Author Topic: Scintillating scotoma  (Read 3676 times)

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Offline Zabulon

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Scintillating scotoma
« on: May 05, 2012, 06:46:16 AM »
For ten years or so, I have had sporadic, short vision impairments. I only recently discovered what it probably is: Acephalgic migraine / scintillating scotoma. The first time I experienced it, I got pretty frightened. I was lying on the couch watching TV with my then-girlfriend when I suddenly realized I couldn't see what was happening on the TV. I turned my head and looked at her and realized I couldn't see her face even though I looked straight at her. It was really strange - it wasn't like it was a black hole where her head was supposed to be or anything, it was just that I couldn't make out any details in her face. It was just an undefinable blob of static. I freaked out a bit and went to the bathroom and stood there for a while. The blind spot seemed to dissipate, and I went back to my girlfriend and everything was back to normal, except for an ever-so-slight headache.

A few years later I went to a friend of mine to play around with his new Nintendo, when I realized my right peripheral vision was fading. Freaked a bit out again, but it came back when I walked home - also again with a slight headache and drowsiness.

The more recent experiences I've had, have had the scintillating fields more prominent, but also combined with areas of temporary blindness. Last one happened yesterday while I was having a chat with my boss. At first it looks like a sparkling blob / streak of rainbow colors, then it extends and brings with it an expanding field of blindness. It usually lasts for 30 minutes or less, and leaves me a bit light headed and maybe with a slight headache.

This video is pretty close to a typical episode for me:



I average on about one per year (although I've had three these last two months, I suspect due to social stress). The shape of the scintillating field varies from time to time.

I'm glad I found out what it is and that it's harmless, because it is quite scary. And I'm very glad I've dodged the debilitating headaches so far. Anyone else on here have these?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 07:54:03 AM by Zabulon »
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Scintillating scotoma
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 07:48:47 AM »
Yep. I get these from time to time. Used to be they would precede pretty severe headaches, but these days they gradually dissipate with no aftereffects.

They're a real pain when you're driving.
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Offline Zabulon

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Re: Scintillating scotoma
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012, 07:53:42 AM »
I can imagine! Fortunately  I haven't had them while being behind the wheel or doing anything that requires full attention or concentration. For me, it's nearly impossible to concentrate on anything until it dissipates. Would be dangerous to do anything else but pull over and stop if I got one while driving.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 07:56:48 AM by Zabulon »
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Offline Karyn

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Re: Scintillating scotoma
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 11:11:08 AM »
I remember the first time I had one of these.  I was sitting in physics class, and my teacher's head disappeared.  He asked me a question and I had no idea what he was asking me, and I just stared at him blankly.  My language skills go right out the window when I migraine really bad.  After I left class, I went immediately to the hospital on campus.  They put me in a room, where I promptly sat in a corner and faced the wall.  It was amazingly bright in there.  As soon as the doctor walked in, I said 'I think I'm having an aneurism!"  He just laughed at me and told me it was a migraine.  Apparently he'd heard that one before.  I got out of there with some imitrex, and oddly a prescription for cystic acne that I still take.  This was 15 years ago.  I was realizing I wasn't very good at astrophysics and had just discovered my fiance was cheating on me with my best friend.  I was also getting about 4 hours of sleep a day.  I get a lot more migraines these days, now mostly due to hormones since my life is pretty stressless.  However, I don't tend to get the auras and blind spots, just pain and loss of language.

Offline Ouwie

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Re: Scintillating scotoma
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 04:20:33 AM »
I have those too.  My doctors don't seem to be the least bit concerned.  They are a bit dangerous when you are driving and can't get off the highway quickly or when feeding someone with a disability and suddenly realize you could easily stick a fork in the persons eye instead of their mouth.  Otherwise, I find them to just be annoying.  I've had days where I've had one after another almost all day long, but usually I can go 3-6 months before they show up again.  Sometimes I get a bit klutzier and woozy afterwards, but it's usually not too bad.  What is annoying is that most people haven't heard of them, so when you tell them you have a migraine, they just don't get that you don't have a headache and that you really can't read through a blind spot and do they mind moving to somewhere that you can see (which changes) if they insist you be able to see them.... 

If you can go somewhere, close your eyes and enjoy the light show until it's over, they tend not to be so bad.  Everyone experiences them a bit differently and each episode can vary a bit, but if you don't get serious headaches with them, count yourself lucky.  I'd mention it to your GP next time you are there, just so that they know though.

Offline TheLostVertex

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Re: Scintillating scotoma
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2012, 11:31:37 AM »
I have had scintillatin scotoma too, as well as very bad migraines. But for me I had both migraines and migraine aura with out headaches, which was weird. Unlike most people, when I got an aura it usually presented by its self and lasted for a long time. Which left me partially blind, dizzy with balance problems, and some what sick feeling. This would last for about a day or two before I developed a migraine that would last for days on end. I would lay in a pitch black room and all there was was a little green LED on the cable box, when I looked at it it felt like I was staring at the sun.

I dont get any vision or aura problems now. I still get migraines but they arent the deathly painful ones I use to get. The best thing for me too do is whe I start feeling tired and like I have a migraine coming it just to lay down and rest. I hate naps, but they seem to be the most effective treatment for me. I have tried many abortitives like sumatriptane and its relatives and they do not help. They seem to help most other people though.

  What is annoying is that most people haven't heard of them, so when you tell them you have a migraine, they just don't get that you don't have a headache and that you really can't read through a blind spot and do they mind moving to somewhere that you can see (which changes) if they insist you be able to see them.... 

Yeah, I have experienced that as well, hehe. "Ive had a headache too man, whats the big deal?" Oh well. Common vocabulary sort of taints peoples views I think. That and lack of experience. I guess we could always put them on a small boat in 30 foot seas, shoot lasers in their eyes, and give them blood pressure medication to induce a headache.  >:D

Offline Ouwie

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Re: Scintillating scotoma
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2012, 02:56:07 PM »
Peachy.  I just had one.  I looked it up and the last one was in early March.  The back of my eyes feel raw right now.  Ugh!

 

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