Seeing Stars

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Seeing Stars

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:25 pm

They are pretty and come towards the end of my rides. I tend to always push it when I ride (75%) so am not cruising and come to the end of the rides tired and sometimes get stars in my vision and am light headed. While I am drinking regularly and breathing, I wonder if it is oxygen intake dropping or even sugar (I havn't properly tested this).

Not a concern though thought I would share and see who else gets this and whether it is just a physical reaction to exhaustion.
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by BNA » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:11 am

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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby Sith1 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:11 am

Do you have a beating in your ears when this is happening ?
Stars in the eyes can be associated with blood pressure . "Seeing stars" is a common visual complaint, but it is usually a normal and harmless occurrence. If you close your eyes and rub them, you will probably see spots and flashes of light. These images you see are called "phosphenes," an entoptic phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye. Phosphenes are produced by pressure on the eyes. The pressure is translated into various patterns by the optic nerve.
These stars, or spots of light, that you see can occur after a sneeze, a deep cough, a blow to the head or low blood pressure (such as standing up too quickly).

Some people see flashes or lines of light that often last up to 10 to 20 minutes. These flashes of light are generally caused by a spasm of blood vessels in the brain, called a migraine. If a headache follows the flashes, it is called a "migraine headache." If these flashes or lines of light occur without a headache, it is called an "ophthalmic migraine," or migraine without a headache.

While usually harmless, frequent flashes of light can be a warning sign of something more serious. A comprehensive eye examination will be needed to determine the cause.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:37 pm

Thank you for your wonderful information.
When I used to get migranes then I would get fantastic psychedelic light shows in my vision before they kicked in. Tended to be a sign to get home and be ready for the pain rather than sit back and enjoy.

I will check on the beating in the ears - next time, I am only getting this after riding hard so your description seems to be on the mark.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby jules21 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:38 pm

i have had it occasionally. unsure what the cause is! if it happens regularly i'd get a check up.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby K2 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:58 am

AUbicycles wrote:Not a concern though thought I would share and see who else gets this and whether it is just a physical reaction to exhaustion.


I attribute mine to overdoing it but as suggested, if it's becoming a regular thing, or even if you haven't had a check-up for a while, it might be prudent to do so.

I get the light-headedness and stars from standing up [not particularly quickly mind :) ] quite regularly and they can recur into the next day but I've pretty much narrowed it down to pushing a little too hard. I take cholesterol medication [bad cholesterol isn't high, just low good stuff, and apparently the gap betwixt is bad :cry: ] so blood and blood pressure get checked fairly regularly and that isn't a problem.

Like you, I nearly always wind up pushing it. I'm rubbish at pacing myself. I often go out with just the intention of loosening up the legs but that usually falls by the wayside all too quickly. I know I can sit in the gentle panting region comfortably for quite a while and can get back there reasonably quickly after a bit of a hill or upping the ante for a while, so that's what I aim for, which is fine, except that I still think I can gain more fitness so sometimes throw in some sprints, or a few hill repeats, or push weekend rides out beyond a couple of hours, or try to better times etc [...just like a proper rider :oops: ], so that gentle panting sometimes becomes a more constant heavier kind, and quite rightly, I think, the body sometimes responds by dropping a hint that I'm no spring chicken. [Actually it pipes up with more than just hints way too often, but for the purposes of this narrative....]

When the stars arrive I know it's time to force myself to take it easier for the next ride or two and that tends to sort them out until I push a little too hard or too long again. [Shut up stars!]

I drink plenty when out and rarely arrive back feeling dehydrated and take a snack if going over 50k and have only ever experienced it while on the bike when I first started up again and was seriously unfit, or now in a very minor way if something else [like flu] is ailing me already. Elsewise it has always come on shortly afterwards.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby winstonw » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:56 am

could be related to
- artherosclerosis -the special senses will be noticeably compromised well before most other tissue.
- compromised cardiac output
- compromised blood flow to the brain generally or locally. this could even be exacerbated by cerebrospinal fluid hydraulic issues caused by an extended neck when in the drops, neck joint issues impacting upper nerve roots (a history of migraine may implicate your neck joints too)
- space occupying lesions.
- quality of sleep, diet, hydration state (how do you know you drink enough?), electrolyte balance, general life stress
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby K2 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:02 pm

Yeah, I've considered it might be related to some sort of blood flow [or lack thereof] problem but figured that would more likely have the stars arriving during activity rather than after, and often for some time.

Most likely lies in that last line somewhere as my sleep doesn't have much of a pattern anymore and certainly doesn't seem to get along with a 24hr cycle, and I have a tendency to get stressed all too easily...quite likely related to the former.

I figure I'm usually drinking enough these days as I think I've learnt from the mistakes I made when I first started pushing out the times in the saddle. I'm familiar with that impossible to quench thirst despite downing bucketloads on returning and still not passing water until more than half a day later. Now I take a 750ml bidon everytime I'm out and two if doing over 40k, and take a swig every 3k or so from the off to avoid falling too far behind. I get through about one every hour and a half (more when hot). I also have a tall glass of something cool before setting off and upon returning.

I do only take water though (just about gag on anything else while riding after first hour or so), so electrolytes (particularly sodium) could be a problem. Though I can on occasions do a rather exhausting 3hrs or thereabouts on just water, like this morning [20-25º], and not have any ill effects at all. I'll look into that a bit further. Thanks.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby Sith1 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:14 pm

K2, I would try Magnesium Chelate 500mg... prob two an hour before bedwatch out some are very weak tablets these allow your nervous system to relax repair as you sleep . Magnesium is water soluble so if you are worried about over doing it just drink lots of water :wink:
Get a good executive B vit group for during the day.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby warthog1 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:35 pm

If you haven't seen your GP lately probably as good a reason as any for a regular check up. Probably nothing sinister as it is not happening at rest but best diagnosed by a medical professional.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby AUbicycles » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:40 pm

Thanks for all of the info and replies - will keep an eye on this. I plan to take it easier for the next rides - so if I manage to take it easy will be interesting to see if there is a difference.

Like you K2, even if I plan to cruise it doesn't seem to work that well and the technique is to then simply take a shorter route.

(I would certainly head to the doctors if it was cause for concern or to get peace of mind).
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby AUbicycles » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:43 pm

Longer ride today - I felt I needed more magnesium and nutrition so took it easy the last 10km.
Also was conscious of losening up and relaxing my upper body (ie. stiff neck) and breathing better.

So was tired but feel this way I wasn't pushing it to far and was able to prevent the phosphenes.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby Sith1 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:00 pm

Yeah magnesium chelate works .... try adding l-glutamine to your water bottles this will help you out with fatigue . Are you eating into your ride ?
How did the stars go ? Any noted beating in your ears ?
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby Sith1 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:05 pm

I spoke with a colleague today about your stars after a ride ...
He believes it could be blood sugar drop . You don't have to be hypoglycemic , he states that stars before the eyes is delpleted carbohydrates .
Maybe another Avenue for you to explore with eating at 45min intervals
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby K2 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:01 am

Thanks for the suggestions but I'm not really a supplement kinda person....it took the good Doctor more than a year of me adjusting diet and retesting before he could convince me it wasn't having any significant effect and I'd best start on the cholesterol meds.

I'm no diet purist or anything (I eat my share of rubbish to help balance out the good stuff) and if my body is a temple it must be to one of the lesser, dodgy gods :) , but I've kinda got this (perhaps wrong, or outdated) belief that a reasonably varied diet should be able to supply me with enough of all the things I've evolved to function with without adding specific vitamins or minerals which, as some of the ads suggest, would require an intake of several wheelbarrow loads of a specific foodtype to satisfy the recommended daily requirements. To my way of thinking, either there must be a much better suited foodtype to be using instead (an avenue I'd be much more comfortable exploring), or whoever came up with the recommended daily figure has screwed up the maths somewhere.

Of course I am aware that cycling reasonably hard for 3 hours or thereabouts considering my age combined with an (until recent) history of slothfulness is more than just surviving, and I'd reconsider things if it were discovered that there's something specifically wrong that prevents normal uptake of something occurring.

Thing is I generally only do it for fitness purposes and am okay (now that this thread has made me consider it for a few days) if I've found my limit for now and need to pull back a bit. I'm fitter now than I have been for 20 years and there isn't really any reason to go any further or faster other than a bit of personal satisfaction for having achieved it (I only piped up so that AU wouldn't feel like a freak :P ). That said, I'll still experiment with some variation to eating habits, especially pre/post and while riding as suggested, and try to resist longer/harder efforts on days when I'm not feeling that strong.

I already eat many of the foods that are meant to be reasonably high in magnesium and ride food is a banana, muesli bar, or both. Plus I've recently rediscovered how nice a bath can be after a long ride and use salts with added magnesium oil in that and a magnesium oil spray occasionally on sore muscles. (Living with a massage therapist has its benefits....just wish I got a massage more often!)

Thanks again and good luck with it AU.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby thomashouseman » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:36 am

I used to see them a lot when I stood up quick. The doc attributed this to being quite fit/low blood pressure. Didn't get them after noticeable exercise though, so probably unrelated.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby zues » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:04 am

Near the end of my first 100km ride I was seeing stars due to a combination of exhaustion and not eating or drinking enough. If I get out off bed or off the lounge quickly I sometimes see stars and feel dizzy but this only occurs after a 150+km ride. I have low blood pressure.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby Leiothrix » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:54 pm

zues wrote: I was seeing stars due to a combination of exhaustion and not ... drinking enough


Funny thing is I see all sorts of weird swirly things when I drink too much :D
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby Spiza » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:59 pm

AUbicycles wrote:Thank you for your wonderful information.
When I used to get migranes then I would get fantastic psychedelic light shows in my vision before they kicked in. Tended to be a sign to get home and be ready for the pain rather than sit back and enjoy.

I will check on the beating in the ears - next time, I am only getting this after riding hard so your description seems to be on the mark.


I think this is what you're referring to Chris http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scintillating_scotoma

I forgot to reply to this thread when I first saw it. I had it yesterday and today. The last time was around 18 months ago. It freaked me out the first time :shock: I have no idea what triggers it in my case but it's usually followed by a mild headache.

It sort of looks like this
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby marks » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:17 am

Seeing stars can be a sign of something serious. Around 6 years ago I started experiencing this and it got to the point it was happening every few days without exercise lasting for a few minutes. My GP wasn't overly concerned and neither was I as was of the belief that seeing stars was pretty usual.

One day I went to get my first set of prescription reading glasses, the late 40's situation where your arms get to short to read. Next thing ended up in an ophthalmologist's office where I was diagnosed with high internal eye pressure and optic nerve damage - glaucoma. Am now on pretty ordinary meds for the rest of my life and when the optic nerve is damaged there is no treatment to reverse this.

An earlier diagnosis would probably have prevented the damage which apparently occurred quite quickly over the course of a few months.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby casual_cyclist » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:32 am

This happens to me when I ride hard... like hill training laps. At worst it can last through the "recovery" part of the lap. For me, I would put it down to this:
winstonw wrote:- quality of sleep, diet, hydration state (how do you know you drink enough?), electrolyte balance, general life stress

in combination with pushing too hard. But if I have slept well, eaten well and drunk enough, it doesn't happen or if it does it's a lot less severe.
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Re: Seeing Stars

Postby rjk » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:24 pm

couldnt help myself - must learn self control

who were the stars robe lowe, robert redford, madonna.

i will leave now, BYE
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