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Dr. Rick, MD
Dr. Rick, MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11164
Experience:  20+ years as a doctor. Internal Medicine Internship in NYC
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My husband went totally blind for a few minutes today and

Resolved Question:

My husband went totally blind for a few minutes today
and then recovered with no appearent after-effect. What
would cause this.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Rick, MD replied 5 years ago.

wieyedoc :

Hi. I am an ophthalmologist and will be happy to help you today.

wieyedoc :

Did he go "lights out" blind? Were both eyes affected at the same time or just one eye?

wieyedoc :

Does he have any medical problems or take any medications?

Customer:

both eyes

wieyedoc :

You stated the episode lasted a "a few minutes".....can you be more specific?

Customer:

no problems no meds

Customer:

no

wieyedoc :

ok

wieyedoc :

I'm sorry.....did you say if he was 100% blind in both eyes or if his vision was just impaired/worse?

Customer:

He could'nt focus so his vision was impaired

wieyedoc :

Ok. So he could still see in the distance, recognize faces etc?

Customer:

No, he stated (as a passenger) he could

Customer:

not have driven as he couldn't focus to see

wieyedoc :

Did he notice and shimmering in his vision, or flashing lights?

Customer:

Yes to shimmering he said it was jumping all over the place

wieyedoc :

Did he have any other systemic issues such as feeling "weird", weak, nauseous etc?

wieyedoc :

Ok. I believe I know what happened......good news. He will be OK.

Customer:

no

wieyedoc :

You husband most likely suffered from an ocular migraine.

wieyedoc :

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.


 

wieyedoc :

As you can see it is very common to have the visual symptoms and not the headache. As a matter of fact I, personally, suffer from this condition and rarely get the headache.

wieyedoc :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

Thank you, yes

wieyedoc :

My pleasure. Have a good day.

wieyedoc :

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Expert:  Dr. Rick, MD replied 5 years ago.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like to discuss pertaining to this issue.