The visual phenomenon that people experience with migraines do vary from person to person but tend to involve blurry vision with a lighted phenomenon; many people describe them as shimmering, but most consistently is an abnormal lighted visual phenomenon associated with blurring or hazy vision.
One of the less commonly known features of migraines is that many persons can have this visual migraine phenomenon without actually having headache, just having a migraine headache. The spectrum of severity of headaches among migraine sufferers runs the gamut from no headache to severe, debilitating headaches.
But the history you've described of having this lighted phenomenon followed by a headache that persists after the lighted phenomenon has resolved is classic for migraines.
The visual phenomenon from migraines usually last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, but the headache itself can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
Many people find that over-the-counter migraine preparations such as Excedrin-migraine work well. The common theme among these preparations is the ingredient of caffeine. There are prescription medicines that can be taken on a daily basis to help prevent them (if they become frequent enough to alter your life) and there are also medicines that can be taken on an as needed basis to help abort the headaches once they start. Most primary care doctors feel comfortable prescribing these, but if not, a neurologist would be a good place to start.
I think the only reasons to see an ophthalmologist is if you are having new floating things in your vision associated with flashing or arcing lights; this constellation of symptoms is indicative of retinal traction and not migraines. These two conditions can be commonly confused.
Also if you begin to have weakness, numbness, dizziness, lose vision in one eye for an extended period of time, or have double vision, these are abnormal characteristics of migraine headaches and would need to be assessed by a neurologist.
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