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Dr. Stevens
Dr. Stevens, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 1404
Experience:  Board Certified Ophthalmologist
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my wife, 46 yr old, has had 5-6 recurring episodes of spots

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my wife, 46 yr old, has had 5-6 recurring episodes of spots in her eyes beginning in the center and slowly disappearing to the outside of the eyes. Vision is blurred for awhile 10-15 minutes, until it disappears. Usually one eye at a time. First, one eye, a week later the other. This week, one eye Monday and today twice in one day. Her b.p. is 140/76. No meds.
The spots are discribed to be dark, like the outline of the iris and disapates toward the periphery over time. She says it is like a flash bulb going off and the dark outline that follows. However, it does not start with the flash?
What does it sound like and where do we go from here? She is scheduled to see her MD next week. Should we be more urgent?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Stevens replied 7 years ago.

Hello there

I see patients with similar symptoms quite often. Folks often describe a bright or colorful pattern (sometimes wavy or zigzag in nature) and it can be in one eye and moves to the other, sometimes affecting the central vision. Sometimes there is a headache following this as well. This is called an ophthalmic migraine. The names can be confusing. Think of it this way:

only the visual symptoms - no headache = ophthalmic migraine (also known as ocular migraine).

headache with an aura is called a classic migraine (headache with some peculiar visual warning / episode prior to headache)


Migraines are common and typically require no treatment, except for more rest, less stress, etc. Sometimes caffeine can help shorten the episode. Since this is happening frequently, she should be seen and evaluated for retinal problems. I hope this helps answer your question, if not, just let me know, Regards

Dr. Stevens

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your answer.

She has had some light headaches after one of these episodes but not all. She has had actual migraine headaches but not with the visual symptoms. In fact she had one about a week ago. It was at separate times when these visual symptoms started. Are the two related or unrelated? Can she then have ophthalmic migranines separate from clinical migranes?

Expert:  Dr. Stevens replied 7 years ago.

I have seen people have migraine headaches as well ophthalmic migraines. Before we make a diagnosis however, other causes of visual symptoms must be excluded such as retinal pathology (retinal tears, detachments). Also, I would make sure that the primary doc considers other causes such as impending strokes (tia's). I wish her well, Dr. Stevens

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