swim before (one's) eyes

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swim before (one's) eyes

To appear in or cloud one's vision. Usually said of floaters (clumps of fibers in the eye) or rings, spots, or flashes of light (called phosphenes). I stood up too quickly, causing flashes of light to swim before my eyes. A: "My daughter's had these floaters swimming before her eyes recently." B: "Isn't she a bit young for that to be happening?"
See also: before, eye, swim

swim before someone's eyes

Fig. [for something, such as spots or visions] to appear in one's field of vision. I was getting feverish and spots swam before my eyes. Visions of total destruction swam before my eyes as the bus skidded in the snow.
See also: before, eye, swim
References in classic literature ?
But, before I say any thing else, let me entreat you, as the greatest favor you can do to your sister and your friend, not to enter into any disputes about me with Lady Lundie, and not to commit the imprudence--the useless imprudence, my love--of coming here." She stopped--the paper swam before her eyes. "My own darling!" she thought, "who could have foreseen that I should ever shrink from the thought of seeing you?" She sighed, and dipped the pen in the ink, and went on with the letter.
But her senses seemed to share the confusion of her mind -- the words mingled together, and the lines swam before her eyes.
Printed lines and written lines swam before her eyes. She felt, rather than saw, Lady Janet's attention steadily and suspiciously fixed on her.