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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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My dad is experiencing sudden loss of peripheral vision and

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My dad is experiencing sudden loss of peripheral vision and shimmering in both eyes, which is going away a little. He has a difficult time seeing about 5 feet away from him and his vision isn't perfect right in front of him. He also has headache in his neck and base of skull. It is also a little bit in his sinuses and in his temples. He experienced this yesterday and it went away but is back now. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Is he having any weakness, numbness, difficulty walking, talking, swallowing or change in consciousness?


Doctor DanB : Did the vision changes start prior to the headache starting?

He's able to see far distances now. He's able to now read things about 12 feet away. He can read the title on a spine of a book, which he couldn't just a few minutes ago.


He doesn't know. He thinks right around the same time. He wasn't aware of it before the vision


Yesterday it was after a work out but today he wasn't exercising but it was after a fight with his mother on the telephone.

Doctor DanB : Was any of this associated with nausea, or bright light or loud noise sensitivity?

No but yesterday bright lights intensified it when he went into a supermarket with bright lights.

Doctor DanB : Did he completely lose vision in either eye for a time? Complete blackout?



Now he's able to walk around but has a slight headache on his left side. His vision feels pretty normal now.

Doctor DanB : Okay. Thanks for answering those questions. He is very likely having a migraine. Let me elaborate...
Doctor DanB : 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.
Doctor DanB : However, I would recommend he see his ophthalmologist as soon as possible to make sure there aren't any other (much less likely) causes of his symptoms. Does this make sense?

Yes. That does make sense. He has glacoma and he goes to the doctor once every 3 months. Your answer sounds right on though. Thanks.

Doctor DanB : My pleasure. Do you have any other questions about this?

No. Thanks!

Doctor DanB : 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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