'Mo movies, 'mo migraines
May 9, 2014 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I've been having weird episodes where I can't see properly after leaving dark movie theaters. Could this be a migraine?

This is probably incredibly obvious (and I'm hoping it is!) but I'm having a hard time describing my symptoms and so thought I would put a call out if this sounds familiar to anyone.

So tonight I went and watched a movie for two hours in a theater. After leaving I immediately felt strange. My eyes weren't able to focus properly--I could SEE, but judging my surroundings was way more difficult than normal. Blurry is a good word. It was a bit dissociative, like I was in my body but I wasn't really IN my body. I also had a headache.

No 'aura' though, no flashing lights, no extra visuals, no debilitating pain.

Things that are obviously related: I clench my jaw. Bad posture that I'm trying to fix. Very sensitive to noise. Sinus issues. I don't take any medication that could be a trigger, and don't drink caffeine. I do eat chocolate and cheese and other migraine-trigger foods.

This has happened multiple times (almost every time I leave a theater, starting from the last couple of years, and after a concert, and a party, ALL AT NIGHT) and it usually goes away within ~30 minutes. It's not horrible, exactly, but it's not great either.

Intellectually I know this is a migraine. I'm hoping a) people with similar migraine symptoms can...talk about that? and b) advice for how to start dealing with this.

posted by tooloudinhere to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also I put the apostrophes on the wrong side, sorry guys. I can usually punctuate when I don't have a migraine.
posted by tooloudinhere at 8:14 PM on May 9, 2014

This does not sound like a migraine. It does, however, sound like some sort of neurological issue that you should see a doctor about.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:18 PM on May 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

I was diagnosed with intercranial hypertension (high pressure of the cerabral fluid) what you are saying about feeling disassociated from what you are viewing sounds like one of my symptoms. I also had problems with getting optical migraines and photo-phobia because of it. Because it was based on pressure on the optic nerve sinus issues aggravated it. It could be neurological, it could be nothing I would go see your doctor. I still need good dark sunglasses when going outside from inside even on overcast days as it reduces the optical migraine trigger, it might be something consider until you can get in to see your doctor.
posted by wwax at 9:06 PM on May 9, 2014

Acute angle closure glaucoma is an eye issue that classically can present after the pupils are dilated, for example after being in a darkened room as you are when you are watching a movie. Glaucoma attacks can present as headaches and blurred vision. They can be mistaken for a migraine.

I don't know if this is glaucoma or not - there are other possibilities certainly. If you are a young person, that makes glaucoma unlikely. If you continue to have a moderate to severe headache and/or blurred vision I think you should go to the emergency department now and get checked out. Otherwise, I really think you should see your primary care doctor and your eye doctor urgently.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:15 PM on May 9, 2014

Actually, I just checked your prior AskMe questions and it looks like you are a college student. Angle closure glaucoma is rare in your age group. But the fact that these symptoms are occurring when you go from a setting of dilated pupils (dark) into a lighted setting still makes me think you should really get your eyes checked out - but your primary care doctor can help you figure out what else you need if your eyes are OK, so I'd still say do both.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:21 PM on May 9, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the input and for taking this seriously. It's not an emergency situation but I will definitely be taking this issue to a doctor as soon as possible.
posted by tooloudinhere at 9:22 PM on May 9, 2014

Going from very dark to very bright places (or vice versa) is a big migraine trigger for me too. One thing that helps is if you can slow down the transition - hang out in the theater for a minute after the house lights come up, put on sunglasses before you go into the lobby, etc.

I'm glad you're going to see a doctor, though - even though migraine symptoms and triggers can change over time, it's always a good idea to make sure there isn't something else going on.
posted by heisenberg at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2014

Response by poster: No real answers, other than the fact that this may be a symptom of my low blood pressure.
posted by tooloudinhere at 12:32 PM on June 9, 2014

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