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While I have had visual migraines several times a year over

the past 30 years, they...
While I have had visual migraines several times a year over the past 30 years, they always go away after about half an hour. Sometimes they will reoccur in the same day, but not often. However, I have had the same thing, almost constant for the past 4 days and need to know whether I should try to find a doctor. We just got throught the hurricane here.
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
11/9/2012
Dr. A.S. Desai
Dr. A.S. Desai, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 2,438
Experience: MS Ophthalmology with 13 years of surgical expereince
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Dr. A.S. Desai :

Hello, Welcome to Pearl.com

Dr. A.S. Desai :

Are you available for chat now?

Dr. A.S. Desai :

what are your visual symptoms presently?

Dr. A.S. Desai :

You are absolutely right about your observation of migraine that the symptoms invariably disappear within half an hour. If your present symptom is that of continuous headache then it may not be due to migraine . It could be due to another type of headache called tension headache. This is seen in cases of stress ( especially after the stress you must have had due to the hurricane) or fatigue. If you have symptoms of flashes of light only without headache, then it is better to get the eye examined by an ophthalmologist as continuous flashes of light are not suggestive of migraine. Flashes of light are otherwise seen in case of posterior vitreous detachment(PVD) or retinal detachment(RD). A detailed dilated eye exam can help to diagnose these conditions. Here is a note on PVD-

Dr. A.S. Desai :

In this condition the thick gel at the back of the eye( called vitreous) gets detached from its surrounding retina . This results in retinal traction which results in the symptom of flashes of light and includes color distortion. Flashes of light may not be prominent in some individuals. Once the vitreous gets detached completely , it may form clumps or strands and cause symptom of floaters such as dark spots, cobweb or thread like strands in the visual field.

More often it is not a serious issue and does not require any specific treatment. A routine retina examination needs to be done by an ophthalmologist just to check for the intactness of the retina and to look for any peripheral retinal tears or holes, which if found, can be sealed by lasers.

The only concern is that of a remote possibility of a retinal tear extending into a frank retinal detachment, which is characterised by symptoms of sudden increase of flashes or floaters and a curtain or veil falling in the field of vision. This requires urgent treatment by a retinal specialist. This is not a common feature and is more predisposed in myopic and diabetic individuals.

PVD can occur suddenly at anytime and is a diagnosis of exclusion and does not show any signs as such on eye examination. What you would need at this stage is a routine eye exam ( not an emergency) to look at the back of the eye. If PVD is confirmed then there is nothing much to be done. It would be best to ignore the floaters after that. Some floaters tend to drift out of visual field too.

Dr. A.S. Desai :

Please feel free to ask follow up questions if any.

Thank you and best wishes.

It was a pleasure to have answered this question.

Experts are credited only if a positive rating is given and not otherwise. So do remember to give your rating. A positive rating is what I aim for and we can continue to interact till you get a satisfactory response.A positive feedback and /or bonus are most welcome and appreciated.

Views expressed are for information purpose only and cannot substitute a visit to an ophthalmologist

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Problems with the internet since the storm. I had to reboot and missed the chance to chat. What I am experiencing is the usual visual migraine where you get a set of flashing lights that form a circular outline and epand in the visual field. However, these are not leaving, they stay to the 'right' side of m vision - seemingly in my right eye.

Hello Phyllis,

Sorry to know about the storm and its after effects. Hats off and kudos to you guys for having braved through the one of the worst storms ever in history.

As I have explained earlier, continuous flashes of light are unlikely to be due to migraine. There is a possibility of either PVD or RD. RD is more of a concern being an ocular emergency. It is seen in predisposed individuals such as high myopia ( short sightedness) or diabetic retinopathy. It is characterised by a sudden onset of flashes of light along with a sudden shower of floaters and foggy vision as if looking through a veil or curtain.If you do not have the above symptoms then the flashes are most likely to be due to PVD only.
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Please feel free to ask follow up questions if any.


Thank you and best wishes.


It was a pleasure to have answered this question.

Experts are credited only if a positive rating is given and not otherwise. So do remember to give your rating. A positive rating is what I aim for and we can continue to interact till you get a satisfactory response.A positive feedback and /or bonus are most welcome and appreciated.

Views expressed are for information purpose only and cannot substitute a visit to an ophthalmologist

Dr. A.S. Desai
Dr. A.S. Desai, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 2,438
Experience: MS Ophthalmology with 13 years of surgical expereince
Verified
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