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Jagged arc of lights

August 19, 2016 pm31 2:35 pm

Did you know what an ocular migraine is?

I went to a colleague’s birthday party last month. I don’t know why I wore my back-up glasses, but I did. And standing out in her yard I saw a little distortion in the right corner of my field of vision. Damned progressive lenses. I took them off to look at them. But the distortion was still there. Not floaters. A few zigzagging parallel lines, translucent, they didn’t obscure my vision. And they went away in a few minutes, and I forgot about them.

Two weeks later they reappeared, on the right, but closer to the center of my field of vision, and with light and color on the edges. More angular, and brighter. They faded as they got bigger, moved to the right periphery of my vision, and disappeared. Took maybe 20 minutes.

I mentioned it to a friend, who said I needed to go to an ophthalmologist. This could be the beginning of something serious. By the way, did you know there were 2 Ls in ophthalmologist? And 2 Hs. Freaky. But not as freaky as getting a random electric light show.

I meant to go. I did. But it wasn’t until the third episode this week that I jumped up and took care of it. Twenty minutes again. Started right center and grew and faded.

I called the ophthalmologist the next day (but I think I called him an opthamologist because I hadn’t learned to spell it yet), and he took me later that day. Dilated the eyes. Found I see 20/20, with my current correction. Checked the field of vision for blind spots. None. Checked peripheral vision. Good. Imaged the blood vessels and the optic nerves. Good and good.

Was I the only one who didn’t know there are “optical migraines”? This, apparently, is what I have. It’s in my brain, not my eyes. And it’s weird.

My last two were sort of halfway between these two images I found on
the internet.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2016 pm31 3:25 pm 3:25 pm

    It *is* weird. And adult onset, my neuro-ophthalmologist assures me, is not that unusual. The color plates in Oliver Sacks’s book Migraine are worth looking at, if you can find a copy.

  2. suevanhattum permalink
    August 19, 2016 pm31 10:54 pm 10:54 pm

    Yikes! I’m so glad there’s no pain. It won’t interfere with things like driving?

    • August 20, 2016 am31 9:40 am 9:40 am

      I think they could be distracting. Would be prudent to pull over and let it pass.

  3. August 20, 2016 am31 10:38 am 10:38 am

    I never had an ocular migraine but have suffered from them since I was 15 – pain in one eye and nausea – with an especially bad decade from 1975-85 before I found a daily pill to take which has kept them under control. The only times I ever had to leave school during the day to go home was due to migraines.

  4. August 20, 2016 am31 11:20 am 11:20 am

    I’ve had a few ocular migraines, but mine are different: all the letters disappear from whatever I’m reading. Newspaper or book, the page goes totally blank. Brains are weird.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    August 21, 2016 pm31 1:33 pm 1:33 pm

    Wow, I’ve been having those things since I was 12 years old. The only thing is that mine are followed by the pain. So I have ample warning before the pain hits and I’m able to grab a couple of tylenol and actually avoid the pain mostly. Where I’d have these episodes once every two years or so, as I get older and older they are increasing. First to once a year, then two times a year, and now it happens about three times a year or so. I think I’ll pick up that Oliver Sacks book. May his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace.

  6. Atlas permalink
    August 23, 2016 pm31 3:23 pm 3:23 pm

    Eventually they may get worse like mine did. If that happens you lose your eyesight for about 15 minutes. It hasn’t happened to me in years, but if you’re driving it can be deadly. Furinol (not sure of the spelling) will help. Stop drinking caffeine and wearing cologne. Good luck.

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