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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
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?
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