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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7750
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I am a 57yr old women in reasonably good health. My GP put

Customer Question

I am a 57yr old women in reasonably good health. My GP put me on simvastatin approx 10 months ago because of slight elevated cholesterol. But most days my bp is normal. But for the last say two months I have been getting a visual disturbance in the form of a shimmering effect, rather like looking along a road on a hot summers day. It happens mainly in late afternoon and evening when just sitting. Physical exertion does not produce the effect. I can go for several days without the disturbance, then get several episodes within an hour. During a recent 2 week hoilday abroad nothing happenend. My gp then put be on prochlorperazine but did not stop the effect, so stopped taking them.

This does not have the characteristics of migraine as there is no jagged lights, headaches etc. There are no after effects and it lasts only several seconds. But I know when it is about to start due to a "crawling" sensation at the back of my neck. I recently had my eyes checked and nothing unusal was found. I do wear glasses for reading. I am not on any other medication and have not had any recent accidents. I am not on any special diet and only work part time as a school escort. I do have slight hearing damage due to previous work in a noisy factory. The disturbance does not affect my driving or any other activity. Could this be a balnce problem rather than an optical one?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

are you available to chat?

Dr. Rick :

It sounds like you are having an ocular migraine

Dr. Rick :

A typical migraine headache starts with shimmering lights, often times they surround a blurry area or have dots or jaggedly lines associated with them. They tend to progressively increase in intensity and sometimes march across the visual field causing difficulty with reading. Many times this is then accompanied by nausea, irritability, sensitivity to bright lights and/or loud noises. After the onset of the lights (called scintillating scotomas), the headache typically starts and the light show tends to progressively go away.


Many people can have this migraine phenomenon without the headache; it is called an acephalgic migraine. Some people even start having these late in life, or may have had a few much earlier in life that behaved differently and haven't had any for decades and then begin to have them; this is not uncommon. A family history of migraines is often present as well.

Dr. Rick :

This is nothing to worry about. It is not a sign of a more serious underlying condition, brain tumor or anything like that. If the episodes become so frequent that they are bothersome there are medicines that can be used to decrease their frequency or stop an episode once it has started.

Dr. Rick :

I see you are in the chat room, but I can't see anything you are typing.....

Customer :

Hi I don't get nausea just the shimmering when I stand up or moive from room to room even after eatting

Customer :

I had my eyes tested two week ago and they where ok.

Dr. Rick :

That would be consistent with the above.....there are no physical abnormalities in the eyes as the cause of an ocular migraine is constriction of blood vessels in the visual cortex in the brain. I, personally, have suffered from this condition for 25 years....

Customer :

It is happing now as I am trying to write yes what you are saying sound like it but without the common other signs of the migraine we all know about.

Dr. Rick :

Exactly. I rarely get the headache.....I find that drinking a caffeine containing beverage when the shimmering lights starts helps them to go away faster. If you are concerned, a complete exam by an internal medicine MD with rule out any other causes, however, like they say: "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is most likely a duck....."

Customer :

Is it common to the shimmering every day lots of times in the day for two weeks?

Dr. Rick :

Common? No. Possible? Yes. Try to reduce stress, get more sleep and have your husband/significant other take you out to a fancy restaurant and a play in London....I can write you a prescription for that if you would like ;o)

Customer :

Thanks for your time , I will do just that, when my husband comes back from work I will tell him. I like coffee as well. Bye for now.

Dr. Rick :

My Pleasure. Have a great holiday season.

Dr. Rick :

And, now, the obligatory word from our sponsors: :o)


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?

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
k
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7750
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Can you recommend any medicine that would be available over the counter?
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately, there are no over the counter meds that will help. Some may say that they do, but in my opinion, they are a waste of your money. If the episodes are so frequent as to be a bother a visit to your internal medicine MD should be able to solve your issues for you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi again,

Can you recommend a medicine, that does not need a prescription, please.

Thanks
Franca
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
As far as I know, there are none. You might want to ask a neurologist or internal medicine physician if they know of any but I am pretty sure that there are none. Sorry about that.

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