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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Approximately 2 years ago, I began developing flashing around

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Approximately 2 years ago, I began developing flashing around the peripheral of my right eye at close to age 50. When this appeared I thought it was eye related, went to an Optometrist and nothing abnormal was found. Since that time I have had 5 to 6 additional episodes which now include a headache. The flashing starts first, then the headache arises. With the last episode, the visual phenomenon lasted approx. 30 minutes and the headache went on for the remainder of the day. I had no weakness, or difficulty with speech during or after any of the incidents, however; I did feel mentally cloudy and very fatigued for a few days. At my age I am very concerned about the risk of a TIA or CVA.

Dr. Dan B. : Hello and thanks for your question. Would you describe these flashes as quick striking and electrical in nature, or shimmery or psychedelic in nature? Do they march across your visual field? Any associated light sensitivity or loud noise sensitivity?
Dr. Dan B. : Has this ever happened to you before?
Dr. Dan B. : By your account, this sounds like you are experiencing a migraine. A typical migraine starts with abnormal visual phenomena which sometimes is described as shimmering or zig-zag lights, which can sometimes surround a blurry area of the vision. Some people describe areas or splotches of their vision that blank out and some have lights or psychedelic phenomena surrounding these areas. They often progressively increase in intensity and sometimes march across the visual field. 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), a headache (and/or possibly eye pain) typically starts and the light show tends to progressively go away. For every different person with migraine there is a different pattern; some people only have one of these accompanying symptoms, but the commonality is this gradual onset and resolution of either negative (void) or positive (lighted) visual phenomena, experienced in both eyes (even though it may seem to be predominantly in one eye or one side of the visual field. The visual phenomenon that people experience with migraines do vary from person to person but often involve blurry vision with a lighted phenomenon; many people describe them as shimmering, but most consistently is an abnormal lighted visual phenomenon which is sometimes associated with blurring or hazy vision. One of the hallmarks of a person with a typical migraine headache is their need to abandon all activity in favor of a quiet, dark room where they can sleep off the headache.One of the less commonly known features of migraines is that many persons can have this visual migraine phenomenon without actually having headache; this is called an acephalgic migraine. The spectrum of severity of headaches among migraine sufferers runs the gamut from no headache to severe, debilitating headaches.There tend to be many varied triggers for migraines, but some of the most common are chocolate, wine and cheese, stress, overuse of the eyes, and exposure to fluorescent lighting. 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.If you are having other symptoms such as loss of vision in one eye, double vision, difficulty talking or swallowing, or are experiening numbness or weakness in any specific part of the body, these are symptoms which are not normal for migraines and you should see either your primary care doctor or an emergency room doctor as soon as possible.
Dr. Dan B. : I would recommend seeing your primary care doctor, or neurologist to have a complete evaluation, especially if this is your first event.
Dr. Dan B. : Does this make sense? Does this information help address your concerns? Do you have any other questions about this? It appears as though you are not in the chat room currently. I am happy to be able to help you today. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need. If you would like to ask further questions or clarification regarding anything I've said, please let me know and I will be happy to address your concerns when I return to see if you've responded. If your concerns have been resolved...Your feedback is important to me and will help me improve my encounter with future customers. Please rate your encounter with me by providing positive feedback (by pressing the smiley face); any bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. If you feel like your concerns are not resolved or you have a problem or issue with anything I have said or haven’t said, please don’t issue a negative feedback rating—My goal is your satisfaction and I would rather work together to solve your concerns, until you are satisfied, than have you leave our encounter unhappy and unsatisfied. My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor. Thanks for your inquiry!
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