Author Topic: Optical Symptoms - Migraines  (Read 5443 times)

Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« on: February 04, 2011, 04:49:25 pm »
When I was in my thirties, I started to get cluster headaches (migrainous neuralgia).  These were similar to what other people tell me about "ordinary" migraine in that the pain was indescribable but there were no optical symptoms and far from wanting to lie down in a dark room, I had to keep moving, roaming the streets and trying not to kill too many people.  The pain would eventually be brought under control with Imigran but I would get a headache lasting three or four hours, every day for several weeks.  Mercifully, these have been absent for several years but I have just started getting optical symptoms!  These take the form of shimmering zig-zags across my vision but apart from affecting my clarity of seeing they are trouble-free and there is no pain.  I've just had the last "attack" and it went on for about half-an-hour.  They are not particularly frequent. I just wondered if any damage is happening or is it just a symptom of my inability to get things together, i.e. full set of symptoms but years apart!

Any ideas?

Hang on, I think pain may be on the way.........

eck

  • Gonna ride my bike until I get home...
    • Angus Bike Chain CC
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2011, 06:06:44 pm »
Peter, Mrs eck suffered from cripplingly painful migraines for several years, usually at regular monthly intervals, and was prescribed Rizatriptran (Maxalt) wafers to manage the pain. They are very effective, much more so than Imigran, but thankfully her symptoms have virtually disappeared since she changed to a gluten-free diet. Co-incidence or not? It may be worth giving it a try.

OTOH, I've been getting the "shimmering zigzags" (that is a perfect description) occasionally for years, with never any pain or other symptoms. I only get it maybe once or twice a year, usually if I'm feeling a lot of stress or I've been rushing about a lot (admittedly a rare occurrence). These are always relieved by the classic "lie down in a darkened room for half an hour" treatment.

So, I wouldn't necessarily associate your newly developed optical symptoms with a recurrence of your old "ordinary" migraine. I do hope the pain didn't materialise.
It's a bit weird, but actually quite wonderful.

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 07:35:20 pm »
Dear Eck,

Thanks for that!  The pain didn't materialise beyond a bit of a dull thud, which may have had nothing to do with it.  I'm like you in that I get this very infrequently, so will hope for the best.  If the clusters come back (please, God, no) I'll have a word with the doc. about the wafers.  Thanks again.

Clandy

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 07:44:06 pm »
I started getting migraines about four or five times a year when I was thirteen, they continued until my late twenties and then faded away. Nowadays, once or twice a year, I will get the visual aura probably three times in the space of a week. It rarely becomes a full blown migraine these days, I just end up feeling like I have the aftermath of a hangover for a day or so. The aura starts in the centre of vision and gradually expands in an arc across my vision, eventually disappearing out of the boundary of my vision. It lasts probably thirty to forty minutes.
Usually I sit down, close my eyes, and try to catnap until it has gone. Sometimes I'll take a dose of Paramax, just in case there's a headache following.

The visual aura can be a little disconcerting for some people, but you get used to it.

I read somewhere that it is believed neolithic Shamen had migraine aura, and that is the origin of many zigzag and spiral carvings on neolithic sacred sides.

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 07:53:13 pm »
I had the spiky blue and yellow zigzag thing for the first time ever a few weeks ago.

I was rather disconcerted, but it went after half an hour or so

Salvatore

  • Джон Спунър
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Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 08:20:44 pm »
I've had the visual aura on and off since my early teens, never associated with any pain. I don't think I've had one for a few years now. I think the last one started when I thought there was a smudge on the monitor so I couldn't read properly, and the area affected spread to the edge of my vision and disappeared. They've never lasted more that about half an hour. I never knew they were migraines until I went to my GP about them about 7 years ago, which resulted in seeing a neurologist. He just told me they were very mild form of migraine and nothing to worry about.

Following on from Clandy's neolithic shamen, there's an article about 'migraine art' here

Quote
And do a brief search on the web and you will literally find thousands of sites that feature galleries and online references to “migraine art.” It’s a well-known fact that people with migraines often report “visual migraines,” also know as migraine “auras.” Typical visual patterns include “fortification patterns” that resemble zig-zag shapes and art by many people—artists and non-artists alike—reflects these patterns. When the very first migraineurs started to express symptoms through art is not known. But there is speculation that some of the mystical paintings from medieval times, including the work of Hildegard von Bingen (Saint Hildegard), were actually the "visions" that resulted, at least in part, from a migraine attack. Van Gogh, Seurat, and many other artists have also been cited as possible “migraine artists.”
Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

Adam

  • It'll soon be summer
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Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 08:26:49 pm »
I've had 2 of these optical migraines in the last 2 years - the last one was 3 nights ago, although I've never suffered a normal migraine.

It starts with a bright light and then a roughly semi-circular shimmering zig-zag shape appears more in my right eye, which slowly expands in size until it gets bigger and bigger and passes out of sight (as it were).  I then feel very slightly woozy for an hour or so afterwards. 

When it happened the first time I saw my optician who gave my eyes a very thorough check out but said it's just one of those things that happens.  :-\
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 08:50:46 pm »
I had a painless migraine once about four years ago.  It was bloody scary.  Fortunately I was with someone who had the same thing while he was in work and his colleagues put him in a taxi to Moorfields. 

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2011, 09:51:57 pm »
This is all very encouraging - I shall start painting right away!

HTFB

  • The Monkey and the Plywood Violin (RIP)
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 10:02:00 pm »
It's scary to lose your vision but it seems only to be conscious perception that's affected. You're still seeing everything even if your experience of seeing is a bit wonky. I've had a migraine aura that blanked out my entire visual field and still walked the streets quite safely (with a friend in tow, just in case)---most hazard avoidance and balance and everything is entirely automated.

I'm fairly confident that if it struck again while I was riding I'd be able to keep my balance and place in traffic long enough to get off the road.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 10:08:52 pm »
From about the age of 5 I have suffered from migraines. Visual disturbance as described above, desperately painful headache, almost always above my right eye, vomiting. I never understood why, but during the few minutes before throwing up, the headache would go, only to come back again afterwards. This lasted until I was in my 30s. I recall one attack which happened while I was teaching. It was about 11.50 and suddenly my vision went. I could see kids' hands going up but I couldn't see the faces of the owners. I went home ten minutes later, went to bed, threw up and was sufficiently recovered the following morning to go back to work. I felt washed out, and that feeling lasted a couple of days typically. This would happen about three or four times a year.

Suddenly, in my 30s, it changed. I would still get the visual disturbance but the headache didn't come. If it did, it was a feeble effort of a headache and once my vision had returned to normal I could work through. The vomiting stopped. Also, the frequency reduced to once or twice a year.

I'm bloody glad to be rid of them. It's got to be at least 20 years since I had a proper migraine. The last one I recall was on the night of the Michael Fish Hurricane.
Basses lower the tone.

Mike J

  • Guinea Pig Man
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 10:12:52 pm »
I get the visual aura now and again, it's very disconcerting, but normally goes away without the actual headache.  I do get migraines as well, but not with the visual disturbances.

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2011, 07:41:01 pm »
This is all very interesting.  I get fairly minor aura symptoms (like a blurred starry waterfall, usually one eye more than the other) but attacks are much less common, like Mrs eck, following a gluten free diet.

What interests me more though, does anyone else experience loss of speech?  Not exactly loss of speech, but loss of being able to say anything understandable. Now, now.  :hand:

My speech goes shortly after the aura and is as scary as anything - well, used to be.  The first time I experienced it I was admitted to hospital for overnight observation, but was told it was only a very bad migraine.  At least I don't vomit. :thumbsup:


redshift

  • High Priestess of wires
    • redshift home
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2011, 10:26:04 pm »
Frequency: Once or twice a year
Optical: Aura like a flickering darkness, or what I can only describe as 'like looking at a negative of a sparkler.'
Headache:  Oh yes.
Vomiting: Not so far.
Cause:  Inevitably, longterm fatigue, or work-related stress.
Cure: Bed.  Darkness.  Sleep.  Migraine-specific drugs work, and ibuprofen can dull the edges, but the absolute cure is sleep and plenty of it - preferably before the headache sets in.
L
:)
Windcheetah No. 176
The all-round entertainer gets quite arsey,
They won't translate his lame shit into Farsi
Somehow to let it go would be more classy…

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2011, 10:29:42 pm »
What interests me more though, does anyone else experience loss of speech?  Not exactly loss of speech, but loss of being able to say anything understandable. Now, now.  :hand:

Yes. I'd forgotten about that. My sister, who's 64 later this year, has suffered from migraines all her life. If anything, hers were worse than mine. She was worse than me for becoming incoherent. When she was quite young, working in an office, the first two or three times she got a migraine she told them she was going home to sleep it off. She used to get quite a few and they began to suspect that she was swinging the lead. They told her she wasn't allowed to go home.

When her bosses saw for themselves how physically debilitating a migraine can be, whenever she said she was getting a migraine they arranged for her to be taken home.
Basses lower the tone.

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2011, 10:34:41 pm »
Michael Fish Hurricane,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Do people realise the import of that?
'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.

Martin John Rees.

redshift

  • High Priestess of wires
    • redshift home
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2011, 10:38:21 pm »
I've never suffered loss of speech, but often suffer 'lack of comprehension' when I have a migraine.  I also remember (vividly) being at work once, and not being able to look at anything in the room.  The monitor flicker from multiple TV screens was so overpowering I couldn't even look up, let alone speak.
L
:)
Windcheetah No. 176
The all-round entertainer gets quite arsey,
They won't translate his lame shit into Farsi
Somehow to let it go would be more classy…

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2011, 09:28:20 am »
I've had the optical stuff twice (possibly thrice) in my adult life, and I don't want it again.
For me it was like a net closing down over one eye, no pain, just loss of sight. First time I was on my own at home on a Sunday, I got myself to our local A&E, who were kind but clueless. The second time I was out cycling with my son (about a fortnight after the first episode) and the same thing happened at the top of a killer hill. The next day my GP referred me to the Stroke clinic. The third possible time was about a month later when, again I was cycling, and I was completely unable to stay upright on the bike due to an absolute inability to turn the bars, this time the 'aura' was less and there was a pain behind my eye (the same one as affected previously).
Stroke clinic neurologist chap diagnosed migraine.
All investigations were negative, and the symptoms have never returned. Hopefully they never will. Chapeau to anyone living with this stuff on a regular basis.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2011, 01:22:58 pm »
I have had various visual symptoms, usually patchy blind zones, rather than zig-zags.
I have had some speech trouble.
On one occasion, I came back froom university and tried to read young brother's school report. I could only focus on two letters at a time and remember reading out he was 'flapjack in his efforts', which should have been 'slapdash'.
Told Mum I wasn't well and went up to bed.
Then I had a one-sided, pounding headache. I was relieved as all the other symptoms then made sense. The headache was not too bad in my case. I was not sick.
I have had other episodes of vomiting in isolation. i have assumed these are migraine variants.
 

HTFB

  • The Monkey and the Plywood Violin (RIP)
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2011, 02:56:20 pm »
Gosh, I'm glad to avoid the vomiting. My Beloved Stoker, not a known migraineur, is at this moment eating a second dinner before a long flight home, after throwing up to relieve a vicious headache. Sounds indicative to me...

Do any of you get strange circulation problems in your fingertips? So that your fingers are unplumped, and wrinkly---or alternatively oddly insensitive and gripless?

(It is only here on YACF that I can imagine describing the major symptom that draws my attention to this, which is that the bog paper on these occasions slips more easily off my fingertips than over the manly surface of my arse, and wiping becomes a hazard.)


Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2011, 04:22:07 pm »
Re odd circulation symptoms, yes, I often get a mild tingling sensation in my left middle finger but only around the pad (fingerprint) area.  In fact, that is often one of the very first symptoms.

I can also get this on my bottom lip.

Reading and thinking about all this suddenly makes me very glad that I only get a migraine once or twice a year.

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2011, 12:31:48 pm »
I sometiomes get the visial thingies as described by OP, sometimes not.  I've never kept a tally on how often I get migraine/bad headach anyway.

I read somewhere that it's something to do with uneven blood pressure and have found that sitting (on the loo so it's peaceful - not so many ladies in IT) with my head between my knees (ie like you do when feeling faint) means that after about 30 mins I am again ready for action., tail end of headache goes away by itself.

(unfortunately it doesn't do anything for tinnitus though)
In the dark, all views are the same.

Andrew

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 09:39:52 am »
Resurrecting an old thread...

I suffer with silent migraines (as I'm told they are called). Maybe 8 or 10 times a year, of varying severity lasting anything from 30 minutes to several hours. The first one I had was in my 30s and was quite frightening as I didn't know wtf was happening. I could see but couldn't see, if that makes sense, so suspected the problem was neurological, nothing wrong with the eyes sort of thing.

I'm much more relaxed about it these days and know it passes. I'm pretty sure I know my triggers too; bright, reflected light being the prime candidate, some artificial lighting in certain conditions, and anxiety ( I also suffer with mild anxiety attacks)

I describe my visual disturbance as venetion blinds; as if someone is opening and closing them diagonally before my eyes. Plus a kind of left/right dissymmetry with blurring. It is often accompanied by a dull headache, predominantly over my eyes, bridge of the nose. And frustration, as you try to (pathetically!)  see!!

Yesterday, I suffered what I'd rate a 7.5 or 8. Not my worst ever but a goodun. I'm still feeling hungover now.

I don't think I've ever suffered one cycling, but I have when driving. Fortunately , my wife was with me and she could take over.

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2015, 10:13:00 am »
I'm sorry about all that, Andrew.  I still get the symptoms I first described but I haven't had a "proper" headache for years, mercifully.

Andrew

Re: Optical Symptoms - Migraines
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2015, 10:28:04 am »
Cheers Peter. I'm thankful I don't suffer the full-on migraine headache as they can be, by all accounts, pretty dire. For me, for the most part, my 'suffering' is more annoying than anything else as I just see it (or don't as the case may be!) as inconvenient.

I can be somewhat scatty with it though. That is, forgetful or prone to mistakes. I don't think of that as a symptom though, more of a consequence!