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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7851
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I am wondering if I have a serious problem with my eyes. I

Resolved Question:

I am wondering if I have a serious problem with my eyes. I am an almost 70 yr old woman, in very good health. This morning as I was in the shower, washing my hair, my eyes shut of course......upon opening my eyes all I could see was dark burgandy/black blotches on the wall of the shower. I kept blinking a few times and eventually the blobs lessened and eventually disappeared.
Lately, I have been gnawing mild headaches above my right eye and above ..localized however.
Could there be something else going on in my head....blood clot...or worse...am feeling generally fine....today's episode is of great concern.
Before this morning occurance of blackish blotches, I was having bright light streaks occuring when I blinked my eyes....could these be mini TIAs?
Thank you for your advice.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

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

Dr. Rick :

How long did this episode of blotchy vision last?

Customer:

sometimes momentarily...like with the bright streaks that occur as I am glancing left or right, but the dark blotches of this morning, startled me and I just kept blinking maybe a few minutes and they became lighter in color and shape. The shapes remind me of a Rorchark (sp, sorry) test.

Dr. Rick :

I do not think that this is suggestive of a stroke, blood clot or mini TIAs. I think what you are experiencing is called 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 :

I do not think this is an emergency but it wouldn't hurt to make an appointment with your internal medicine physician in the near future if you have not recently seen her.

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

ok..the next obvious question is what do I do about these? As you say in your response, I have had "episodes" of "shimmering" lights for many years...have been checked by doctor..had brain scan etc back in the late 70's and haven't had anything more unusual until this morning...as I said before it was startling because of the dark color.....

Dr. Rick :

The fact that you have had many episodes of shimmering in the past makes me even more convinced of my diagnosis.....I must admit that I, too, have been suffering with this issue for many decades.

Dr. Rick :

As to what can be done.....were there are medicines that you can take that can decrease the frequency of the events and some that you can take when the shimmering starts and, in many cases, prevent a severe migraine from starting. Whether or not you want to take meds for this depends upon how much the events are impacting your life.

Customer:

;Yes, what you are saying does make sense to me and,,most reassuring. I will followup with a call to my PCP. I am also having other issues...thought it was thyroid but was ruled out by Endocrinologist...saying there may be something else going on so will make an appt. with a cardiologist to rule out blocked artery...I also have dizziness at times, also alarming and a constant "noise" in my ears/head....am trying to put together a medical profile to take with me; ruling out various things and still remain positive in my thinking. I did have a stressful situation at work yesterday and am chalking it up to that. That is what had happened back in the late 70's...Opthamologist said it was "hysterical temporary blindness:". I am an Aries personality and the description of an Arian fits me to a teeee....

Customer:

I do take a Flonase nasal spray that as you open the blood vessels and seems to lesson migraine symptoms.

Dr. Rick :

Ya....you Aries can be like that -- As I've learned since marrying my wife lol!

Dr. Rick :

I don't buy "hysterical temporary blindness:" as a diagnosis anymore but I guess in the 70's that was the best they could come up with :)

Customer:

All in all, at this very moment you have made me feel less anxious and can head out shortly to baby sit my 10 month grandson for the afternoon, without feeling his safey would be in jeopardy. Thank you so much for taking the time to address my issue.

Dr. Rick :

My pleasure....give the Grandbaby a hug for me.

Dr. Rick :

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


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Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7851
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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