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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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Left eye with purple splotches in field of vision. A few days

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Left eye with purple splotches in field of vision. A few days ago, I visited a person who had a brilliantly bright fluorescent light behind them. After around 10 minutes, I lost significant amounts - I'd say 80% - of vision in my left eye. My right eye is not affected. I left the room and my vision recovered. Two days later, some obscuring returned. Now it appears as splotches or "freckles" that I can see through. They appear as light purple in sunlight and as gray in artificial light. Will this heal on its own? Should I wear an eye patch? What do you recommend?

Dr. Rick :

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

Dr. Rick :

how long do these episodes last?

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Dr. Rick : Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Dr. Rick : how long do these episodes last?

Do you have any other symptoms?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Since the splotches returned, the condition is ongoing but in flux. Sometimes it lessens then returns to status quo. I have no other noticeable symptoms, but have observed a small - 1/32nd inch diameter - dry spot on my eyelid. I thought it was unrelated.

you are correct. I do not think that the dry spot is an issue here.

What you are describing is consistent with ocular migraines, a condition that I not only treat in my office but that I have been dealing with personally for decades.
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.
I, personally, have been suffering from this condition for almost 30 years. I almost never got the headaches after the visual effects.

Does this make sense to you?

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm not certain that this makes complete sense to me, though if it is indeed the case, I'm thankful. Until I was in my young 40's, I did suffer full blown migraines that began with "flashing lights" and then intense headache pain. Nothing like that for close to 20 years. There is no headache pain associated with this.

I should mention that last week because I was in an unusual for me living situation, I had no coffee at all for a full day period. I normally have two 6 oz. cups per day. Could this be a sort of "withdrawal." symptom? BTW, I'm back drinking coffee as of today.

Your history of migraines makes me even more confident in my original diagnosis...especially since I've been suffering with the same issue just a year or two less than you have :)

It is not unusual to be spared a headache after the visual events....

As a caffeine addict myself I applaud your (wise) decision to go back to coffee....being away from your usual fix could very well have brought this on.

Does this make better sense to you?

It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke.....
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