with our without a headache, and very rarely other more dangerous intracranial pathologies or seizure disorder. However, I have never treated a child who saw colored lights that had any dangerous condition, and this is reassuring.

    There is one other condition to consider, which is benign (not harmful) and very unusual. It is called synesthesia. Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense stimulates another sense. For example, when the word “cat” is spoken, the person will see a certain color that is associated with that specific word. Apparently there have been many celebrated and famous people with synesthesia including artists, composers and scientists. Descriptions of the condition online are very good and I encourage you to take a look.


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