YANAD, but what is with this lingering vision migraine aura?
May 18, 2011 6:04 PM   Subscribe

YANAD, but what is with this lingering vision migraine aura?

I can probably count on one hand how many migraines I've had in my lifetime (I'm a female in my early twenties), but when I do have them boy how they knock me out!
The first sign for me is normally the visual aura that appears - first a few spots that I can pass off as looking at bright lights, but the slowly it spreads and get worse until I can barely see out of both eyes - cue the nausea, intense headache etc.

Lately I've noticed the onset of just this visual aura. I've popped some painkillers, assumed I got the migraine before it got me. But a few times I haven't had painkillers on hand and discovered that no migraine has come, it's just that 2 spots of this odd aura are sitting in my vision for a while. It's the same 2 size spots that don't spread or change and once I see it it hangs around for a while - if I'm concentrating at work or driving etc I can't see it, but when I relax or change where I am looking they pop up for a bit.

I've seen an optometrist in case it was related to computers but he said my eyes were fine (perfect, in fact) and there was nothing within the eye causing it. Before I go fork out for more doctors, does anybody have an explanation to these? They're not painful, just weird and a bit bothersome (and hopefully not the sign of something serious).

posted by sunshine arakhan to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Visual migraine - not uncommon. Try drinking some strong coffee or other caffeinated beverage at onset and it might short circuit it. My auras are always followed by pain, my husband often just gets the visual part followed by spaciness. You have run it by your regular doctor to rule out any of the nastier things that can also cause this stuff I assume?
posted by leslies at 6:12 PM on May 18, 2011

IANAD at all, at all. I have had visual auras and no pain on several occasions - rainbow halos mostly, once zigzag lines.
posted by Frowner at 6:12 PM on May 18, 2011

Sometimes migraine sufferers only get the aura and no pain. It wouldn't be that weird for you to occasionally get visual spots without the rest of the symptoms.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to say that this is just a migraine symptom; it could also be the symptom of something more serious. That's just how the human body is--many symptoms can either point to something relatively benign or something serious. Ruling out the something serious is the reason you go to the doctor when this kind of thing pops up.

If I was in your situation and had had my eyes checked out already, I would probably just assume it was an incompletely formed migraine unless my symptoms started to get worse. But I have crappy health insurance and hate going to doctors, so I might not make the best choice.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:14 PM on May 18, 2011

what is with this lingering vision migraine aura?

Do you have lingering stress? I had this happen, and the advice was to de-stress. I did, and didn't have one for years. Then I had some drama happen and the very next day, well looky here, migraine-less aura. I took a deep breath, tried to block out the stress, tried to put things in perspective, and just tried to de-stress. Had not happened since, until last week, when again, several stressful events appeared. Recognized immediately, took deep breaths, tried to de-stress. Each time it gets less and less.
posted by cashman at 6:31 PM on May 18, 2011

I get visual migraines, usually but not always with pain and nausea. I agree with the notes above about stress and caffeine.

You don't mention in your post, though, whether you're on any hormonal birth control. If you're on the combined pill, my advice is to get off it as soon as possible (like, today!). By the time I came off it, I had migraine aura going on constantly, shading in and out of nausea and pain. It was not pleasant.
posted by daisyk at 12:24 AM on May 19, 2011

My mom gets visual migraines without pain sometimes, so it's definitely possible.

I agree with what leslies said about caffeine. Normally when I get the aura, I immediately take Relpax, a Vicodin, and Dramamine. However, a couple of weeks ago I was out to dinner and started to get a migraine, and realized I'd left my Relpax at home, and only had Vicodin. I was really scared, sure I would be in for a trip to the ER (because once I start vomiting, I can't keep any pain pills down). But I immediately ordered a Coke (had given up caffeine and was drinking lemonade) and although the aura got bigger than normal and lasted a little longer, it went away within 45 minutes and the migraine only lasted a couple of hours longer than it would have otherwise. The next day, my migraine "hangover" (aka the postdrome, an after-headache or sensitivity) was a little worse than normal, and Advil wasn't helping. I got another Coke and within a few ounces I was almost pain-free.

My doctor asked me to give up caffeine today (even though I already had without her knowledge) but specifically green-lighted me to have it when I get a migraine.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:41 PM on May 19, 2011

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