Ocular migraines

Just yesterday, I got a diagnosis for a problem I’ve been having with my vision. I’ve been going through bouts of blurry vision, leading to headaches and tiredness. I finally went to an opthamalogist, and the symptoms were clear: it was a case of ocular migraines.

The good news is that it isn’t dangerous and doesn’t lead to any permanent damage. It’s evidently not a rare condition, though I don’t think there’s much about it outside of an opthamalogist’s office. It took some searching to find a link that described it.

They are going to do some tests to make sure, but my symptoms are exactly like those in the link above, so I don’t expect trouble.

Of course, the bad news is, like migraine headaches, the cause of these are unclear and there is no simple cure. I’m going to have to relax more and maybe spend less time staring at the computer screen and try to figure out what sort of things trigger the attacks. The actual episodes are painless; I sometimes get headaches afterwards, but those are minor and an aspirin does the trick.

But the big relief is that my vision isn’t going. :eek:

Anyone else have this sort of problem?

Ouch, nasty. I have “regular” migraines plus occasional (like once or twice a year) migraines with auras, just about like what’s shown in your link. It’s like you get a sparkly dot in your vision that slowly expands out into a ring, which keeps getting wider until finally it spreads “past” your field of vision and is gone. Now I’m wondering if my occasional blurred vision isn’t migraine related too, rather than needing new glasses or eye strain from working on a computer.

Since I was having full, strong migraines frequently, I was put on a daily preventative (50 mg nortriptyline), and take 1000-1500 mg of naproxen (Aleve) to stop migraines in progress.

I use to get them in one eye. I would actually lose all sight in my left eye for up to one minute. Then the vision in that eye would return and a regular headache would begin. Hasn’t happened to me in a few years fortunately.

Yeah, I get those. The first time was in grad school. I was working at the terminal (for you kids out there, a “terminal” was what we used instead of a PC :smiley: ), and suddenly noticed that I couldn’t see the “G” on the top of the G key.

“Weird”, I thought.

A little later, I found that I could no longer see any of the keys to the left and above the G key. They were sort of blocked by this shimmering blur, sort of hallucinogenic – or what I imagine hallucinogens would make you see, never having taken any (hey, I’m a boring guy, what can I say?).

Before the afternoon was out, this shimmering blur developed into a long, sort of dragon-shaped thing that pretty much wiped out the entire left side of my vision. After a while it moved over to the left to the point where I could see in front of me once more, and I drove home… very carefully!

I took a nap, and when I got up, I was fine, aside from a thumping headache, which I have learned is pretty much what awaits me when I get one of these things.

In the twenty years since that time, I seem get them perhaps three or four times a year. There does seem to be some association with stress, but otherwise they appear harmless. I have talked to the doctor about them, and he says that, if they became worse, that there are medications that we could try, but that if they are no more obnoxious than they currently are, its probably best to just live with them.

I can live with that.

That’s exactly what I have. In fact, I hate the vision problems more than the migraines themselves. The migraines themselves are rarely horrible.

My vision gets blurry, although the blur swirls in one part of my vision, just like the link described. They normally last a few minutes, but once I had one last an hour (that episode, which was about three years ago, was rather scary because it was followed by complete numbness in my right hand and a really bad migraine. I ended up going to the doctor over it.).

I’ve had something similar happen to me more than once. What’s odd is that they don’t involve exclusively one eye or the other, but they do seem to only affect one side of my visual field.

And all this time I thought it was bacterial in origin. :smack:

I get them. Mine seem to be triggered by stress or fatigue. I have found if I pop some ibuprophen (sp?) as soon as I notice the effects, they are gone in 10-20 minutes. I’ve never had a headache follow one even though I have had classic migranes in the past.

Wow…almost exactly 30 minutes before I read this, a woman at work told me she had to leave work early on Monday because her 12 year old daughter called and said she couldn’t see her nose and mouth when she looked in the mirror.
Women drove her to emergency room and on the way daughter said, “I can see now, but I have a huge headache”. The girl had never had a headache before.

They did a CATSCAN and found nothing, and sent her home.

I forwarded this thread to that woman.

It probably is affecting only one eye, but the reason you still see it when you close the eye on that side is that the disturbance is happening directly in the retina. Your retinas are technically part of the brain, and they create a picture of what the outside world looks like for your brain to merge together and interpret. Think of the “aura” as some static in one retina. Even if you close that eye, the “static” is still going on, so you still “see” it.

Wow, good timing. Have her show her daughter the pictures linked to in the OP. The auras I get look almost exactly like that. It’s like a lot of iridescent glitter or that silver “holographic” wrapping paper in looks - kind of white, kind of rainbow-sparkly, and your vision seems kind of dark right around that area.

You’ll be amazed at how many people will tell you they have these. I’ve had them in the past, triggered by extremely brilliant African sunlight and stress. The first time, I thought I was either having a stroke or a detached retina. Everything kept ‘jumping’. I’m one of those that gets a mild headache afterward. Some people have no pain at all. I’m careful to wear sunglasses outdoors.

Sorry about your migraines. They suck. My sister had ocular migraines a few years back when her vision would deteriorate until she had what is commonly called tunnel vision. She was going through a particularly stressful time when this happened but she also wondered whether her diet, particularly the amount of Diet Coke she was drinking, was a contributing factor. She gave up Diet Coke around the same time she gave up her husband and voila! no more tunnel vision. Draw your own conclusions. :slight_smile:

Another name for this is ‘Migraine Equivalent’. I’ve had them for 30 years – and known what they were for less than 20. Mine were purely visual until a very stressfull work environment started increasing my blood pressure. The full migraines were bad, but they’ve been controlled well for 10 years, and I rarely get the migraine equivalent’s anymore. BTW, Ferret Herder and BrotherCadfael got the description down pat – the visual disturbance is unique, and enough for diagnosis.

Oh wow. I never knew what to call these.

My vision gets all sparkly, but not so much jagged in appearance, it’s more like I’ve got my face pressed up against a window screen-bits and pieces of what I’m looking at disappear. It only lasts about 20 minutes then goes away. Sometimes I have a mild headache afterwards, sometimes not.

I’ve also experienced the classic migraine but get no visual disturbance with those.

I learn a lot hanging around here.

But the aura obscures objects in the same part of the visual field no matter which eye I look through.

The first time I got an ocular migraine, I called my brother and informed him I had a brain tumor. Then I got the headache and figured out what was going on. In the last few years I have occasionally gotten these with or without the classic migraine symptoms. I never knew they were so common!

I’ve had one - when I was twelve. Freaked me the hell out. Since I already had the reputation of being the family hypochondriac, I didn’t tell anyone. Years later, when I was getting a vision exam, I mentioned it to the doctor, and he explained what it was. So good to know I wasn’t insane or dying of a brain tumor.

I get them too, although they are extremely minor compared to the “regular” migraines I get. I must say that, hundreds of debunkings aside, the ocular migraines were reduced by a LOT once I pinpointed aspartame as a possible trigger.

I haven’t had a Classic Migraine™ in two years or so, but I get the aura a lot. Blurry vision, tunnel vision, or lots of little “Christmas lights.” It’s very annoying but painless. I suggest buying a pair of dark sunglasses and wearing them out.