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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10553
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Occasionally, I have a small pattern of a stain-glass or

Resolved Question:

Occasionally, I have a small pattern of a "stain-glass" or "oil on water" distortion in my vision. It starts as a small spot in the center or focal point, and within a half hour or so, expands like the edge of a ripple on water and dissipates . I can see it with my eyes closed, and with both eyes. It is not accompanied by any eye discomfort or headache. I am 65 and in good general health, although I weigh about 30 lbs more than I should.
Any ideas?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

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

Dr. Rick :

It sounds like you are experiencing 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.

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 :

As I noted above it is very common to NOT get the headache after these events, even thought it is called an "ocular migraine"

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick :

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Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
Let me know if there are there any other concerns or issues you would like to discuss on this topic.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
I see that you are online and have read my response above. I am about to go off line and thought I'd check with you to see if there was anything you would like to ask me before I shut things down for the evening...