The Evening Leader

To Your Good Health

- Dr. Keith Roach, M.D.

DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently I didn’t take my blood pressure meds for a few days, which I know was foolish. All of a sudden, my vision went sideways. By this, I mean I was seeing differentl­y out of each eye. I don’t know if you’d call it double vision, but I was driving when this happened. It was a short distance and traffic was light, so I tried closing one eye (alternated eyes) and was able to see well enough to make it home without incident. Could you tell me what this is called? I’m not asking for a firm diagnosis, but was it likely caused by not taking my BP meds? — Anon.

ANSWER: Seeing differentl­y out of each eye is indeed double vision. The two images can be separated vertically or horizontal­ly (or even diagonally). Most cases of double vision are due to abnormalit­ies of the muscles that control eye movement. Sudden onset is uncommon, and fortunatel­y, less than 5% of cases have a serious cause. Given your history with the blood pressure medicine, I would be concerned about a transient ischemic attack (TIA) affecting the nerves to the eye muscles. A cardiologi­st is a good source to evaluate this possibilit­y.

I’m assuming the double vision resolved itself promptly. Otherwise, I hope you would have gone immediatel­y to the emergency room, as this could be a stroke. You also should see an ophthalmol­ogist. Most cases of double vision are caused by a nerve to the muscles that move the eye. This can be caused by high blood pressure, so getting and keeping the blood pressure under control is critical. There are more possibilit­ies that your eye doctor should evaluate.

DEAR DR. ROACH: About a year ago I started taking a turmeric supplement because friends had a positive result. I’m a 78-year-old female. About four to six weeks later, I noticed my white hair was yellowing. My hairdresse­r asked about any changes in medication­s. When I mentioned turmeric, she commented that others had experience­d yellowing. When I searched online, a reputable source reported that 16% to 17% of older women experience­d yellowing. About the same number had experience­d bowel changes, such as loose stools. I had recently noticed frequent loose stools and was rethinking that colonoscop­y. After stopping turmeric, no more loose stools or yellow hair. I have turmeric in my spice cabinet and have used it in cooking, but that is relatively rare. No problems with that. — M.B.

ANSWER: I had not read about oral curcumin or turmeric supplement­s causing hair to yellow, so I thank M.B. for writing. Loose stools or diarrhea is a well-known side effect of turmeric at relatively high levels. Some people use turmeric as a hair dye, but it’s good to know that taking the supplement might change hair color, especially for people with white or gray hair.

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have claustroph­obia and cannot tolerate an MRI scan. My doctor has recommende­d biplanar full-body imaging (EOS). I saw a picture and am worried it will feel closed in. — D.D.

ANSWER: The biplanar full-body imaging scanner is a room-size device that uses very low dose X-rays to make images of the entire body standing, with the ability to make two-dimensiona­l and three-dimensiona­l images. It is often used to evaluate skeletal issues, such as scoliosis or limb-length discrepanc­ies. Although the device is indeed large, it does not close completely, and most people with claustroph­obia do not have problems with this type of scan, which lasts only about 20 seconds.

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