We speak of visual disturbances when vYou notice a visual change which is not indicative of normal eye health. This term is most often used to talk about the symptoms that affect migraine sufferers, but it can apply to other scenarios.
The most common case of visual disturbances is usually not related to migraines. Floaters are bubbles or specks in your vision, and most people experience them at some point in their lives.
Although common, large floaters or their sudden appearance may be a sign of a more serious problem. Consult a doctor immediately for such problems, otherwise you risk going blind in the affected eye.
It exists a myriad of visual disturbances associated with migraines, although only 25 to 30 % of people who suffer from it feel them. They usually manifest for 10 to 30 minutes, and almost always for less than an hour. They usually precede a headache, but they can sometimes occur at the same time as it.
In some people, migraine symptoms progress with age, with headaches becoming less severe. At the age of 50, some people experience visual disturbances without feeling the slightest headache.
If you notice a sudden change in your vision, such as an increase in the severity, duration or symptoms of your visual disturbances, you should seek medical attention immediately. If your symptoms seem drastically different, you should be particularly concerned.
The symptoms of a stroke can sometimes be confused with those of a migraine. If you suffer from migraines, ask your doctor how tell the difference between a migraine and a stroke.
Symptoms such as numbness, confusion and difficulty walking are other signs of a stroke that go hand in hand with visual disturbances and headaches. If you or someone you know may have had a stroke, call 18.
Visual disturbances themselves are usually not serious, but you should always see a doctor if you don't have an explanation for them or if they seem serious. Once you understand what your visual disturbances look like and why, you will only need to see a doctor again if there is a change that you cannot explain.
A visual disturbance is a change in your vision that is not indicative of normal health and function. The term is most commonly associated with the disturbances seen in migraines, but they can also be a sign of more serious issues, such as a stroke.
It can be helpful, even potentially life-saving, to become familiar with the nature of visual disturbances. If you frequently suffer from migraines, this is doubly important, because theSymptoms of a stroke can be confused with those of normal migraine auras and other disturbances.
Floaters are drops and spots in your vision. They are the result of particles or impurities in the vitreous of your eye that cast shadows on the retina. Most people experience floaters at one time or another in their lives, and they are usually harmless.
Floaters in the eye
Floaters become more common with age, when the vitreous near the retina becomes more fluid and impurities can flow more freely. Although they are usually not serious, they can sometimes be the sign of an eye disease or condition serious. If you suddenly notice floaters, or if you notice a large one, see an optometrist as soon as possible.
There are two types of diplopia. The first is monocular, meaning it only affects one eye and you only see double when you open one eye. It can be caused by damage to the lens, the surface of the retina or the cornea.
The other type is binocular, which affects both eyes and causes misalignment of images. The causes are brain, nerve and muscle damage. Binocular diplopia is usually more serious than monocular diplopia.
Symptoms of diplopia include wandering or crossed gaze and pain accompanying eye movement or in the areas around it. Headaches, nausea, and droopy eyelids can also be symptoms of diplopia.
A doctor will make a diagnosis by performing a series of physical tests and taking note of your medical history. Treatment largely depends on the cause, and when there is no clear source, the situation can be serious. Treatment involves surgery and drugs, and approximately 70% of cases are managed in this way.
Disturbances caused by migraine
According to the American Migraine Foundation, 25 in 30% of migraine sufferers experience visual aura symptoms. It is important to note that these symptoms usually occur in both eyes.
This can be confusing because the problem may only appear on one side of your visual field, such as the right side. To do a test, you can close one eye, check for the presence of the disturbance, then do the same for the other eye. If you only see it in one eye, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
Here are some examples of visual disturbances that a migraine can cause:
- Photopsy : is when you see flashes of light, like a bright light bulb flickering in your vision.
Spike/Teichopsia spectra: These are bright, jagged, flickering lines. They vaguely resemble battlements or fortifications, hence their name.
- Metamorphopsia/Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (SADM) : these are images that distort in shape, size and/or color, producing an often bizarre visual effect that some say is reminiscent of the work of Lewis Carroll.
- Scotoma/partial loss of vision : This effect is characterized by spots in the field of vision or a tunnel vision effect.
- Amaurosis fugax : more often due to a decrease in blood flow due to a narrowing of the carotid artery, this effect can nevertheless occur in migraine. It presents as loss of vision spreading up and down, much like a shadow being drawn.
Symptoms of migraine disorders can be classified into three groups.
- Positive symptoms : these are visual disturbances where we see something that is not there.
- Negative symptoms : they are the opposite of positive symptoms, i.e. you have blind spots in your vision.
- Distorted or altered visual symptoms : This category of symptoms includes many symptoms associated with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Your vision is distorted or strange, such as colors or sizes are wrong, or you feel like you are looking through water, heat waves, or other phenomena.
In the case of migraines, any visual disturbances usually occur for 10 to 30 minutes and rarely last longer than an hour. They usually precede the headache, but they can also occur during it.
Your migraine experience may change as you age. Around age 50 or older, some people may experience migraine-related visual symptoms, but not an actual headache.
Treatment of disturbances caused by migraine
If you suffer from migraines accompanied by visual disturbances, you should consult immediately as they are often a sign of an underlying condition. There is no specific treatment for visual disturbances caused by migraine, as they vary from case to case, and any treatment aims to treat both the migraine and the underlying condition. Treatment options include:
- beta-blockers to dilate blood vessels to and from the eye.
- Medication prescription to manage symptoms of seizures
localized paralyzers to calm nervous spasms
- calcium channel blockers to prevent constriction of blood vessels.
lifestyle changes to manage stress and reduce inflammation, including hydrating and eliminating alcohol and caffeine.
- The underlying factor in all of these conditions is the need for urgent medical attention. If you have new or persistent symptoms, early diagnosis may be your only chance for effective treatment.