Known Johnson

March 14, 2006

Visual migraine . . . visually

Filed under: General,Migraine — Tom @ 4:27 pm

Today on the way to work I experienced something I’ve worried about for a long time – a visual migraine while I was driving. For those who don’t know, I occasionally get migraines, and lately (the past few years) they have either been accompanied by or have solely consisted of what is known as a “visual migraine.” This is a result of blood vessels in the visual part of the brain suddenly spasming, causing bloodflow changes in the region and, hence, visual weirdities. I was most concerned about this because it does impair my vision and, when on the road, this could be a serious problem.

Stuck in the middle of heavy traffic this morning, I suddenly saw the tell-tale flickering, like a non-existent light flashing on and off quickly right in the center of my vision. Within a few minutes it expanded and grew to encircle my vision, leaving a disorienting open area in the middle of my vision while blurring out the lower right. Too far from home to turn around, I decided to press on, doing my best to pay very close attention to what was going on around me.

For years I’ve attempted to describe the sensation, but it’s almost impossible to really get across how disorienting it is. Today, however, I finally figured out a good way to do so: Flash. Below you’ll see a pretty accurate animation of what happens. The timeline is obviously shortened, so imagine this happening over a half-hour time span. This is very similar, but still not quite as strange as what I see in my head (nothing is happening in my eyes – this is all deep in the brain. Oh, except for the “start over” button. That doesn’t really pop up in reality.)

Freaky, huh?

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585 Comments »

  1. Wow…that’s actually happened to me a few times, but the last time it happened was about seven years ago. Mine were never accompanied by an actual migraine, though. It was just the vision thing. I don’t know what brought it on, but I’m glad…knock on wood…it hasn’t happened again.

    Comment by Chris — March 15, 2006 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  2. Migraines run in my family, and my mom used to get nearly crippling ones quite often. She’s made a lot of changes in her diet and things have calmed down quite a bit. I can’t find any particular triggers for mine, but I’m sure that being very tired doesn’t help. I seem to get migraines 2 or 3 times a month now, but I’m so used to them that I just file them under “headache” and deal with it as such, which does no good, of course. Yesterday’s visual one re-alerted me to the fact that this is something I should be talking to a doctor about, maybe they can give me one of the new drugs that helps fight these things off, or at least deadens it a bit.

    Comment by Tom — March 15, 2006 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  3. OMG… this is EXACTLY what happens to me. I eperience it on a rather frequent basis. They used to always be accompanied with the standard migraine shut-off-the-lights pain, but I’ve since learned that I can does up with excedrine right when the visual part starts and I can then avoid the headache. I’ve often tried to explain it. Usually went something like “think of television snow (no signal). No colorize it. Now it starts as a little dot in the middle of your vision and the gets bigger in the shape of a “C” until it final moves out of my line of vision and disappears.” My head starts hurting while watching the animation but I can’t stop looking because it is EXACTLY what happens to me. I’ve got to share with others!!!

    Comment by Stu D. — March 15, 2006 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  4. My co-worker, Martha, said that she gets these from time to time (and always has), but has never experienced any sort of pain with them. Weird.

    Comment by Bekah — March 15, 2006 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  5. Stu – I’m glad to have been able to provide something to explain the phenomena. I think people who have never experienced them think I’m crazy when I try to describe it. I’d prefer to not have been able to reproduce because of never having experienced one, but them’s the breaks!

    Bekah – it’s just as likely to be accompanied by pain as not. This was the first in a long time to happen simultaneously. I’ll usually have the visual aspect and when it’s gone I may have what I refer to as a “migraine hangover” for a while, but it’s just the remnants of a migraine rather than a full-blown migraine. Sometimes I just get the visual thing, but when it comes by itself, it’s usually really, really bad and lasts longer than the one on Tuesday did. Great trade-off there. But every time, afterwards, I feel exhausted, like my brain has been overworking itself and needs to sleep, but I’m not actually tired. It’s very confusing, I know.

    Comment by Tom — March 16, 2006 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  6. Wow, I am just learning about visual migraines and it’s very interesting and reassuring to see that there are others out there with experiences similar to mine.

    I experienced my first visual migraine last week and I didn’t know what was happening, other than I couldn’t see very well out of my left eye because of a visual disturbance in the shape of “C” with zig-zag, television test pattern-like motions within the shape. As it got larger, I lost some peripheral vision (which is when I got freaked out). Luckily, I was at home when it happened. Turns out that my dad has a history of visual migraine, which I didn’t know up until now. We figure that we’re just “hard-wired” the same.

    My dad also mentioned that his lip gets numb around the time that the visual migraine occurs. Oddly enough, I noticed that I experienced short periods where my upper lip felt “twitchy” and momentarily numb, right around the time that I had the visual migraine. Has anyone else experienced this, too?

    Comment by RK — April 1, 2006 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  7. Hi Tom, this is one of the best animations of visual migraine aura I have seen. I am a migraine researcher working at the University Clinic Aachen and I am running a website about migraine aura, including many illustrations )some animated as well) of visual auras. I would love to include your text and your animation on our website, if you would permit it. Please e-mail me at kpodoll@ukaachen.de . Kind regards, KP

    Comment by Klaus P — April 2, 2006 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  8. You describe quite well my own experience, which I first noticed about 40 years ago in Guatemala when I was taking some tablets that I got at the local drugstore for diarrhea, called enteroviaforma. This drug was later banned in the U.S. (My understanding is that it was banned because it affected the nervous system unfavorably.) At this same time — I was about 40 — I noticed that my vision was affected. Not only my focusing became impaired but I also had what I eventually found out was visual migraine. I still have it from time to time, perhaps about once a month. I have found that it takes 20 minutes to run its course, plus or minus 30 seconds. I think it may be associated with mental stress.

    Comment by Clyde Hostetter — April 5, 2006 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  9. WOW – I just finished with “the flashing C” – and decided to read up a little more on visual migraines. You have all perfectly described what happens to me from time to time. I have never had a bad headache afterwards, just pressure on my forehead.

    I have experienced these visual migraines for 30 years or so. Like each of you have commented, the shimmering is usually gone within 20 minutes or sor. Mine have occurred in random places, random situations. I have had several in the car over the years, on the way to work.

    I do know what brought my visual migraine on tonight and thought I would share with you. I play EverQuest 2 online. My character was in a group fighting monsters in a darkened area with lots of bright lights going off from spells. I saw the tiny shimmer start in my eye and knew what was coming, so I left the game.

    Even though I have been playing these online games for 6 years with no problems, I am using a new laptop with incredible graphics. This is the second time this has happened in the past month … so there is obviously a connection. Now I will turn off all special effects in the game and see if that resolves it.

    Comment by Nancy Paarker — April 7, 2006 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

  10. […] The clock reported a little before 6, so I figured I’d probably be safe to drive – the visual migraine rarely lasts too long, generally 20 minutes or so – so I waited it out, ate my cereal, and examined the shapes. This was a different one – not the “scintillation” I reported before but a single, constant spot of extreme brightness when I blinked, and at other times just a general area of missing data, as if something had obscured a camera lens. It was located right in the center of my vision, and reminded me of the afterimage you get after staring at a bare lightbulb. It changed shape slightly – from a tiny ice cream cone to a big-eared bunny head (appropriate given the proximity to Easter) to an oblong shape. It’s impossible to report a size – it was small, but I can’t say it was an eight of an inch or something because that depends entirely on where you hold the ruler. Imagine the headlights of an oncoming car a hundred, maybe two hundred feet away. Small – and yet so distracting. […]

    Pingback by Known Johnson | transitional internet concern » Blog Archive » This is where the sun stabbed me — April 18, 2006 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

  11. […] Well, today I got a chance to try out my prescription for my migraines, Fiorgen. I woke up at usual time and surprise! – way up, almost at the edges of my vision, was an aura of a visual migraine. I must have woken up well into it, to the point that it was nearly over, but it really made an interesting point to me – maybe the visual component doesn’t actually go away, it just “moves” in the brain to the point that it can’t be visualized. This is a tough one to conceptualize, so just go with me on it. It made me realize that, had I woken up a little while later, I might not have seen it at all and would only have a groggy feeling to indicate anything was going on – something I probably would not have immediately taken for a migraine. But I certainly felt it within a half-hour or so of the aura going away. […]

    Pingback by Known Johnson | transitional internet concern » Blog Archive » Brain pain (it’s a drain) — May 3, 2006 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

  12. I have experienced what I now believe to be visual migraines for 50 years. My episodes start with an unmistakeable feeling that it’s coming and then my heart starts beating fast and my vision is blurred around the edges of my vision and I am unable to focus. There is also a disconnect between speech and thought. I might think of a word – shirt – and it makes no sense to me. I immediately take two aspirin and it’s gone in 18 minutes. It’s frightening and I always time the episodes because I’m afraid that maybe it won’t go away this time. I sometimes experience nausea and my head feels bruised afterwards, but no real pain.

    Comment by Theresa — May 19, 2006 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  13. I am SO GLAD that I found your animation. That is exactly what happened to me late yesterday. I went to the emergency room last night, thinking I might be having symptoms of retinal detachment. The attending physician sent me home because I no longer had symptoms but told me that whatever it was that it was unlikely to be a detached retina. He mentioned that he phoned a specialist who said it probably wasn’t retinal detachment but could be a visual migraine. Of couse I was unhappy because I didn’t have a full-blown opthamologic examination to rule out detached retina. Now that I see your animation, I am quite confident it is indeed a pain-free visual migraine. Today, however, my sinuses are quite plugged and I’ve got that stuffed up and slightly groggy feeling of having had a few drinks. But, no drinking involved.

    I hope you don’t mind me taking a screenshot of the animation to bring to my physician. I don’t think they believed my description of “a circle with chromatic aberration at the edges, like a rainbow or prism effect.”

    Although I am relieved my retina isn’t detaching, I’m not sure I’m thrilled about vascular disturbances in my brain. I use it a lot and am quite protective of it. 🙂

    Many thanks for the posting!!!!

    Comment by BL — May 20, 2006 @ 8:40 am | Reply

  14. […] It’s hard to describe the confusion when you “see” something so vivid and strange even when your eyes are closed, in the middle of the night. I wasn’t so much scared as amazed – it’s really quite beautiful in way, and I knew this had to be some new migraine aura that I’ve never encountered before. It probably shifted from the typical scintillating kind of visual migraine symptoms I’ve shown you before. There was no pain – it was just brilliant colors and shapes filling my field of vision. The spiral shapes you see above were undulating, fading in and out a bit, almost as if the whole thing was underwater. I didn’t let myself contemplate this too long – I knew I only had a small window in which to take my abortive medicine (Maxalt) so I had to act quickly. […]

    Pingback by Known Johnson | gracefully sleeping forward » Blog Archive » Aura 5/30 — June 2, 2006 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  15. […] As I was driving back, I noticed a bright spot in the lower right area of my vision and, thinking it was from the chrome, didn’t think much of it . . . until I was at a stop light and I was looking at the black of the dashboard and saw it. There, very faintly, way down in the very, very corner at the edge of my vision, was the beginning of a typical migraine aura that I’ve documented before. I fought with myself back and forth, half the time insisting that I was wrong, that it was not an aura, that it was just a reflection of something I couldn’t locate the source of, because I’ve been good for weeks now, really, really good – I’ve eaten so well, I’ve slept so well, I’ve been so careful to remain as stress-free and calm as possible, I’ve stayed away from what I think are triggers. It is not fair that all of a sudden, out of the blue, for no goddamned reason I’m getting another migraine. Yet I was. […]

    Pingback by Known Johnson | wakeup bright sleepers » Blog Archive » Don’t speak too soon — June 11, 2006 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  16. Thank You !
    I have been having this exact aberration for several hours, and
    had neurotically assumed I was having a stroke or something. As my vision has been clearing (only my right eye works anyway – old injury)
    I took a chance on google, and found your page.
    I have an appointment with my MD on Friday.

    I will direct him to your site..the flash simulation
    makes all the difference !!

    Joe

    Comment by Joe — June 12, 2006 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  17. I just had one – which is why I was looking for information on the internet. They usually happen when a bright light is shining in my eyes — either a lamp or an overhead light if I’m lying on my back in the gym. Mine are more zig-zaggy – like lightning. I told my husband’s eye surgeon about them, and she says there’s nothing to worry about, as long as I have no pain. Her take on it was to relax and enjoy the “light show”.

    Comment by Ceil Adair — June 12, 2006 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  18. Mine are brought on by bright light and my vision becomes blurry–things are out of focus. If I close my eyes I see a bright silver or whitish zig-zag. I lie down and keep my eyes closed until the zig-zag disappears. Then when I open my eyes I can see again. It usually lasts 20 tp 30 minutes and is very frightening every time. I always think I’m going blind. The opthomologist called it a migraine symdrom.

    Comment by Susan — June 21, 2006 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  19. I HAVE HAD VISUAL MIGRAINS SINCE 1984 AND THEY ARE INDEED VERY SCARY AND THE ONLY WAY I COULD DESCRIBE THEM WAS LIKE LOOKING THROUGH A BROKEN MIRROR, AT THE TIME I HAD MY FIRST ONE THE DOCTOR GAVE ME ALL KINDS OF TESTS AND COULD FIND NOTHING WRONG AND AT THAT TIME THEY WASN’T AS OFTEN AS THEY HAVE BECOME LATELY BUT I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A NERVOUS PERSON AND AT A VERY YOUNG AGE STARTED WITH PANIC ATTACKS EVEN BEFORE THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WHERE. I HAVE BEEN UNDER A LOT OF STRESS LATELY AND THE VISUAL MIGRAINES HAVE INCREASED, MY GRANDDAUGHTER DECIDED TO LOOK ON THE INTERNET AND FOUND YOUR SITE, ITS A RELIEF TO KNOW THERE IS OTHERS THAT ARE EXPERIENCING THE SAME THING, NOT THAT ITS A GOOD THING. MY VISUALS ARE THE LIGHTENING ZIG ZAG AND LAST 30 TO 40 MINUTES, I STILL FEEL SCARED WHEN I GET THEM BECAUSE YOU IMAGINE ALL SORTS OF TERRIBLE THINGS THAT CAN BE WRONG. I DO BELIEVE STRESS IS A MAJOR FACTOR FOR THE VISUAL MIGRAINS. I THANK YOU FOR THIS PAGE AS I AM SURE OTHERS DO AS WELL.

    Comment by MARY SULEMAN — June 27, 2006 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  20. Great illustration. I have these every few months. They used to be quite scary, when I didn’t know what they were. I thought I’d lose consciousness. They seemed to happen quite often during my commute to work when I was pregnant– terrifying. Now that I know what they are, I don’t stress and they go away more quickly. I never have a headache associated with these (although I do get severe headaches at other times). The only thing that differs with my occular migraines is that the vibrating field is not in color, it’s black, white, and grey. Very interesting…

    Comment by Speechmama — July 1, 2006 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

  21. This is awesome. trying to explain to someone what it is that you see like this is impossible – this is the best simulation I have found. now my husband can really understand what it looks like. my visuals start usually at the top left side of my visual field. I’ve had these for about 10yrs off and on. I believe my migraines to be steming from menopause. they used to really freak me out – now I just find them annoying and disrrupting my life – I only get worried now if it occurs while I’m on the highway. I never have a headache – just feel like I’ve had a headache along with eye strain and fatigue. I take 2 advil migraine when it starts – drink coffee and I’m good to go.

    Comment by SHERRY — July 16, 2006 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  22. I was very glad to find this site. A little last night and early this morning, I saw something like the animated show in my left eye. It was bouncing up and down and moving across, in a shape like a bar with lines in it. It wasn’t really in color, though, just shiny and black and white. I didn’t get a headache after it, although my eye started watering like crazy, and then the other eye started watering. Then I felt a dull headached behind my eyes. I have been getting cluster headaches (part of the migraine family) for about 3 or 4 years now, and the watering of the eyes is a big part of that whole thing. But I didn’t get a cluster headache since this visual thing today…not yet at least. I just had an annual eye exam last Friday and was given a clean bill of health, so it’s not an eye thing. I’ve heard the cluster headaches are related to migraine headaches, and I found somehting on the net that said cluster headache sufferers may also get these visual auras. This whole thing was news to me.

    Comment by Christie — July 27, 2006 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  23. I just stumbled across this. Great illustration — now I can show people what it was like. I just had my first visual migraine last night. Fortunately, my brother had one a few years back, and described it to me, so I knew exactly what was going on. Otherwise I would have assumed “stroke”! I blogged about it while it was happening on the above link.

    Thanks again for the awesome Flash work!

    Comment by Mark — July 27, 2006 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  24. Hello, Came across this looking for Migraine visuals, I could not actually bear to watch it because i felt it triggering an attack as i looked. Very realistic. I get an odd sensation when it stops. Although I only get a dull long time headache I feel like everything around me is unfamiliar and unreal.
    Elise

    Comment by Elise — August 2, 2006 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  25. Hello everybody,

    I can relate to that feeling of “am I going crazy” that these auras bring on. I had suffered a sudden, severe bout of iritis — the pigment of the iris just debonding and floating around in the eye like heavy overcast — which caused a complete loss of vision in one eye and partial in the other in a period of about a half hour (heart attack, I thought!!). Doctors at Walter Reed utterly amazed when it went away on its own in a day. Years later, some fluttery, zigzag disturbances show up — not prismatic flashes, but more like looking through rippling glass. They last maybe 30 minutes. Yesterday, in the midst of such an attack, I walked into a walk-in freezer, stood there for two minutes… they stopped!

    I’ve been diagnosed with visual migraines for about two years now, and tat least mine don’t seem to have headaches associated with them. It’s reassuring to hear that “nothing needs fixing”.

    It might be interesting to try to gather data on this — who has these conditions, vision / acuity issues, age, health, occupation, avocations, gender, etc., and see if anything appears besides zigzagging prismatic flashes… anyone game?

    cheers,
    mike

    Comment by Mike — August 6, 2006 @ 5:12 am | Reply

  26. Thanks for the fine work. I had chronic debilitating migraine headaches when I was a kid, and much less frequent as an adult. But a few years ago was the first time I started having these visual things. I shrugged them off until one was so bad that I had no vision in my right eye. A trip to the eye doctor ended with a pamphlet on what he called “retinal migraines.” Mine are more of a zig-zag pattern than what you show but the neon flashing colors and expanding pattern are dead on.

    Comment by Jeff S. — August 9, 2006 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  27. I’ve been having what I later discovered are visual migraines on and off for about 25 years now. Just had my lastest one this morning. I always see a zig zag pattern toward the right side of my field of vision, sometimes it is just white, other times brilliant colors. I also lose some of my vision. Fortunately the one this morning ended pretty quickly with no other side effects. Over the years I’ve had instances where I get numbness in the roof of my mouth, then it can move to my lip, then a finger, sometimes my arm. It is very random and very scary! Afterwards I always feel kind of tired and have a slight headache, which is how I feel now. The animation done here is very good and realistic but hard for me to watch as it makes me feel like I am going to get another aura. I am definitely going to show it to family members (especially my husband) who tend to think I am some kind of a nut job whenever I get these visual migraines! And it is so comforting to read these other messages and finally realize that I am not the only one experiencing the wonderful world of visual migraines.

    Comment by Donna — August 18, 2006 @ 6:50 am | Reply

  28. I just came from the opthamologist who diagnosed visual migraine. Have also had these for years, probably every couple of months. Just can’t focus during them – wavy light but no color. Glad it’s not a stroke!

    Comment by Marcia — September 26, 2006 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  29. Like most of you, I just came from the doc who is sending me to a neurologist about these visual migraines. Mine too is the zig-zag silver/white lines. They are definately triggered by flashes of light. The first time I was just a kid, maybe 12 years old, swinging on a rope over the lake on a sunny day. I came out of the water not able to speak. It didn’t happen again until my twenties. I’m now 42 and have had one almost every day for the past 2 weeks. I’m blaming it on the position of the sun. Extra-Strength Exedrine usually makes them stop. If I don’t get the exedrine in time I get the numbness of the lips, gums, tongue and then my pinky fingers. I’m guessing anyone who has done something to end these things isn’t looking at this blog but I would sure like to find the magic bullet.

    Comment by Anne — October 5, 2006 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  30. I also am having visual migraines now. I was relieved to find sites where people were discribing what I was seeing. I was wondering if anyone else also has glaucoma?

    Comment by bonnie — October 9, 2006 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  31. Wow thanks for all your stories guys. The internet can be so reassuring at times!

    I am having an attack right now (well it’s cleared a little otherwise I wouldn’t be able to see to type this). I had one or two in the last 18 months but pretty lucky really.

    I have hypoglycaemia and although I am not sure I am trying to work out if it is in any way related to my blood sugar dropping. I know it was low before I got this current attack – I was STARVING hungry and had eaten a few sweets on an empty stomach (bad bad). However, I’ve felt hypoglycaemic before without this visual stuff.

    The first time I experienced this I was terrified and went home sick from work and went to get checked out at A&E (I was thinking stroke like some of you guys). They suggested migraines. I had never heard of visual only migraines before and I never thought I’d get such a thing.

    My personality is such that I exhaust myself mentally – I fret and analyse a lot and I am always planning things and getting stressed. I used to drink heavily for years but I gave that up a few years ago (38 years old now). Ironically, I feel I’ve had more health problems and anxiety since giving up. I guess it really the fact that I am no longer masking things.

    Anyway best wishes to everyone who is troubled by these and thanks agian for your input. It really helps to know you are out there.

    Comment by Krista — November 14, 2006 @ 6:38 am | Reply

  32. This is all very accurate & everyone has similar experiences. I had these visual migrains about 20 yrs. ago which mysteriously wemt away but have since returned. They were preceded by neck muscle aches for about 2 months, then some mild surface pain near the left temple area and then the visual migrains began.
    They begin with a few points of light in the center of my field of vision, pulsing in sync with my heart beat. The aura then expands & moves off to the periferal area & dissapears within 30 – 60 miutes. I do experience some feeling of ‘dissasociation’ with reality afterwards depending on the severity of the episode. As of late, I am also experiencing, what I call, floating ‘ghost immages’ in the left periferal field of vision which come & go.
    I believe the problem occurrs when the optic nerve is stimulated possibly by a blood vessel (???… hense the pulsing) and the floating immages I experience now may be due to an irritation of the optic nerve or an inflamation of the optic nerve.
    I am not a doctor but, there seems to be one common denominator surrounding every episode: Fatigue & stress. I have never had the chance to monitor my blood pressure when an event occurs but I’ll bet it spikes!
    Question is: How do you cure this problem?

    Comment by J. Biggers — November 29, 2006 @ 6:03 am | Reply

  33. I was taking polaroid pictures of Santa with pets today at Petsmart. 4 hours into it and probably 70 flashs of the camera flash later, I began to experience the exact thing in your animation. I described it to my friend like this:

    You know those advertising triangle flag banner streamers that you see at used car lots? Well that is what it looks like except the flags are like sparkly colored Christmas tinsel. It started low in my right field of periphrial vision and angled up to the left field of vision then circled around to the center field of vision. Like a number 6 laying face down. It continued for 30 minutes.

    I had never experienced this before and became concern. My friend who happens to be a nurse said it sounded like a migraine. I never experienced any pain after this episode.

    I too was happy to find this sight because I was worried it was a detached retina. Thank you for the excellent animation.

    Comment by Andrea — December 2, 2006 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  34. In addition to the above:

    Mikes asks on Aug 6 2006: It might be interesting to try to gather data on this — who has these conditions, vision / acuity issues, age, health, occupation, avocations, gender, etc., and see if anything appears besides zigzagging prismatic flashes… anyone game?

    Here is my data: age 44 F, great blood pressure, not overweight, not diabetic. In overall good health. Occupation, not related to eye problem…Pet sitter. I am supposed to wear glasses but usually I only wear them for reading. I was taking pictures with a flash camera for four hours before episode.

    Oh I also described the triangles(zig zags) like fast ripples in pond reflection or mirror.

    Comment by Andrea — December 2, 2006 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  35. Thank you so, so much! I have experienced visual migraines for several years now (I am in my early thirties) and could never explain to others what they were like. Before I knew what they were, a visual migraine was quite a frightening experience because I wasn’t sure if the disorientation would go away. I still find them annoying and bit worrisome but I get through them ok and thankfully they don’t happen that often. Your illustration is almost EXACTLY what I experience and I’m grateful to have something I can show to family and friends to help them understand what it “looks” like. I have noticed that before the visual effects show up I experience stiffness or pain in my neck, a huge drop in my energy level, and my eyelids start to feel heavy and droop, as if I am utterly exhausted, even if I am well-rested. Stress seems to be a factor.

    Funny coincidence: I happen to be in the beginning stages of one right now (typing and reading are becoming more difficult by the minute) and only found this since I decided to Google VMs.

    Comment by Julie — December 3, 2006 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  36. When I was younger I used to suffer from migraines quite often, with visual floaters and specs. As I got older the headaches usually only come now at the time of menstration. This morning I was driving to work in the dark when all of a sudden the oncoming car lights, the tail lights ahead of me and the street lights all became really bright and streaky. From all sides & front I could see the lights origin, but also saw a complete streak (line). The overhead freeway lights followed, and were bent sideways – the oncoming and forward lights were straight ahead. I thought maybe it was cataracts at first, but this wasn’t a halo but complete streaks of light. It went away once I got to work and went inside — I did feel a migraine coming though since yesterday — took some more meds this morning and it’s there but it’s stopped. Eyes somewhat blurry. Have an appointment with opthamologist tomorrow.. ??

    Comment by Karen — December 21, 2006 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  37. Wow! Was I glad to find this site! I have been a full-blown I want to die now migraine headache sufferer for 35 years. Massive headaches, nausea, uncontrollable vomiting. Visual and auditory hypersensitivity. Nice. Yesterday was Christmas. I was in the kitchen when I was seeing what I thought were floaters at first. (You know the ones – the kind you get when you stare at the snow too long on a sunny day) Rubbed my eyes, and didn’t go away. My left eye became a light show! Went into the living room to say something to my family – the Christmas tree lights were on and were dancing and rippling in the peripheral of my eye. Went into the bathroom – seems like my brain was “remembering” the lights and they wouldn’t go away. if it wasn’t so scary, it would have been a beautiful show. This continued for about 20 minutes (I had since taken some advil and was waiting). Was scared silly – so first thing this morning, googling my symptoms brought me to this site. Thank you all for taking the terror away. I was imagining all kinds of things – stroke, cancer (did you know this kind of thing can be associated with hip cancer and a few others?)

    Comment by Lenore — December 26, 2006 @ 6:43 am | Reply

  38. It is great to see so many other people who get visual migraines (well you know what I mean). I have got them on and off for the last 20 years, but have had 2 in the last month and both have gone into full blown headache migranes. I find that when the visual part begins if I can lay down and close my eyes until it goes away I will not get the headache. This is not always possible depending on where I am when the visual migraine starts.

    I have not found any patterns to their occurrence and otherwise have no health problems at all.

    At least I know I am not alone…

    Comment by Ellen — January 4, 2007 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

  39. I just wanted to pass this on to others, every morning I take three magnesium tablets. Each is 250 mg. I seem to remember reading somewhere that this would help the visual type. Since I have been doing this I seldom have one, but if I do, I can say that I have been upset over something.

    Comment by bonnie — January 7, 2007 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  40. Hello,

    I have not been officially diagnosed with visual migraines… but I plan to see a doctor soon! They are almost always brought on by a bright light, especially a flash of light! But sometimes come out of nowhere! They are VERY scary, and since I’ve done some research… I am rather worried about the increased risk of stroke! Especially since my husband and I are trying to get pregnant.

    A lot of what I’ve read here, is exactly what happens to me! I have always had headaches, ever since a small child. It wasn’t until I was maybe 17… I was laying on the couch and all of a sudden I got a horrible pain through my head, then my vision went flashy and then I couldn’t see more then just blurred images. I tried to call 911 but I could hardly stand up and I couldn’t see the buttons on the phone! I sat back down and eventually it went away!

    I have not had an episode like that since, I am now 29. I get maybe 4-5 “migraines” a month, they usually come on with a brief white flash in the center of my vision (usually the left eye) and then expand all through the eye it which it started, and then spreads into the other. They last anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. I get black blind spots in the center of my vision, strobe light flashes around the edges of my eyes and sometimes through the center of my eyes! The pain isn’t always bad, sometimes there is none at all. Other times I get a 1 second bright white flash across my eye and then nothing… also sometimes I get a bright white squiggle that runs across my vision… and again nothing else. Does this sound to you like what you have?

    Do any of you have constant dizziness that is unexplained? My doctors can’t figure out why I do… I am scared.

    Thanks!
    Kimberly

    Comment by Kimberly — January 10, 2007 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

  41. That sure sounds like migraine symptoms, Kimberly, but leave it up to a doctor to make that diagnosis official. You should have your doctor refer you to a neurologist who will be able to tell you right away what’s going on, and may run some tests on you to ensure that it’s “merely” migraines that are at fault (and that’s most likely all that it is.) Family doctors simply aren’t trained in the kinds of things they need to know to determine if something’s a migraine or not and, frankly, it’s a little strange that they haven’t sent you off to a neuro already. And, yes, dizziness can be a part of it – until I got on Topamax, I had frequent light dizzy spells (spinning room type thing when I laid down.) Now that I’m on it, that’s pretty much gone away entirely, as well as the migraines unless I eat something that sets me off (especially chocolate and cheese, sadly.)

    Comment by Tom — January 10, 2007 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  42. I am 51 years old, and I have been getting ocular migraines on and off for a few years. Never accompanied by headache. This year they seem to have increased. I have no idea what brings it on, flashes take different forms each time. This time it appears as a small jelly ball in the direct center of my visual plane – the flashies were on the outside, like an aura, if you will..the flashes grew and grew to my the outside of my peripheral vision then went away. whole experience was 15- 20 minutes. The opthamologist told me that as we grow older our eyes dry out or the gel behind the eyes drys out. I am thinking since i have a cold and I took some medicine that this might have something to do with it– or simply coincidental. Any answers? I work on the computer all day as well. 😦

    Comment by Stacy — January 12, 2007 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  43. Glad I found this. Had my first episode yesterday while at work. Scared the daylights out of me. My first thought was retinal detachment. My eye doctor saw me on an emergent basis, by how I described what was going on. It seems like this could be pretty common. So glad I am not alone and going crazy. Good luck to every one who experiences these.

    Comment by Nora — January 17, 2007 @ 8:52 am | Reply

  44. Had one of these yesterday for the first time at work. My first thought as well was a detached or torn retina. Saw the eye doctor on an emergent basis. He explained that this is what he thought it was. Glad I found this site. It’s nice to realize these seem pretty common. Good luck to all

    Comment by Nora — January 17, 2007 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  45. I first had what I now know is a visual migraine when I was 21 – needless to say I was terrified and thought that I was going blind or having a stroke (the unpleasant brain kind, rather than the act of gently placing one’s hand on a small furry animal). They occured infrequently until about a year or so ago (I’m 34 now), when the regularity of them increased and I first stumbled across an explanation as to what these terrifying, but strangely pretty things were. In fact, I’ve just had one.

    Mine follow the text book pattern – small flashing light at the centre of the field of vision (which at first is indistinguishable from the ‘light shadow’ one gets after looking at a bright light), then expanding to form a sort of reversed ‘C’ – more often that not to the right of my field of vision. After continual expansion over around 30 minutes, my flashing zig-zag friends seem to get bored and decide to head back to flashing zig-zag land – wherever that is. I’m often left with a mild headache, usually to one side and sometimes a little numbness and odd sensations in my right arm.

    I have had classic migraines in the past, but these are visual only. I’m otherwise reasonably healthy, though have drunk heavily in my colourful past. It’s very reassuring to read the experiences of others, as with the recent increase in the frequency of my VMs (yes – we now officially have an acronym!), I was beginning to worry that I may have something more serious – so thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment.

    Oh and Kimberly, regarding your husband and you trying to get pregnant – I’d like to put ten pounds/dollars/shark’s teeth on you being the successful one, rather than him…

    :p

    Comment by Mark — January 30, 2007 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

  46. Tonight I had the first visual migraine I’ve had in about 5 years. I’m 63. They started at about age 40. They never involve a “migraine” headache, although I do have regular migraine headaches at other times.
    It doesn’t seem connected to anything as a trigger.
    I first notice a shiny blank spot in the center of my vision, like the after effect of looking at a photoflash or sun reflection. Then there is a sparkling crescent, that over a period of 30 minutes gradually moves to the periphery. It’s sometimes in one eye, sometimes in both. It’s a little unnerving. Like tonight I was watching a movie on TV with subtitles, and it was hard to read them.
    What I really don’t like is it occasionally happens when I’m driving and then I have to pull off until it’s done.
    I was lucky in that the first time it happened I called my opthamologist and he told me what it was and said not to worry, that he had them himself, it meant nothing. He said it’s not the same as a pre-migraine aura, and has no connection to strokes, etc. All the same, I was hoping they had gone for good.

    Comment by lois helms — February 23, 2007 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

  47. Just stumbled across this site. It’s good and bad to hear other peoples experiences on this matter. I’ve been having visual migraines for about 2 years and still cannot work out any pattern as to what is causing them. I dread one happening while I’m driving. I probably lose about 75 percent of my focussed vision when I take a bad one. Mines start with a tiny dot of light flashing and builds into a huge, colourful, spectrum-like display of shapes and random patterns. Having had NONE for about 5 months, I had 2 severe ones last week one day after the other and followed by severe headaches. The last migraine in particular was the oddest yet. I can only describe it like 2 visual migraines at once and comparable to mushroom induced hallucinations. Very surreal and slightly frightening. I sometimes wonder if they’re almost like your brain is SEEING in another dimension. Its odd to see pieces of physical reality in front of you dissapear almost like the movement of particles at a sub-atomic level. I’ve been told by my GP that it may be down to a vitaminB12 deficiency so I suggest any sufferers getting checked out for that.

    Comment by Justin — February 26, 2007 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  48. I have had these symtoms for over twenty years and just yesterday finally had a doctor diagnose it. Every other doctor I have been to just brushed it off as being nothing. Now I know what it is and am relieved
    All my life I have had what I call “sun sneezes”. Bright sunlight causes me to sneeze. I am wondering if any of you have the same thing. Do you think there is a connection between this and the migraines?
    Thanks for putting up this site. Knowledge is comforting.

    Comment by Bob44 — March 3, 2007 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  49. I am doing a presentation for one of my classes at school, and having experienced such auras years ago, I would love to be able to incorporate this short video into a powerpoint presentation. Is there any way to copy/paste this video into ppt?

    Comment by Alicia — March 7, 2007 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  50. I am 56 and have been having these for about 20 years on and off. They seem to happen with more frequency the older I get and I have had two in one day a couple times. Light, either too much or the lack of, seems to somehow be a connected trigger. I have been keeping a journal of exact times they occur,what I am doing when they happen, what they look like, what eye they appear in and even doing a diagram of the form they take, what I might have eaten out of the ordinary, how much coffee I have consumed and if I had gotten more or less sleep than regularly, weather (bright sun or cloud cover) etc. These little light demons usually start in the exact center of my right eye looking like the focusing lens of an old 35mm camera. After 15-20 minutes and splitting into a convoluted, backwards “C” they exit the top right of the eye. Sometimes I get a bad migraine afterward, sometimes a dull headache on the left side and sometimes I walk away unscathed. Being completely tired of these anomalies, I went to the eye doctor and got a clean bill of eye health. He ordered up several rounds of blood tests and (thank you very much!) they came back quite normal. I guess you just live with them and be thankful for the sight that you have. Things could be a lot worse.

    Comment by Jim — March 12, 2007 @ 12:49 am | Reply

  51. I used to get these infrequently in my 20s but have now started getting them regularly in my mid 30s. I have never really gotten the headache – maybe just a stiff neck. I am glad to see that it is not as uncommon as I thought; however, I still worry about all the internet stuff that suggests an increased risk for stroke. My neurologist, general practicitoner and eye doctor do not seemed concerned, but I still get nervous with every epidsode. Does anyone else have info on the stroke factor?

    Comment by Lorrie — March 12, 2007 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  52. I also had these bright flashing lights which started in my peripheral and were zig zag bright flashing on and off colors, sometimes they will be just greyish. They are even visible with my eyes closed.
    Yes it was hared to explain to the un-initiated.

    Comment by Gerry Ward — March 26, 2007 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  53. I saw my doctor yesterday and asked if there was a connection with the migraines and stroke. She said no. I hope she’s correct.

    Comment by Bob44 — March 31, 2007 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  54. I keep checking back, reading all the comments posted. I think all of us are looking for what causes the visual migraine. What can we do to stop them. I had my first bout with them just over ten years ago. I had them three days in a row, a couple months apart. Then they stopped. This past year I started getting alot of them. Recently they come rarely. I did start taking three magnesium tablets every morning. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it but it doesn’t hurt. I am female, 64 and in good health. I do have glaucoma. I was diagnosed with it right after my first visual migraine. I also get regular migraines but do great using zomig.

    Comment by bonnie — March 31, 2007 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  55. I have visual migraines every Sunday morning because the music in our church is so loud. Everybody treats me differently because of these flashing ligths I see whenever the music is played, especially the organ type music. Anybody else had this problem? Jane

    Comment by jane smith — April 17, 2007 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

  56. Hi ive been having visual migrains since i was 30 and im 40 now, i have one ayear and they tend to start with loss of vision and then followed by a lwhat can only be discribed as a lightining effect, the very first one i had was so scary i didn’t have a clue what was going on , following on from that i had this really bad head throb all evening and was quite poorly , ever since the first attack my other visual migrains have not been anywhere near as bad as the first one, i had one this morning which is the first one in 10 months and they occur it seem yearly just the once like clock work, first i get the blurred vision then shortly after i get the lightning that seems to move slowly across my field of vision which last about 20 mins, but the odd thing is i don’t get any head throbs after anymore? why i havnt a clue and i have never seeked medical advice , should i I ASK MYSELF ?

    Comment by james wanstall — April 21, 2007 @ 3:24 am | Reply

  57. I had a visual migraine yesterday morning and I went and made a sandwich, right away it started going away. This one only lasted about ten minutes instead of the usual thirty. I thought of doing this because last week I had one and I was fixing something to eat and the same thing happened. In the past I just go sit down or lay down and wait for it to pass. Wonder if something gets imbalanced in the body.

    Comment by bonnie — April 23, 2007 @ 8:35 am | Reply

  58. I’ve only gotten the visuals, a couple of years ago, and just once. Ever. It was a quite surprising, unexpected thing. But it looked like this (I was sitting at the computer):

    This, too, looks much like it, if resized to fill the entire screen:

    http://images.vpro.nl/img.db?16749929++s(200)

    There was also motion. Like viscous, warping, wobbly stream of rainbow-colored liquid being poured down the zig-zag track.

    See, for example, this video and the visual effect at 0:42:

    Or this video, with another visual effect at 0:56:

    Finally, the whole thing had this… eerie distracting feel to it; something you can’t quite put your finger on. It was disturbing in much the same way as trying to figure out this picture:

    Comment by Jukka Aho — May 2, 2007 @ 11:24 am | Reply

  59. Someone wrote that they have always had the sunlight sneeze thing. I have always had that, also. I have had what you are all saying may be visual migraines. I used to have them a few years ago, but they stopped. Now about 4-5 months ago, I started getting them again. Not a lot of them, but every month or so. I had one today (hence looking online for a reason) and came across this info. It starts with a blind spot in the middle of my right eye and then becomes the black and white flashing (not the best word to describe,but all I can come up with) at the lower right area of my right eye, and a little on the left eye in the same area. Never as bad on the left eye, though. When I was having them before, I always seemed to notice that I was laying down on my stomach and my head was somewhat pushed back, if that makes sense. Now, the one today I thought may have come after being on the computer too long and my head is in a bad position. I did go outside before it started and maybe the bright light is what caused it. I am wondering if light colored eyes have any relation to this along with sunlight induced sneezing. In almost all instances the lower part of the back of my head seems to hurt. Not too bad, but I notice a dull pain.

    I too am happy to have looked this up, as I was worried that it may be the precursor to a stroke. I am going to show my husband this video, because I explain it to him, but we all know that you really can’t explain it!!

    I don’t get anywhere near as bad as the video, but it is definitly the same type of thing.

    Comment by Donna — May 9, 2007 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  60. I just did a search online for gallery of visual migraine images. There are a few paintings and artwork that relates to these auras. I guess that there have been many artists that have experienced this. I think I read that Dali did. I am going to look at some of his paintings, as I am curious about this.

    Interesting!!!

    Comment by Donna — May 9, 2007 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  61. I just happened to “StumbleUpon” your site. This used to happen to me when I was in my 30s. Maybe a dozen times. I’m 60 now and haven’t had this happen in maybe 20-25 years. When I told the opthamologist about this during a normal exam, he just “Hmm…”ed it. It was never accompanied by a headache. Hope it goes away for you.

    Comment by John — June 3, 2007 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  62. By all means have your eyes checked by a good ophthamologist. I had visual migraines for years and thought nothing of them. They stopped when a blood vessel broke in my retina. Fortunately the damage to my vision was minor, but sometimes people can lose all the sight in one eye as a result of the condition I had, called branch retinal occlusion.

    Comment by gail — June 5, 2007 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  63. Bright lights, or striped light seems to bring it on. Yesterday I walked out from a basement to a brightly lit kitchen, and it started. Another time, I looked at a black-and-white striped shirt. Another time I glanced at the window at the venetian blinds. Usually, it happens when I’m in motion or standing- rarely sitting still.

    Comment by Gary — June 5, 2007 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  64. I have been having this same thing for about 16 years. Mine begin with a blind spot in the center of my field of vision. The aura then expands & moves off to the left periferal field of vision. I am getting them more frequently about 1 every other month vice every 6. I am mobilized reservist for the last 4 1/2 years and will return back to a driving job as a courier. I am worried it may get me fired when they find out.

    Comment by Teddy — June 5, 2007 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  65. I have now been having “visual” or what the emergency room and the Cincinnati Eye Institute called retnal migranes. They say I am having most of mine in my sleep. I had one last year at work, but I had a strange feeling and then my vision went strange. I did not have flashing lights etc… as you show. Mine everything look like I was maybe looking through water. I you take a drop of water and put it on words on a magazine page and then look at the letters/words that is what everything looked like. Being over tired does not help.

    Comment by Theresa — June 5, 2007 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  66. I used to get visual migraines every other week, starting around age 12. Mine were always accompanied by extreme pain which left me stuck in the bathroom for the rest of the day. I have not had one in some while, ever sense I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and have been taken medication regularly. That illustration shows exactly how it happens! I remember how I could always tell how bad the pain would be following the visual migraine, by how much of my vision I lost…
    If you have pain following the visual migraine, pop a pain killer at the first sign of losing your vision. It always seemed to help me. (If I did not get sick that is)

    Comment by Megan — June 5, 2007 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  67. This is exactly what is happening with me past two years. I am tired of explaining this to others, as none could exactly understand what is happening with me. I am very happy to see your flash, and is really a good work. I dont get to see these many colours, but the sensations are the same. It happens to me when i expose to very bright light, last for 15-30 mins. Sometimes i used to get a headache after this 😦

    Comment by Swapz — June 12, 2007 @ 12:17 am | Reply

  68. I have had visual migraines for 25 years, they occur about every 6 weeks. They look like small bright triangles joined together in in a C pattern and flashing sequentially. sometimes when it stays on the far edge of my peripheral it looks like a ceiling fan spinning with a bright light shinning through it. I have had migraines in the past but not anymore and I rarely had the visual migraines during a real migraine, although with my eyes shut I did have swirling black and white abstract images (aura) before a migraine. When I get the visual migraine they cause me to feel slightly nauseated and tired.

    Comment by Allan — June 12, 2007 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  69. There seems to be some connecion with bright light and these migraines. Does anyone get them after staring at a computer screen fo a period of time?

    Comment by Bob44 — June 15, 2007 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  70. What a relief….to read about others, and realize, that it is not stroke etc. I too have had the coloured flashing lights ones. But one of the strangest I have had, I was driving to work, and wondered why some of the billboards were not ‘finished’…. they would say ‘SHOPPING CENT…’ not SHOPPING CENTRE etc., the right sides of things were not ‘finished’ or so it seemed. I got to work (this was incidently, my very first ‘classic’ one (20 years ago!)-so I had no idea, at this point, what was occurring) I thought perhaps a hot chocolate would make me feel better(ha ha-wrong!! don’t do that!!) Then , ordinary noises , started to really bother me( someone using a stamp pad- seemed unbearably loud! lights were unbearably bright)( I always am sound and light sensitive) My manager (who NEVER got headaches…thought I was exaggerating, just so I could go home!(It WAS Christmas after all! ) Reluctantly let me leave , after informing me..you will be ‘docked’. I went to the restroom to splash some water on my face, trying to make myself feel better, so that I could stay….. and as I reached for the towel ring( one of those cloth roll types) to pull down fresh towel …my right hand disappeared! (lol…or so it looked to me!!) I then started ‘testing’ my vision…and realized to my horror! that my entire field of vision on my right side had cut out!! As I moved my hand around…testing ..it would disappear (almost like magic) as it entered my non-zone…..hence suddenly explaining ..the unfinished signs!! By the time I got home (miraculously! because I drove! no-one else could be spared to help me!! and as I did ..trying to be extra cautious) Put the key into the front door, and by then was feeling so ill….I had to crawl up the stairs to my bedroom….stopping at the bathroom to experience first hand, that when someone says ‘projectile -vomit’ it is most accurate!! It was like something from a horror movie! It came with such force it was cylindrical !! hitting the wall behind the toilet! I did not even have time to lean forward ! I then crawled to bed and slept. When i woke up , I felt much better, but was surprised that it was still bright out….till I realized I had slept over 14 hours! This was one of the worst ones I have experienced….having learned what NOT to do !! (example-chocolate) etc! You know the drill! But sometimes they come on, regardless , of , but as I mentioned earlier…even after all these years… read about other peoples’ similar experiences….instead of being …the ‘ONE’ TRYING TO EXPLAIN ..THAT NO-ONE ELSE…..SEEMS TO…. ‘GET!’

    Comment by ZETTE MORGAN — June 17, 2007 @ 8:20 am | Reply

  71. WOW! I just experienced the same exact mirage in my left eye after bending down to pick up some laundry that you’ve just described. Thank you your example it really calmed me down. After the circled rainbow was complete, I then experienced a fan like motion…crazy days

    Comment by Lisa — June 28, 2007 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  72. I’m having migraine issues as we speak….which is how i found this page. Great friggin’ aura demonstration! Your’s is even better than the one i found a few years ago that was created by a university (can’t quite remember where i found it). I’ll be sure to send those lucky non-migrainy people here to see what they’re missing….

    Comment by Nicole — June 28, 2007 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

  73. great site. i have had these for 12 years now. they began when i was 19 and i had 1 about every 3 years until this past year….they have drastically increased. after my first aura i went the the ER and i couldn’t even speak correctly – i was a total wreck. after lying there for an hour or so i was completely normal. the dr. told me i had an anxiety attack. from that day forward i was always nervous and afraid to be alone. it took 2 years to get over the fright of having another attack, and then it happened again & again..both times i did no follow-up w/ a dr. over the past year i have had 7 of these “visual migraines”. i was told by a ENT that this is what they were. i was also reassured by my optomologist. it is true that i have been under extreme stress b/c i have lost my mother, her husband, and my sister all w/in the past 3 years. my psychiatrist referred me to a neurologist b/c i still can’t seem to shake the nervous feeling associated w/ having another attack. my appt is in the morning….

    Comment by tracey — July 1, 2007 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  74. I don’t think anyone can really put someone at ease when these things happen but this site is such a help. The biggest thing is it is not a stroke. We all are experiencing much the same thing. I just wait it out and it goes away. Usually it lasts about thirty minutes. I had a bout with a few just over ten years ago, then nothing. Within the past year I am getting more. So far no one has an answer but they don’t seem to be harmful. Things happen if life and we get used to it being a part of our lives. Stress may contribute but who knows for sure.

    Comment by bonnie — July 2, 2007 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  75. I saw your animation and just about cried with relief… (btw that picture is spot-on!!!)
    I was at work today and experienced this exact thing- I thought I was going to have a seizure or a stroke or something.
    I’m a graduate nurse so of course the simplest thing didn’t occur to me and I was thinking imminent DOOM. (too much book knowledge, too little experience LOL)
    I am so glad I googled this. :O)
    A million thanks!

    Comment by Beth — July 2, 2007 @ 6:04 pm | Reply

  76. I have had two in five days and this is the seventh one for the year. Should I be worried? My doctors don’t seem to be – but this is causing me a lot of anxiety. I think the anxiety causes them to happen more frequently. It is a vicious cycle.

    Comment by Lorrie — July 3, 2007 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  77. I’ve learned one thing about dealig with doctors. Never tell them something may be related to anxiety. They just write you off as a nut and won’t take anything you say serously. I was given clonopin years ago for a sleep issue I have. I take a very small dose of it before going to bed. When a doctor reads my medical history and sees that I take that medication he/she immediately changes attitude towards me. I think that is why I went so many years with out a proper diagnosis of the migraine.
    Doctors jump to conclusions really fast because they only have a few minutes to spend with you. It’s in and out.
    Also, remember that once you have ben diagnosed with visual migraine that a doctor will no longer consider that you may one day be having a stroke.

    Comment by Bob44 — July 4, 2007 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  78. I have gotten migraines since I was in the fifth grade. In the past year the aura that comes before the migraine has been lasting longer and longer in different forms until it has gotten to the point where it almost never goes away. I almost always have some visual disturbance. My doctors are currently working on medications that can help clear up my vision and help me get less frequent migraines(I get them once a week currently, sometimes lasting 6 days) It has been very frustrating to try and explain this phenomena to my friends and family. If someone has never had a migraine it is almost impossible to understand, especially the weirdness of the vision problems. This animation you made has made it much clearer to many of them. Thank you so much for making it. You are right, it doesn’t really show quite how strange it is, but it is very close. Thank you.

    Comment by really grateful — July 12, 2007 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  79. Wow, excellent demonstration of what happens!! With me, I’ve always tried to describe it and usually describe what you have as colored bands as being sort of kaleidoscopic. Thanks so much for making this – while it can’t depict the “sensation,” at least it gives a visual aid for us to use to help explain to our family and doctors!

    I used to have debilitating migraines at least two to three times a month for over 20 years that kept me in a dark quiet room with a (pardon the expression) “puke bucket” beside the bed. When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and went on medication for that, I began having visual migraines and less intense “full” migraines.

    Thinking I was having a stroke, I saw a neurologist. He gave me an anti-nausea drug, indicating that the area of the brain that controls nausea is adjacent to the area that controls migraine and that sometimes by “turning off” the nausea area, the migraine goes away too. Problem is, the pills make me VERY drowsy. After learning from online research that the drug is also used for motion sickness, I picked up some OTC “less drowsy formula” Dramamine and will take 1/4 of a pill at the first sign of visual disturbance and sometimes that takes care of it. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try 1/2 to a full Dramamine and if it still doesn’t work, I then resort to the prescription pill.

    While I still will have some migraine symptoms, I have not had a “full-blown” debilitating migraine in almost three years. The symptoms I do get, while annoying, are tolerable.

    Thanks again for an excellent visual aid!!!

    Comment by Sherri — July 19, 2007 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  80. It’s clear that different people are affected differently, though a lot of people seem to find the flash demo to be an accurate representation of what they have experienced.
    I personally have had “visual migraines” since my late teens (I am now 36), but they occured so infrequently as to be almost untreatable.
    Perhaps once every six months or even less.
    Mine start off more like Jukka Aho’s as per his/her link;

    I have always described them as having the effect of “causing the room to appear to shake” ever so slightly, as if I was experiencing a minor earth tremor.
    (Although I have never actually experienced an earth quake, but I’m sure you know what I mean). The distortions would start growing into a shimmer which would gradually get more intense. Then would develop into the “room shake” which would also get more intense. This would last for probably no more than two minutes and was usually followed by a moderate headache which would only last perhaps 5-10 minutes.
    All in all, from beginning to end the whole experience would last anywhere between 5-10 minutes, and then it was business as usual.

    My doctor, at the time was clueless (I don’t blame her, I didn’t perhaps, give her much to go on), but she suggested it might be an allergy or reaction to a foodstuff I was eating such as cheese.
    She advised me to keep a record of everything I was eating and prescribed me Sanomigran which I now know to be a regular migraine treatment and was probably not even close to being helpful.
    Again, the infrequency of the attacks meant that neither of these recommendations was particularly useful.

    I may now have to do some serious investigation into this, as I plan to study for a pilots license and I need to understand the causes or triggers of these attacks.
    I haven’t had an attack in many years now, but I still need to know what causes them.

    Comment by Nigel — July 28, 2007 @ 3:03 am | Reply

  81. BTW. Bob44. I have had an almost unhealthy relationship with computers since the age of about 14, spending waaaay too many hours mere inches away from a TV screen.
    I have been working with computers most of my adult life (I am a systems administrator) and apart from having to wear glasses for the last 8 years, have seen no detrimental effects resulting from my constant exposure to computers.
    In fact, I don’t think I have ever experienced a visual migraine whilst working on a computer.

    Comment by Nigel — July 28, 2007 @ 3:14 am | Reply

  82. Shoot! Perhaps my doctor wasn’t so clueless after all.
    Sorry Doc.

    http://www.naturaleyecare.com/diseases.asp?d_num=33

    Comment by Nigel — July 28, 2007 @ 3:27 am | Reply

  83. Nigel: Food can be and is definitely a trigger to some. It’s my main trigger along with allergies (if you suffer from allergies, get treated! It’s made a huge difference in the number of general headaches as well as migraines that I get.) Particular things to pay attention to are hard, yellow cheeses, wine, and chocolate – all things that have something called tiramine in them (in cheese and wine it’s due to the aging process. Chocolate, I don’t know.)

    Comment by Tom — August 1, 2007 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

  84. I have to say, that I could not agree with you in 100% regarding Visual migraine . . . visually, but it’s just my opinion, which could be wrong 🙂

    Comment by Daniel — August 2, 2007 @ 8:11 am | Reply

  85. Tom: Thanks. That’s good info. I do suffer from a mild form of Hayfever, but that is about all.
    I will look into this a bit further. Especially the Tiramine link.
    Although it will be difficult to pinpoint because of the rarity of the attacks.

    Comment by Nigel — August 3, 2007 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  86. Get about 7 VMs each month – been tracking them for a year. Can’t find a link yet but seems to happen most when seated with variable brightness within field of view ie a window and blank wall side by side together with a TV or monitor between me and the wall – is this too much for my brain to handle? Sress in the neck also may be related – bad posture and archery
    practice on a regular basis? Mine last for 30 mins and quite often feel chirpy before VM starts. Bright natural daylight makes me sleepy and constantly nod-off watching TV. GP not concerned. No headaches but feel a little shot out for a while after.

    Comment by Peter — August 5, 2007 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  87. for Jane Smith: You don’t have visual migraines at church. You have “music to color” synesthesia. Louder music triggers a stronger response (in less sensitive people, quiet music may trigger no response at all), and I’ll bet that high pitched sounds produce brighter/more intense colors for you.

    It’s basically harmless, but of course it can be annoying under some circumstances. There’s a good description at wikipedia.org, and it’s not hard to find information elsewhere on the web.

    Comment by I — August 13, 2007 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  88. Hi !

    We are a group of migraine people working voluntarily to help people who suffer from migraine. We live in South East Sweden and we have a migraine website.

    I have watched your film on migraine with aura and its perfect !
    Could I use it on our website please ?

    Regards
    Angela

    Comment by Angela Glad — August 14, 2007 @ 7:05 am | Reply

  89. i have suffered headaches since 11 then progressed to migraines which seemed to be every few years then last year i was talking to a friend and i completely lost my sight for a few hours i went to the doctor he said it was migraines as i had no pain and only lost complete visions once and only a few spread out attacks i decided not to go on medication. at the begining of this year my migraines changed again i started to loose the ability to speak and struggled to move i thought i was having a stroke and ended up in hospital after a ct scan, chest xray and heart trace monitors were clear it was until the next day when i couldn’t stand the noise from the other people on the ward the neroligists put it down migraines. i now loose the ability to speak constantly not monthly not weekly but daily it can be for a few minutes of for as long as 3-4 hours i now have to resort to gesturing signs and pen and paper to get my 4 kids to do what i want it can be frustrating but it can also funny at times (well we have to laugh at ourselves sometimes or i’ll end up cracking up) my doctor wants to put me on tablets but im scared cos me and medication dont really go well but i have to do something i’m also scared that the meds arn’t going to take speak loss away i’ll write back soon and tell you how things are going or if docs say anything interesting.

    Comment by yvonne — August 14, 2007 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

  90. had my first episode of what I am nearly certain was a VM yesterday. began while driving and escalated to a phenomenon not noted here yet. The classic shimmering C was the beginning, with the rippled water description fitting, as well. I went into a store, was disturbed because I felt something was quite wrong. then I looked up and noticed everyone had 4 eyes, 2 on top of the other 2. Scared to death, I told the checkout girl that something was very wrong and that, if I passed out, call 911 and tell them to scan my head. It slowly dissipated. I see my doc Thursday, but feel cerain this is what I experienced. Thanks!

    Comment by vonnie — September 4, 2007 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  91. vonnie, I wish you well with your doctor appointment.please, leave a comment about what you find out. all of our experiences seem so familiar. the doctor I see for glaucoma has them too. he told me glaucoma and the visuals are not related. It also seems these happen to people of all ages. It would be interesting to see if a study has been done on a group of people with this problem.

    Comment by bonnie — September 5, 2007 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  92. Just had my third “classic shakey-expanding-disappearing C” in 48 hours. So I had to come here and visit again. I don’t get a headache after but I usually get a sort of “hangover” period lasting a day or a little longer in which I feel kind of anxious and vulnerable and a little sad – during this time I feel like I am anxious about the fact that this weird thing that is associated with an increased risk of stroke is happening to me but once the “mood fog” lifts I get a little perspective and realize that anxiety itself is part of the cycle of this thing for me. It is so *wonderful* (well, you know what I mean) to find others out there describing similar stuff.

    OK for the other going on middling-life gals out there … I’m in my early (going on middle) 40s and this all started after my first/only was born when I was 41. I’m now getting 1-4 “episodes” a month and I’ve been tracking everything to find a correlation and know what I think? Estrogen is a culprit – I seem to get them when time of cycle and other indicators suggests estrogen is spiking. And I’ve just read that many women had their first “aura”s after receiving supplemental estrogen. I don’t take any supplemental anything (except B2 and magnesium). Anyone else out there thinking about an estrogen relationship to this?

    Thank you to all of you for sharing this thing that we share out here so we know we’re not alone! best o’luck to all

    Comment by JerseyGurl — September 6, 2007 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  93. I’ve only had visual migraines after riding my bike. This has happened for the past two years. We ride hard for maybe 2 hours but I can’t imagine why that would be related. The neurologist said they are usually hormonal or even food related! My “aura” looks like flashing silver lightening and is all over my field of vision.

    Comment by Donna — September 10, 2007 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  94. Hello, how often does this occur AFTER doing exercise? I noticed that about 7/10 times after Im done with a long run, an aura begins to come. Anyone?

    Comment by Bryan — September 10, 2007 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  95. The migraine usually starts about 2/3 hours after I finish biking. Bryan is the first person I’ve heard who relates his migraine to his exercise. I feel very tired for hours after the aura stops. Do the rest of you?

    Comment by Donna — September 16, 2007 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  96. I can get a visual at any time. While I am driving is the worst, I will pull over and wait till it is over. Not sure if I am tired because of the visual or because it is unnerving. Had one yesterday morning, right after I had awakened and started to watch tv. I am sensitive to bright lights all of the time too.

    Comment by bonnie — September 17, 2007 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  97. Thank you all for this. I have experienced very occasional mild, what I now know, as VMs for some time, but not serious enough to give me any real cause for concern. However, last evening I had a really bad one with large areas of my vision blocked out. Looking at the right side of the TX I could not see the left when it started, though all was l rapidly restored as the “C” widened, and went after about 20 minutes.

    Having suffered a detached retina some years ago I was very disturbed about it and headed straight to A&E at my local hospital this morning. I was very quickly referred through to the eye clinic and soon reassured when told that this was a migraine.

    One other benefit was that the cataract I have been aware which was developing in one eye was quickly spotted and I am now on the list for that to be operated on very soon – without “going through the middle-man” as the consultant put it !

    Comment by Peter R — September 21, 2007 @ 11:13 am | Reply

  98. Hi all, I’m 40. had my first visual episode about 3 years ago then next one came about 2 years ago then next about 1 year ago, which was on 9/15/07 then had another one not a year later but 6 days later! (yesterday 9/21/07) the first episode i had i was so scared i thought i was going to die. i’m currently trading stocks at home and babysitting my 6 and 1 year old, and i have noticed that these last two episodes seem to be triggered when i have grabbed a nap in the morning on my 1 year-old’s first nap of the day. i wake up groggy and feeling crappy, then it seems to be more of a state of mind and a low grade pain cluster, like cramping in my temples/eyes, and a quick glance into bright light starts the “blind spot” in the center of my vision, becomes impossible to ignore and gets larger, eventually turning into a “C” shape and moving outward to the peripheral area, this then gives way to overwhelming foggy intense light sensation that makes me close my eyes. i have never had an episode away from home, and i am afraid of what i would do it i had my kids with me somewhere…does anyone else notice that this is brought on by a nap? i suspect that everyone’s triggers are different…..

    take care,
    DF

    Comment by DF — September 22, 2007 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  99. I have had a few different types of visual migraines over the years and I would like to talk to you, if you’re interested, in how you did your animation. None of my migraines looked quite like yours, but somewhat similar and I’d like to be able to somehow make an animation of mine so that I (or you!) can show others. One type that I have is like looking through static on a tv screen, but eventually encompases my entire field of vision, blinding me, and I always feel nausiated when I get that type of migraine. The other type eventually covers my entire field of vision with “flashes of light” or “wavy zig-zags of light” but the light is always very bright like there are huge glares everywhere I look.

    Comment by NB — October 1, 2007 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  100. Thanks for creating your occular migraine flash. It was interesting to see how somebody else’s migraines appear. I thought I would share my own experience in case it will help somebody else.

    My own migraines are most often painless zig-zag white patterns that pan outwards into multiple colors before seeming to turn off parts of my vision entirely (visual field turns into gray or black uninterpreted zones) (i.e. left peripheral up to half of my field of vision in my left eye). These might last 10-15 minutes with a proper dosage of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or 30+ minutes with nothing.

    I read on the net that a lack of B vitamins is believed to be associated with occular migraines. I have been taking Vitamin B12 supplement tabs for 2 yrs for other reasons. Anyhow, reading about the relation to diet and B vitamins made me recall that I haven’t had any serious occular migraines since taking one B12 vitamin tab daily. By serious I mean the “blinding” occular problem and loss of vision. I do still get the lightning pattern or rotated C light which can last for less than three minutes, though rarely occuring more than once every 3 to 4 months.

    Comment by TS — October 5, 2007 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  101. I had a weird vision experience this morning, a few minutes after waking and taking my dog for a walk. Thought it was something on my glasses but when I took my glasses off the tv cloudiness again was still there. I was unsure when it started but the cloudy black & white screen appeared first above my central vision in my right eye and then traveled to the right side of my eye, then when I looked down I could see the cloudy tv screen below my regular line of vison, but it did not interfere with my normal vision, I still had clear vision. The cloudiness was above, on the side and below my line of vision. It slowly became less noticeable and then stopped I would guess after about 10-15 minutes. I have never had migraines. I did notice I had a slight headache but I was unsure if it was there before the vision experience.

    Anyone experience these symptoms or do I need to head straight to the drs. This is my first experience with these symptoms. I did not have the typical “c” with colorful hue experience I read so much about above.

    Comment by ann sothery — October 10, 2007 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

  102. I think the first time this happens you should be checked by a doctor just to be sure nothing else is wrong.

    Comment by bonnie — October 16, 2007 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  103. THANK YOU. I will add my gatitude to so many others here. Your animation is the closest thing I have seen yet to what I have experienced since childhood, and only learned about as OM a few years ago. At its worst it covers my whole field of vision for as much as 30 minutes. And mine start in the near-center, then grow, sometimes leaving an empty space in the middle. The only other difference is my rainbow squiggles are less linear than your animation, they are more like floaters or amoebas than short parallels, though I suspect yoour anim looks that way due to the limitations of your time/tools.
    This page has finally allowed me to show my family what i see, and again, heartfelt thanks for your efforts.

    Comment by Greg Correll — October 19, 2007 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  104. Cool animation!

    The shape and size of the affected area closely matches my episodes, although my ‘zone’ never expands to much more than ~30% of my FOV. I don’t get the color, only black lines on a white background, with the black line thickness varies from thin lines to ~40% filled zebra stripes. Also, I tend to get nested triangles, and zig-zag geometric patterns, rather than the largely parallel lines you see.

    FWIW, I’ve never had a painful ‘classic’ migraine headache.

    -Greg

    Comment by Greg — October 21, 2007 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  105. Yeah, I’ve had maybe a half-dozen of these over the past few years. Although… I’ve never had a migraine headache. I explained it to my eye doctor and he did say it was a visual migraine or spasm. It’s very scary and when you describe it to others it’s like you’ve seen a UFO! However, since my 1st one, my wife and her mother have both had them.

    I am blown away by your graphic representation. That’s about as close as you could possibly get without really experiencing it. Kudos!!!

    Comment by Bill Tucker — October 31, 2007 @ 9:08 am | Reply

  106. So where does it go? The arc, the “C”, when it passes through the field of vision does it go somewhere else? My understanding is that the visual thing happens because blood vessels and/or nerve endings are spasming and the vessels & nerves that connect to vision are particularly sensitive so we actually perceive the disturbance when it hits the “vision department” of our brains. But the “spasms” themselves may be continuing on through the brain into areas where there’s no immediate perception. Anyone know any more about this? Though I don’t get a full blown migraine headache after one of these I sometimes do get “moody” during the day after. Would be interested to hear others thoughts.

    Comment by JerseyGurl — November 8, 2007 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  107. That’s what I’ve read, too. I’ve had both effects happen – full blown migraine afterward and other times where I just feel awful and pissy but no actual headache. The latter is what drove me to a doctor – I pretty much felt like that all the time, and luckily the drugs are working. That moodiness and general bad feeling all the time has pretty much disappeared.

    Comment by Tom — November 8, 2007 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  108. I’ve had these for years but more frequent of late and was beginning to get real worried. I’ve never been able to descibe it properly to anyone and was looking for info. All i found was of ‘floaters’ but i knew that couldn’t be right. The I found this site, SPOT ON. Now i have a name for it I feel a bit better. If it’s a type of migraine then i’ve probably had a lot more because i’ve been under a lot of stress lately. I tend to get a slight headache after and be a little tired. Been thinking might have to see if I can get drugs to stop them, cause i’ve been getting them at work and really can’t work properly.

    Comment by Lauren — November 9, 2007 @ 12:08 am | Reply

  109. Ok, this is drawing from research I did for a report for my undergraduate Biological Psychology class in college, about 3 years ago…keep in mind I’m a bit shaky on some of the details because it’s been a while since then and research since then might suggest other possible explanations.

    Several of the papers I read on the subject disagreed with the idea that the cause of migraine is vascular in nature. Instead, they attributed migraine symptoms to something called Cortical Spreading Depression, or CSD (if this subject has been addressed in the comments here already I apologize. I did a quick search and didn’t find anything).

    Neurons in the brain work by sending electrical impulses to each other. The way these impulses work is like so: inside the neuron there is a negative charge, and outside the neuron there is a positive charge. A stimulus occurs, and sodium channels (channels that allow sodium into the neuron) in the surface of the neuron open up and let positively charged sodium particles from the outside flow into the neuron. This influx of positively charged sodium particles causes more sodium channels to open, which in turn lets in more positively charged sodium particles, and a great big positive feedback loop is formed, with more and more sodium channels opening up on down the length of the neuron, so the electrical impulse in propagated down the neuron. Eventually, the open sodium channels at the beginning of the neuron close, and potassium channels, which let positively charged potassium particles out of the neuron, open up, eventually restoring equilibrium, or something close to it, called a “resting potential.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential#Underlying_mechanism explains things a lot better than I just did. 🙂

    Anyway, some researchers in the papers I read suspected that some kind of genetic abnormality causes the aforementioned potassium channels not to work exactly like they should. Thus, at times, potassium ions aren’t flowing out of the neuron fast enough, so the neuron takes longer to reach it’s resting potential, and so it is longer until the neuron can fire again. This results in an overall decrease in electrical activity for that neuron, since it isn’t firing as often as it should. Since it isn’t firing as often as it should, it’s not stimulating other neurons like it should, so those neurons don’t fire as often as they should either, and so the problem spreads. In the right conditions, the problem spreads a lot. Since this area of the brain is not as electrically active as it should be, blood flow to it decreases to the point that the neurons aren’t working at all like they should, and this results in the typical aura symptoms. This spreading depression of electrical activity in the brain spreads out and gets larger over time, hence the name Cortical Spreading Depression. This would also explain why my visual auras start out small and get bigger over time. When the visual funkiness stops, that just means that the CSD has left the part of your brain responsible for vision. It’s still there, somewhere else in the brain, until it eventually dies out, like ripples in a pond.

    I remember in this same class, we had a picture of a section of the brain responsible for touch sensation. You can roughly map areas of the body to this section of the brain, so you can say that such and such small part of that section is responsible for touch sensation in the foot, and another small part is responsible for touch sensation in the leg, and so on. One day, after reading that, I got one of my rarer auras that features a traveling numbness that begins in my foot and travels all the way up to my face. With that diagram of that particular section of the brain, I was able to tell which direction the CSD in my brain was traveling based on the order in which the different parts of my body were going numb! Neat!

    At one point, I found a video of and fMRI or something that showed a CSD doing its thing in the brain of someone experiencing a migraine…if I can find it again, I will post it here.

    Anyway, all this CSD-caused funkiness in the brain somehow makes some larger nerve, the name of which I can’t remember at the moment, get super sensitive, which makes other nerves in the head supersensitive as well. This results in all kinds of funs things, like being able to feel, painfully, blood flowing in the head. They theorized this hypersensivity of these nerves is what typically causes migraine pain after an aura. In case you can’t tell, I really liked Bio. Psych. 🙂

    Comment by Uncle Midriff — November 9, 2007 @ 12:12 am | Reply

  110. Damn, Uncle Midriff, a font of knowledge! Fascinating stuff. I would love to see that video if you could find it, as, I’m sure, would many others.

    Comment by Tom — November 9, 2007 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  111. I have had infrequent VM’s over the last couple of years but in the last week have had quite a few. Mine are usually a very bright zigzaggy flashing light that grows into the c shape around my eye and is very disorienting. They usually are in my right eye and last 20 – 30 minutes. I never have any actual headache pain -knock on wood – but feel a bit tired when it stops and my eyes feel very heavy. I wonder if they are related to being stressed and tired as I have been lately. It is reassuring to know other people experience this very weird sensation. They don’t frighten me any more but I would hate to have an intense one while driving! My eye doctor said they are nothing to worry about but I will monitor their frequency and intensity just in case. Thanks for the great visual representation as it is something very difficult to explain to other people!!

    Comment by Maria — November 12, 2007 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  112. I get these a lot… sometimes ni succession to oe another… can last for over an hour. My triggers seem to be: The color Blue, (especially in artificial light), alcohol, my new computer monitor screen, flickering artificial light… and I am not sure exactly what else. I can’t take any pain relievers since I am allergic to them. No Tylanol, Asprin etc. No Sulpha drugs… I seem to have a sort of behaviioral excitedness prior to an episode… not exactly manic but kind of hyper. I am exhausted following the visual migraine and can sleep for an entire day afterwords given the chance. Otherwise lots of coffee helps. Oddly enough I used to be supper sensative to caffeine until my late thirties when I started having these things. Coffee itself does not seem to trigger my CSD… It’s more the other things especially certain light frequencies it seems. You know… it’s almost follows the pattern of having a seisure. Any insite to any connection?

    Comment by Tyger — November 22, 2007 @ 3:46 am | Reply

  113. P.S. I do have some weird sodium and potassium things going on with me… unexplained hypertension since my early teens and a stroke when I was 24. I am 47 now with no further problems. My Blood Pressure consistantly runs around 136/90 or 95 regardless of how much or what kind of meds they put me on for it. My body sort of overrides them after a few months.
    I find myself eating foods high in potassium, Magnesium, citrus and protein and that reduces the occuranse of the visual migraines as well as seems to control my blood pressure. My body also does not seem to like calcium or sugar though I am not a diabetic.

    Comment by Tyger — November 22, 2007 @ 3:51 am | Reply

  114. Another entry… I was just reading back a few months on the blog and read this: yellow cheeses, wine, and chocolate – all things that have something called tiramine.
    I am allergic to all of those things… I only eat white cheese, I can eat chocolate but only if it is realllllly pure like 70% or higher. Anything less and I get this welting cystic acne. I am also allergic to smoke…
    Things like blueberries and raspberries in MASSIVE quantities seem to help reduce my visual migraines. Milk is a big NO for me.
    Anyone have good ways of dealing with the moodiness and general feeling of being detached from reality after these things? I often feel like high on something after them… I can funtion but it’s really difficult trying to get that grounded feeling back sometimes and funtion at my best for work and things.

    Comment by Tyger — November 22, 2007 @ 4:16 am | Reply

  115. I’ve just been reading and found some interesting info regarding MAO-A that relates to Maigraines, hypertension, sleeplisness, ADHD… I am wondering if lower levels of MAO-A result in CSD/Visual Migraine syndromes. Tiramine, (Tyramine?), is a substance that people would be sensative to if they were not pumping out enough MAO-A and that appearantly can lead to headaches, migranes and hypertension, increased potential for tobacco addiction, moodiness, depression as well as a sort of elated/excited/anxious feeling prior to episodes. The lack of MAO-A reduces the ability for the body to degrade Epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, etc… and an inrease in catacholamines. Lots of info out there o that.

    Comment by Tyger — November 22, 2007 @ 6:36 am | Reply

  116. Thank you so very much for putting your visual on the web site! Had my first attack last night – Friday 23rd November 2007. Scared me – no idea what was happening… been looking on the web this morning for an answer.

    Am fit and healthy have lowish blood pressure and a bit stressed at work. Have been grinding my teeth in my sleep think it my be associated. No pain just brilliant zig zag prism colours dancing around even with my eyes closed. Dont think I have ever seen such bright colours.

    Having said that hope it never happens again and thank goodness I was at home, if I’d been driving would have really freaked!.

    Comment by Paula Charlton — November 24, 2007 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  117. Hi
    It helps seeing so many others with the same problem. My VM’s have increased a lot lately which is probably due to chemotherapy but will try the magnesuim and milk thistle. I’m having about 3 per week where I used to have maybe 1 per month but it seems they always have happened in groups then not having any for months at a time.
    Have noticed some times have then after bending over and sometimes when having a little sinuis pressure.
    The diagram was great could show that to people who don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about (including my oncologist).
    Thanks for all the info and lpease email me with any chemo related stories.

    Comment by richard speare — December 1, 2007 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  118. I experiencd a visual recently ( a kind of dark curved line across my entire field of vision. A headache followed for 3 day’s ( which was unusual, Cause I usually don’t get the pain). But the most disturbing part was that the line did not disappear for almost 3 months. It obscured my vision considerably and I thought I may have experiencd a stroke. But after seeing a neurologist and opthamalogist, I was assured that it was ocular migraine. The line pops up periodically especially when I eat chocolate or cheese. Good grief, I hate that I can’t EAT CHOCOLATE any more.

    Comment by IRIS HARDIG — December 14, 2007 @ 2:44 am | Reply

  119. Iris, don’t believe the food-causes-migraine hype. I too have fallen for it and have found a lot of research lately that contradicts everything that we’ve come to learn. Basically, we’re all victim of the tendency to associate something we recently did with something bad that happened right afterwards, and it’s a logical fallacy. There is almost no research that equates chocolate, cheese, or nearly any foods with migraine. The link that some researchers keep coming back to, however, is caffeine and often also stress, and I think I have to agree. What they believe is that the migraines we get are probably on their way before we even eat the chocolate/cheese/whatever that we blame the migraines on, or we get a craving for something in particular when a migraine is coming on. I would urge everyone to read this section of this site for more – ignore the caffeine link if you want, but look at his list of triggers he has compiled. Virtually anything and everything can cause migraines, which is ludicrous. Moreover, I’ve begun eating chocolate again after nearly 18 months and have had no ill effects – and I’ve had migraines in that time with no chocolate or cheese!

    Comment by Tom — December 14, 2007 @ 9:43 am | Reply

  120. I also stopped chocolate for over a year and still had migraines, back to the chocolate.

    Comment by bam — December 15, 2007 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  121. This is exactly what happened to me last night. I have had regular migraines before, but nothing like this. I started to see a spot that looked like I had been staring at a light. I continually grew larger and into a c shape in my left eye. It was many little lines and they were all strobing. It continued even when I closed my eyes. This continued until it was covering my vision field. I was freaking out and thought I was having an aneursym or something crazy like that. It went away after about 20 or 30 minutes and then I had a slight headache on my left side. This morning I saw an Opthamologist and he said everything looked perfectly normal and told me I had had a visual migrane. Im so glad it was nothing serious. Your demonstration is almost exactly how I described it. Im so glad Im not the only one.

    Comment by Tia — December 17, 2007 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  122. On triggers, especially food & “lights”, I think pure, straight-cause-effect triggers are “over-rated”, and I think there is a temptation for sufferers and medical practioners to “explain” by trigger theory. I’m not saying SOME people do not have obvious and direct food triggers, I think its very clear that some people do. But I think there can be sort of a recall distortion. Eg, did you eat chocolate (or maybe recall the fact that your ate chocolate) because of some subconcious mood shift which was actually the precursor to the migraine aura? I’ve wondered the same about “light” or computer “triggers”. I think it can FEEL like bright or flashing lights “trigger” an aura, but maybe what is really happening is that you are recalling the bright/flashing light before the aura because you were already in a highly light-sensitive state – ie, the condition that makes you sensitive to the light is actually the first stage of the “aura” itself. However, my triggers-are-overrated-position being stated, I do think that caffeine use and stress are worth “tracking” for association with ones aura. Happy Holidays!

    Comment by JerseyGurl — December 26, 2007 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  123. Literally just logged on at work to research VMs. My son & Husband suffer with classic migraines but I had my first visual migraine about 5 years ago. Terrified that Id got a detached retina I never went to the Docs.

    Does anyone else get them in blocks. I had two 5 years ago them 6 last week, and one today.

    Comment by Karen UK — December 27, 2007 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  124. Thank you so much for this visual that I have been trying to explain to doctors for years. The only difference between my auras and the one that you show, is that mine have no color. Only a crystal kind of quality to them. But, they start in the center and move out and in the C-shape. Anyone else experience colorless auras? Thanks again. Is it okay to take this to my doctor? Finally, I can show something. Happy Holidays!

    Comment by Joy — December 27, 2007 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  125. Yes, I also had a session of vm, one time three days in a row then another a few months later the same way. Ten years went by without anymore, then I had alot of them over many months. I started taking magnesium, three tablets every night, read somewhere to try it. I get one every once in awhile now, still don’t know why we get them. Relief to find alot of other people are dealing with this , perhaps one of these days there will be an answer.

    Comment by bam — December 28, 2007 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

  126. oliver sacks’ book, “migraine” is a very good description/analysis of vm and such. nice to know we are all similar. heidi

    Comment by heidi mattson whitbread — January 1, 2008 @ 11:28 pm | Reply

  127. I just had one an hour ago, but mine start out looking like a rick rack of different colors that gradually outlines my vision with center loss of vision. I get these rarely, but this mornings was accompanied by slight nausea and some dull pain and tearing eye on the right side of my head. ..the only thing I did this am was have 2 cups of strong coffee so that probably is the culprit.

    Comment by pat — January 5, 2008 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  128. Eureka! I think I found out what I get periodically – visual migraines! Thank you for starting this thread and including the flash movie. I get them too and have always been afraid to tell someone in fear that it is something serious. My first episode/event occured when I was probably 10 years old – on the morning we were to go the circus. Since then, I’ll go several years without an event, or may have a couple a month. Mine start out in the center and then grow out to a larger and larger ring until it expands beyond the peripheral vision in about 20-30 minutes. They are more apt to occur in the morning – either before or after coffee & pastry. They may occasionally occur one to two hours after a sandwich for lunch. I mention the food because I’ve wondered if there is a dietary trigger of some sort. I do not get a headache with these. In any case, thank for posting this and allowing contributions.

    Comment by John Monaco — January 5, 2008 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

  129. I’ve been getting these “Migranes” since i was about 10 or 12, im 22 now. I actually cant see the whole right side of my laptop screen as i type. I get about 3 to 5 of these a week. Sometimes i get one only 20 minutes after the first has gone away. Mine are rarely accompanied by a headache, but when they are it hurts. I was just wondering if there is anything u can do about these other than lay down. I’ve encountered these while working, driving, snowboarding, riding my motorcycle and it freaks me out. i get them so frequently i have to drive with them. When i was younger i used to pretent that the flashy area was a weapon and i would look just to the side of someone and cover them with the flashy part and imagine it disolving them into particles. I’ve learned to live with these so called “migranes” but they still control me in some ways. I just want to know if there is any acceptable treatment that can control these. recently they seem to have gotten worse, like i said im typing with a flashing checkerboard like floating backwards C in the right side of my vision. this might sound crazy but the only thing i have found that lessens the intisity and duration is good marijuana. I would love to find a treatment that would reduce the frequency of my Vm and duration without having to indulge in an illigal substance. this took me 45 minutes to type. i think the pc screen makes it worse and after ten years of having these atleast every other day i’ve noticed that diet might be the casue but light is DEFINETLY the trigger. they happen after waking up because ur eyes havent seen light in a few hours. i also get them if i accidently glimpse at the sun without shades on. a few minutes later im having a full blown vm. anyone who has any methods of dealing with this please contact me. kirk.brister@comcast.net

    Comment by Kirk Brister — January 7, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  130. Wow! Great to know that I’m not alone. I’m 67 yrs old. I had migraine headaches for about 7 years with no visual disturbance when I was 37 thru 44. I’ve had very occaisional migraine headaches since. In Sep. the VM started. I call mine “Kalaidascope Eyes”. I don’t see color at all. It’s as though someone had taken a hammer to my lens and fractured it into irregular pieces. They come about 2x a week but only last 10mins. until today when it’s been going on for about 3 hours. My internist diagnosed visual migraines almost immediately.

    Comment by Brenda — January 7, 2008 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  131. I get this quite a bit, but I know what triggers mine: Lack of sleep + stress, a combination of both.

    Late nights plus worrying about many things will always get my in trouble with this nasty random bugger. After it is over the other eye that did not get it has a dull sore pain because it was doing all the work while the other eye was out of action. I get some nausea with it as well :/ I just really hate having the sore eyes after an attack, it ruins the whole day and won’t go away until 1 nights rest.

    And there is no cure/tablets to take to stop this but according to an eye specialist I went to, he said, “Try and blink more” hmmm…

    Comment by J — January 7, 2008 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  132. I’m also very very glad i’ve found this site.

    I’m 16, from England, and i’ve had Visual Migraines since I was about 13. I last had one on Friday Night, it was just as in the photos attatched with a comment further up. It stayed for about 20-25 minutes, and made me feel sick. It then went, despite me still having a sore feeling in my eyes. Then, a good two hours later, it returns for a split second. This scared me as I didn’t know what it was, or why I was getting them. My friends could not relate to my problem, and I thought it was serious.

    I went to Vision Express yesterday to report my problem. I was told it sounded like nothing more than a Visual Migraine, and that I had there was nothing seriously wrong with my eyes. Despite the fact I now know what the problem is, it is still to this day very scary when I undergoing having a VM, as I feel dizzy and very sick.

    If anyone has anything they could email me to help prevent, or to help me whilst in the process of having a VM, please contact me at denneh_wbafc@hotmail.com.

    Comment by Andy D — January 8, 2008 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  133. Hello,
    I am female, 29 and I have had 3 episodes of “visual migraines” in my life time, ironically, all of them happened in a High-stress time and place …

    I have a 24 year history with chronic anxiety…and Panic disorder…
    Stress can cause many different symptoms to the human body, even things like numbness and visual changes…
    The first time it happened, I thought someone drugged my drink(I worked as a bartender) My arms went lifeless, numbness in fingers, distorted vision ect…
    But with no pain…I thought I was in trouble, but it went away in 30 mins…
    The two other times it happened to me, I was also working behind the bar…
    It had to be a common trigger…{FLUORESCENT LIGHTS IN BEER COOLER}…I wear sunglasses EVERY day no matter if it is sunny or not, so I think my eyes went into literal shock when I was exposed to such bright light and triggered the halo, the numbness and the fear…

    My fiance is an MD and I asked him if he thinks I had a stroke, he said; “In order to rule it out as a stroke, You would have to sustain same symptoms for 24 hrs”…He told me it was a “MIGRAINE VARIANT”…He also told me that I would be just fine and they do NOT bring any real reason to worry or look too much into it…

    God Bless all of you, I hope everyone copes well with these strange visual happenings!!!!…
    Thanks to the person who started this post as well…
    -Sadie

    Comment by Sadie in Cleveland — January 8, 2008 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  134. I experienced my first visual migranes about 4 years ago now. It was scary as all h***!. I was in front of my computer, which was standard 10 hr a day work life, and saw that frist dot pop up in the middle of the sceen.

    Busy trying to finish a report for a meeting I wiped and the sceen and kept going. Only to realize it was growing… and strangly moving about. For a panicked moment i was sure my computer would crash and I’d be done! Haha… then I noticed when it jumped on the back of my hand when I reached out the screen: WHOA!!!

    I wiped my right eye but could still see it, so went to wipe my left and it was still there. Then I really freaked, if its not in one eye or the other… ITS IN MY BRAIN! I’m an engineer, my brain was going by now.. I could see it much as in your animation, with perhaps more of an oil sleek quality to it with rapid color and flashing sensation.

    The one thing that made sense was bleeding into some receptor nerve or processing bit in my brain and what that could lead to. I went to get up and realized I was in a cold sweat and nauceaous and when I began walking across the hall way to my mentors office I had a strange sensation of detachment from my body and movement.

    Any way long storty short, went to nurse satation, lay down in the dark for an hour, felt completely disoriented and exhausted rest of the day. Doctor and optometrist concurred it was a VM. No treatment recommended, Live With It.

    I had several other episodes and noticed in those they were precluded by the clammy cold feeling, weakness and nausea, followed by disorientation, exhaustion and zero pain.

    I am glad I found this site, most other’s i’ve read tell of the nerve spasms but always relate them to a single eye. NOT so, its in the brain. Im no doctor but I can tie my shoes.

    I am glad I now have something to show others when I try to explain what it feels like.

    OH! and one while driving… tell me about it!

    Thanks again,

    -Nen

    Comment by Nen — January 9, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  135. What an excellent video. I have been experiencing visual migraines for a couple of years now and when I had the first one found it very frightening. I have been told there is medication but as the attack comes without warning and passes off within 20 minutes or so there doesn’t seem to be much benefit in going down this road.

    Comment by MSL — January 10, 2008 @ 1:51 am | Reply

  136. MSL, there is indeed medication that is taken on an as-needed basis. The one I’m familiar with is called Maxalt and it is taken the moment you notice the aura begin. It is designed to short-circuit the migraine before it can properly begin. I have taken it a few times and it has worked quite well.

    Comment by Tom — January 10, 2008 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  137. I’m still having visual migraines which appear to happen on a random basis as I have yet to find a link. In the past I’ve put it down to chocolate, red wine, coffee, cheese, tiredness, stress etc.. but it appears that it is linked to none of these things. What I have found is that I can lessen the duration of my VM’s by staring ahead and not moving my eyeballs or vision AT ALL, and at the same time trying to blink as little as possible. This can half their duration and it’s interesting seeing the bizarre shapes move from one side of my eyes to the other until it reaches the top of my eyes and vanishes! Again, my doctor says it may be linked to a vitamin B12 deficiency I have. Anyone else suffer from this?

    Comment by Justin — January 12, 2008 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  138. Age35
    Location England

    I typed in a long list of words of my problem in Google, and this is the first site i came across. Glad it’s not just me then! It appears normal.
    I just got my 2nd this morning in one year.
    the flash video is great! well done!

    I have always described this,.as if i got lcd digits imprinted in my eye memory which diffuses the more i blink. (one time i was staring at a drum machine lcd window, very basic numbering, when i looked away i saw the screen in my eye, perfectly replicated, took forever to disappear. I thought it some how got lasered into my eye!!! haha

    O.k my 2nd encounter happened early today.
    I can tell you what happened before i got the symptoms today.

    Saturday 12th Jan (yesterday) 10am

    On the Laptop surfing (duration 11 hours inc 3 hours in pitch dark)
    & PSP online gaming (2 hours in Pitch dark in the bed.)
    Got to sleep around 3:30am

    Sunday 13th (Today)
    Wake up at 12pm ( i know, really bad move) I usually require 7 hours sleep. So i got too much sleep i reckon.
    12:30pm Back on the internet (3 hours)
    Now at the end of that seesion, i got the usual visual zig zags, just as described, slowly appearing and then branching out. Anyway i decided to go out for a walk and ended up in a warehouse shop with low lighting, this is when i got it real bad! Felt detached from my body although i could still feel sane. very weird feeling. When i went outside my vision seemed to repair itself in the natural light………..until i got home that is.

    So i sit back at the computer at 5pm no more than 15mins..and it appears again..this time with a fuzzy muddy foggy headache…pain was not acute. By now i think it’s wise to leave the computer. I lie down, take 2 pain killers and shut my eyes for 40mins. I Get up and it comes back! Only this time it goes away as i sit back at my computer. Now its 20:39pm and i’m left with a weak headache.

    Here’s some points i think had an effect to the symptoms, imo

    1. Saturday was a very dark day, very cloudy bleak from the morning on to the night…Sunday was no different!

    2. the lighting in my house is a bit dim!

    3.The Lighting in the warehouse shop was terrible, struggled to see.

    4. The only bright thing i stared at was the Computer Screen for MANY hours 🙂

    5.Absolutely no sunlight seen in the last 48hrs or more.
    Anyway i know its something to do with my computer screen in my case.

    6. Feeling tired. bad sleep patterns.

    note: i did try to txt someone on my mobile at the Warehouse, which left imprints in my eye…anything upsets the vision while it’s at it’s peak.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing the problems here!!

    Best wishes,
    Pin

    Comment by Pin — January 13, 2008 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  139. WOW, thank you! I love the Internet! I am a 53 year old female. l just experienced this for the first time yesterday & it lasted the about 20 – 30 minutes, like most every one posted here. It wasn’t quite as intense as portrayed in the video as the zig zags were a little smaller, but its amazing adaptation! It was also very scary, I thought I may be on the verge of having a stroke or seizure but there were no other symptoms. When I called my primary care giver there office was about to close and the nurse recommended that I go to emergency room. I decided not to since it stopped and did more online research. I still plan to see a doctor. I read these similar visual symptoms could be caused by eye jell change as you age (which will go way) besides the possible retina detachment.

    Since the 70’s I have experienced floaters, tracers, auras, and fluorescent color flashing pattern movements but mostly in a dark room/night. I always thought it was just the negative and long term side effects for being so stupid to take LSD in the early 70’s. I also experience a auditory phoofing type noise in my head that comes and goes. Like a car passing quickly by (3-4 times) and it stops. If I have a few glasses of wine it sometimes bring on this noise. I have just become use to them but now it feels like they’re getting worse. I am wondering if any of this could be related to a couple of bad head concussions I had as a teenager and young adult? I am also wondering if I should make a appointment with a neurologists or a eye doctor/specialist? Any suggestions? I have health insurance but I still have to pay a portion of the visits. Thanks again for your wonderful animation, It was so hard to explain to my daughter!

    Comment by Roxanne — January 13, 2008 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  140. I GET MIGRANES I am 24 and have been taking Topamax daily for the last several years. Others I have spoken to about migraines always speak about how they get sick and how bad their head hurts. That used to happen to me in the beginning but now they are more visual. I get a migraine about 2 times a month and still-after several years it is the scariest thing I have to go through. Today on my way to work I got a visual migraine, personally I think the visual migraine is the worse because it is so scary which enhances your nerves which brings on a worse headache and other side effects. I stated to think I was the only person that gets these crazy visions- I guess not. Thank you for this web site, it will help me explain what happens too me on a monthly basis since people who do not get migraines have no idea and think I am crazy. Thank you again.

    Comment by Leigh-Ann Hamlin — January 15, 2008 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  141. I also experience these crazy things. I have come to associate them with my caffeine intake. I know this sounds crazy, and it has never been studied to my knowledge. But… when I drink caffeine I seem to experience one of these within a few days.
    So.. I try to stay away from caffeinated drinks and then I don’t have any problems. Just my own experience, but if it helps anyone else…great.
    I know lots of people that drink lots and lots of pop. I guess I’m just one of those people who it doesn’t agree with.
    AND…if it works to help prevent these VM, then I’ll try it. It seems to work for me.

    Comment by Ranae — January 15, 2008 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  142. There are actually quite a few studies suggesting a very strong link between caffeine and migraines, especially “caffeine withdrawal” and migraines. I’m also a soda-junkie and I know that if I go too long after my normal “soda time” that I can feel headaches creeping up on me (not necessarily a migraine, however.) I would urge anyone stopping by to visit the Caffeine and Migraines page for a LOT more info.

    Comment by Tom — January 15, 2008 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  143. Thank you so much for doing this website. With the picture you show on this site, I can finally show people what I go through. All though mine are not exactly like that, but they are similiar.
    Thank you, again.
    Laura Campbell

    Comment by Laura Campbell — January 20, 2008 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  144. I too have these. For years I thought they were related to high blood pressure; maybe they were I don’t know. But I know longer have the high blood pressure and I still have them from time to time. Sometimes I will have several over a month or so, then I will not have another for maybe even a year. I can always tell when one is coming on before I see the aura because I get the feeling that I’m looking at something but I really can’t see it well; it is hard to describe, and it is hard to read, it’s like I’m looking past what I’m looking at. This is before the colors and flashing start, then the actual visual migraine lasts 20-30 min. I have never had pain with them.

    Comment by Angie — January 23, 2008 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  145. Yes — this is perfect. This is exactly what it’s like. I’m having one right now and I’m literally comparing it to your little movie. Mine’s slightly more silvery, but you’ve really captured the nature of the flickery character, and the movement across field of vision.

    Comment by sugarbat — January 24, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  146. This has happened to me about 5 times in my life. I am 27, healthy (low blood pressure) and rarely get migraine headaches. When I went to the neurologist, he told me it was common and nothing to worry about, and gave me pills called Migrerelief. I wonder what is a trigger. Could it be alcohol or sugar? Mine seem to come when I’m feeling rundown or hungover.

    Comment by trese — January 25, 2008 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  147. This started to happen to me after i had my first child. and when trying to explain it to people it was almost impossible. People often looked at me like I was crazy. I am glad to see this site so I can show people what really goes on.

    Comment by jessica — January 27, 2008 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  148. I had very painful Migraines when I was a child. Had to have lights out ,vomiting.sometime hours before they went away.I went to the physcian but was assured that i did not have a brain tumor.Always the first thought I think.They seem to have abated for a number of years still had migraines around my period but not like originally.Then after menopause they went away ..I thought… only to return visually ..They can come on with a blind spot then flashing zig zag lines a feeling of uneasiness guess it scares me ..I first thought they maybe an approaching stroke too and took just 2 asprin for safety..they seem to actually help make them go away faster. not sure what causes them but I think they can be food related..waiting too long to eat,, too much sugar..chocolate… ..allergy related and I have had them from too much television,and computer ..the scariest one I ever had was after a day with the computer!! I will say this thank God for the lack of pain ..it was horrible in the past. I have tried over and over to pay attention to the causes and have been able to keep the attacks at bay for long periods of tme . Good luck to anyone who suffers from this malady.. There is one other thing ..I have often wondered if it could be some mild form of epilepsy…considering the effect of bright flickering lights ..just a thought.

    Comment by Faith — January 28, 2008 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

  149. Yeah, I was literally laughing when I watched the animation because it is the perfect representation of the occurance. I’m glad I’m not abnormal. Mine are a little zig-zagged, as others mentioned. They sometimes take on the appearance of x’s in the pattern (imagine a C shape of xxx’s). I find that hunger and fatigue will generally trigger, as will walking into a different type of light. I get them when entering stores or flourescent lit rooms.

    Comment by Snacks — January 28, 2008 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  150. Has anyone heard of any study being done on these? It is amazing how many people get the same thing. All the doctors seem to say, don’t worry. I have been taking three tablets of magnesium every night, read that might help. I had a session of them three days in a row, then nothing for ten years. Within the past two years they have come back again. I started the magnesium and haven’t had many. Thank heavens I don’t get pain with them. I do get regular migraines but have them under control with Zomig, wonderful pill.

    Comment by bam — January 29, 2008 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  151. Mine are the same – except bright flashing lightening like lights. Gives me funny feeling to look at clip

    Comment by Eileen Rich — January 30, 2008 @ 1:12 am | Reply

  152. I have had these visual migraines since I was 16 (am now 51). Began one day at school when I didn’t yet know I needed glasses and was straining to look at board. Continued on and off for next 10 years or so. Sometimes once a month sometimesas much as 3 times a day. When I was about 24 I went to a doctor asking if I had migraines but he said it was psychological as I had no real headache (only feeling of dullness or pressure) and no high blood pressure. After that I kept my affliction to myself. They stopped when I was 28 immediately after I had laser surgery for eyes and began suddenly again 10 years later when my eyes again needed glasses for driving etc. Continued to this day but I seem to know the trigger at last. Usually the computer – especially if glare from window behind – or if I work on the computer for long periods. It happened once when I was jogging at dusk and the street lamps (round orange lights) were stark against grey sky. Other triggers is when looking at any glare such as sun on white building or beach sand. Although still happens despite sunglasses.

    The pattern of lights has changed over years. Now it is like the video clip but when I was young it began with ‘dot’ and light (bright and dazzling) moved across until whole vision was obscured. It would take form of ECG type print out or a lie detector printout – jagged lines which moved up and down and got bigger and bigger.

    Interestingly, once when my children were small I was half way through one of these episodes and they were squabbling about something. Totally irritated I yelled at them to be quiet and the migraine disappeared without going the full cycle. Possibly caused by increased pressure as I yelled? I’ve tried to repeat yell since (people looking would think me mad so only tried it at home) but it never worked again to stop the episode. Guess you have to be really cross.

    I have only had few frightening ‘side effects’ re memory loss. Once I had two in one day and looked at my cel phone name list and didn’t know anyone on it. Asked my son ‘Who’s Ania?’ and saw by his reaction that he thought I’d gone crazy. Ania is my oledest son’s girlfriend of 3 years. Scary. But my doctor told me this is quite usual. Thanks for the site – at last I know what I have – and others also suffer the same

    Comment by Eileen Rich — January 30, 2008 @ 1:24 am | Reply

  153. Thanks to everyone for sharing. I have had visual migraines since I was 12 years old. The first one was the worst of them all. I got the flashing strobe light, numbmess on half my tongue, gums, fingers, and hand, severe disorientation (I couldn’t even tell the lady in the office what grade I was in) and vomitting. My first migraine lasted for 3 days. It felt as though somebody had taken my brain out of my head and put back in the wrong way or something. My mom was so freaked out she immediate had me see a neurologist. I received a cat scan and EKG. The neurologist found nothing alarming and diagnosed me with “Neurological Migraines” whatever that means. 🙂 Anyhow, I still get them. In fact, I have had 2 in the last 3 days. I find stress to be a major factor. They are very scary, and the disorientation and blindness are the most frightening aspects of the episode to me. My headaches are not as severe anymore. I am happy that part has at least mellowed out. I hate that feeling when one starts coming on. You just know you’re in for it. Today it was just me and my 3 year old son. I started getting one when we got home from iKea. I felt so bad today because all I could do was keep putting on movies for him while I hid under a blanket. I am finally starting to feel normal again. Now the aftermath just leaves me feeling like I have a really bad hang over.

    One thing that really helps when I start feeling one coming on,
    STRONG cup of coffee (helps open the blood vessels while they are constricting).

    Thanks again to everyone for sharing their stories. It makes me feel less alone and afraid.

    Comment by Lyndress — February 2, 2008 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  154. I too am very glad to have found this site. I was at work sitting at my desk, chatting happily and laughing with one or two colleagues, when I realised I had flashing of colour leaping around. Almost like when you close your eyes really hard and there are all sorts of funny shapes which are still there for a little while on opening your eyes. I felt panic rising as I had never had anything like it before, and like many, thought I may be having a haemorrhage or stroke. It went away almost as quickly as it had come, but I felt really unnerved and worried. I have never suffered with migraine, but over the last few days I have had a couple of episodes of pain over the eyes, rather than headeaches, and wonder if there is any association. I did go rushing off to the Optician this evening, and was reassured my eyes were fine. She did advise getting my blood pressure/cholestrol checked – has anyone else found these are contributary factors? Thank you everyone.

    Comment by Linni 53 — February 5, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  155. Your visual was interesting. I have these types of migraines as well, except mine are not in color. They are just like “white
    noise” and they tend to stay to the outside of my vision and are more prominent in one eye than the other.

    Comment by Beverly — February 5, 2008 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  156. OMG, Thanks so much for your site. I thought I was going blind, mine started when I found out that my blood pressure was too high. I have had 3 episodes, and each time, I have had coffee an hour before they start. I think I will lay off coffee for a couple weeks to see if there is a connection. I will post later to let you know if that my be what helps trigger my visual migraine.

    Comment by Celeste — February 6, 2008 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  157. I’m 33, over the years I’ve experienced several visual disturbances, usually blank spots that ‘ping’ into one or both of my eyes.. Not colored or rainbow – just ‘blank’ spots as if the visual data wasn’t being processed in my brain. (an example would be that if I placed my hand in the ‘spot’ parts of it would simply cease to exist.

    One time last year I was walking down the street in NYC shopping, and all of a sudden I had a funny feeling and then much of the street ceased to exist – or rather a ‘fog’ overlaid my vision to the point that I felt I was going blind. It cleared up within a few minutes – 2 min at the most.

    The worst so far was just 2 days ago, I went outside in the morning and saw the ‘spot’ but the spot kept expanding to the point where it blinded me, (slowly over the course of 20 min) I saw patterns and colors on the outside edge of the ‘fog’ and it was very disturbing – much like some mushrooms I once took when younger. Patterns and ‘nothing’.. I thought I was going blind and freaked out..

    I also suffer panic disorder and so I quickly took a Xanax and had a friend calm me down. It was really embarrassing, but I knew it was neurological because the blindness was in both eyes not just in one. Would suck to go blind.

    Within 20 min the fog lifted and patterns faded and the Xanax knocked me out – when I awoke all was fine, but in truth I dread the next occurrence.

    I live out of the country right now but was about to fly to Bangkok to get a full scan, thyroid check and all the rest when I came across this board and found you guys have the same symptoms.

    I ‘think’ mine is brought on by eye strain – but have no proof – each time I have one it seems to be after I wear my contacts ridiculously carelessly.. Like one week contacts for 3 weeks, or daily wear for 4 days.. So now I’m taking better care with them.

    Also it seems to come only when I’m really fatigued or in bright light. I always wear my sunglasses now and give time for my eyes to adjust.

    Just for interest of comparison – I’m fair haired and light skinned.

    Comment by Rice — February 6, 2008 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  158. Isn’t it all very strange? It’s certainly a very new experience for me. I went to the GP today to get my blood pressure checked out as suggested by the Optician, and lo and behold my blood pressure was higher than normal. Quite unusual. After giving him symptoms of my `flashes’ and headaches, he has prescribed Lispronil 5 mg. Nothing else for it, I am going on a strict diet to try and lose a couple of stone, which I am sure will help!

    Comment by Linni 53 — February 6, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  159. OMGGG i been having this for years…at first a specialist told me it was sumtin 2 do wid my hormones n i sud grow out of it (was16yrs old then)….THANKKK YOU SOO MUCH MATEEEE

    Comment by D_D — February 8, 2008 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  160. I think this is so strange how we all seem to have this visual Migraine issue and there is nothing anyone has found to help us. I know in my case it is really interfering with my life. I never know when one is going to come on. The other day I was sitting having lunch with my husband and there was a frame on the wall that was glowing/flickering, it was driving me so crazy I had to get up and change spots with him, I was afraid a migraine attack was going to occur. If anyone finds anything that helps with these visual migraines please let me know. I am on my way to the eye doctor after work to see if he can recommend something but so far every doctor I have talked to is not really that helpful regarding the visual migraine.

    Comment by Leigh-Ann — February 13, 2008 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  161. Thank you–that’s exactly what I’ve been seeing for 20+ years!
    But everyone should know that all visual hallucinations like this are not harmless migraines! You should see the pattern in both eyes, and the pattern should grow and then wane. If it gets stuck or is one one eye it could be a stroke, tumor, or detached retina. Same thing with other physical symptoms: for ex. sometimes at the height of my aura I get a tingling feeling in my face that “marches” down my neck, arm, and finally fades out after reaching my fingers. It’s on one side, which is bad, but it follows a “Jacksonian March” pattern and fades away, which is good. But the first time it happened to me you better believe I was communicating my symptoms to everyone around me as they were occurring, just in case I ended up stroked out on the floor.
    Rule is, you should keep note of your symptoms and read up on “classical migraine” (the kind w/aura). If you have an aura that is very different than what you’re used to, go to the doctor, fast. Dr. Sacks book “Migraine” helped me a lot.

    Comment by Jane — February 14, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  162. I am so happy I found this site!!! Finally, I can show my friends and family what I have been talking about all this time! My auras started April last year just before I turned 25. I’ve had many episodes so far, and they look more less like the example above. From the begining, it seemed like the auras were somehow conected to the sinus headaches I had been getting. More interestingly, they went away while and after I took antibiotics for sinus infections. I’ve had my brain and sinus CT scans done – I only found out I have a deviated septum – could that cause the auras? My auras are not followed by headaches. I only feel a little bit of presure in my forehead. Also, I’ve noticed they happen in the mornings more than any other time of the day. Twice, I woke up just to open my eyes to the aura happening. What do you guys think? Thanks:)

    Comment by Ania — February 14, 2008 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  163. For years I have had VMs followed within 30 minutes or so by painful headaches (forehead pressure and really bad pain at the base of my skull – medulla oblongata?) that lasted for several hours. I didn’t relate the two for several years and then I realized one day the aura might be a warning so I took Excedrin whenever the aura started. Amazingly, the headaches became much less painful and then almost stopped entirely! I still get the auras but on a very infrequent basis and keep a bottle of Excedrin handy at my desk, in the car, and at home just in case. It works for me and my ex-wife (I don’t think the migraines were caused by being married to each other – LOL).

    Comment by Mike Welham — February 15, 2008 @ 8:10 am | Reply

  164. I have flashes of no color,in same of white zig zags going down ,both eyes and if I take a B/p pill it suddenly stops,I have kidney probelms and wonder if it could be related.

    Comment by Maemee Jackson — February 16, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  165. please comment,if any one has this.

    Comment by Maemee Jackson — February 16, 2008 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  166. I was in Las Vegas when this happened to me. I was watching T.V. and noticed that I was having trouble seeing the picture. This is my second time that this has happened to me. The first time was about 7 years ago while at work. It makes it very difficult to drive a car! I never had all those colors appear. To me it was clear prism effect with the blinking lights. I am glad that it wasnt anything more serious. This only lasted about 30 minutes and slowly I noticed it had dissapeared. I hope that it never happens again!

    Comment by Sue Fazio — February 17, 2008 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  167. I have become obsessed with my vms. I always wonder when the next one will happen. I can not help but think that there is something really serious going on but it does help to read everyone’s own experiences with these. I wish mine would go away forever, but I know they are a part of my life. They cause a lot of stress and anxiety which I think makes them happen more. Apparently they are much more common than I originally thought and to hear people say they have had them for 20+ years should make me feel better that they are not a forewarning to something dire. I don’t think I will ever truly feel better about these things but hopefully one day I can get through one without feeling terrified.

    Comment by Lorrie — February 19, 2008 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  168. My first one was very severe. The symptoms lasted severly for about 2 or 3 hours and smaller sections took 3 or 4 years to dissipate. I still have a small blind spot at the center of where it was.

    I get repeats about 2 or 3 times a year but now they fade away in about 30 minutes.

    They say it is a blood vessel spasm. I don’t know if it is significant but my first one happened while flying across the country – I wonder if air pressure changes were involved?

    Comment by Ann-Marie — February 21, 2008 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  169. Hi Everyone, I’ve been reading all the letters and feel so much better as I had my first vm 8yrs ago and at the time thought that I was having a stroke or a brain hemorrhage. I made that wonderful trip to the Dr’s to explain the fact that I had a serious medical problem going on, to be told of course that I had not, but I insisted on being referred to a specialist who then sent me for a scan. It took 3mths for the appointment to come through and by that time I had begun to suffer from anxiety attacks which had been triggered by my first vm. The results showed nothing but the fact I had suffered a vm. I never suffered another vm until fast forward to Feb 08 and I have been suffering with a vm everyday for the last month and I might add have been very stressed, luckily have not suffered with them at work until guess what I had one yesterday at work. Mine usually last about 20-45min and I noticed my colleagues faces all becoming distorted and so I thought please not now as they will all think I am mad, so I kept quiet and tried to work my way through it without them seeing me blinking and shutting one eye and then the other hoping my vm will go away.
    Today is Saturday 23rd Feb and am so happy to see that I am not alone with my vm’s as reading from the many comments we all suffer similar symptom’s with our visual migraines.

    Comment by Michele — February 23, 2008 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  170. I add my thanks for the animation. It gives a sense of the experience better than any explanation I have read. I had my first visual migraine yesterday afternoon at work and thought I was going blind or was about to have a stroke. I felt very disoriented and panicky. Thank God the doctor at the urgent care center immediately knew what it was. I really feel for those of you who had to wait years to find out what was going on.

    Comment by Texan Penny — February 23, 2008 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  171. I just wanted to add some thoughts about the vms. I had a series of them twelve years ago, three days and three vms. I saw a doctor and was told what they were. This was something new because I had regular migraines that were two days of pain each time. I had no pain when these happened. A few months later the same series happened, then no more for ten years. In the past two years I get them off and on. Right now I am going through alot of stress related to the health of one of my children and now the vms have returned which leads me to think they are related to stress not food.

    Comment by bam — February 26, 2008 @ 8:39 am | Reply

  172. Stress and sleep seem to be my two issues. Too much of the former, too little of the latter, either together or apart, and I’m in for a bad time.

    Comment by Tom — February 26, 2008 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  173. Bam – had another one yesterday. I was flying so I had my contacts in for nearly 24 hours, fell asleep on a couch in the waiting-lounge, woke up a few hours later with REALLY dry eyes (and no drops).. 20 min later on came the classic backwards C (that expands) in both eyes and data not being processed right.. Inability to focus or read. Took about 30 min to mostly go away.

    On the plane by that point – started to come back again so I took out my contacts and tried to get some sleep.

    Interestingly once my contacts were out the aura pretty much stopped. Have been wearing my glasses since.

    This time had a pretty good dose of pain around my eyes (like if you have a bad fever) and transitory pain in the middle of my eyebrows and surely on the right side of my head, and the back as well where my spine connects. before I never had associated pain.

    Also had an upset stomach this time. One day later my eyes still hurt and still a little sick from it. Just going to chill out.

    Man I hate this stuff.. But once again it’s good to hear I’m not alone.

    Comment by Rice — February 27, 2008 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  174. So the migraine with aura went away 4 days ago but i’ve started to have new symptoms – generalized pain behind my eyes, and pretty bad motion sickness. Taking a subway or a taxi can make me really feel like I want to puke (but I don’t) I also have a feeling of unreality, or just something being wrong with my head.

    Should these symptoms last this long? Anyone else have vertigo or motion sickness after migraines?

    Comment by Rice — March 2, 2008 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

  175. Vertigo is something I frequently had until I got on Topamax. I can’t recall having had vertigo since then, now that I think about it, but it is a frequent issue that migraineurs suffer. The rest of the symptoms, I don’t know. Have you seen a doctor about your migraines, Rice? If not, please do so, and get a recommendation for a neurologist if you’re not already seeing one. Family doctors are not cut out for these types of issues.

    Comment by Tom — March 3, 2008 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  176. I have vertigo symptoms as well and lately have had that feeling that something is wrong with my head (not crazy) – it is very hard to explain. I did just get over the flu so I hope it is inner ear related. Look up info on migraine related vertigo or migraine associated vertigo. Maybe that will answer some of your questions or at least give you some info to take to your doctor.

    Comment by Lorrie — March 3, 2008 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  177. Rice, I also think Tom gave you some good advice. Everyone that gets migraines should see a doctor and make sure nothing else is going on. My daughter is using Topamax but I use Zomig and it has changed my life dealing with the painful migraines. I don’t get pain when the vms happen. It is a relief finding this site and realizing you are not alone in dealing with these.

    Comment by bam — March 3, 2008 @ 6:31 pm | Reply

  178. Hi there – this is a very good description of what I have had some half a dozen times in my life – today being the last. I am 49 and my first occurred during the end of my first pregnancy. I have had two in the last three months – I am in the experiencing the peri-menopause at present so for me it looks likely to be hormone related? Found this site after doing a google search and thought I would leave feedback to help if anyone out there is doing any research. Today I experienced the visual disturbance for around an hour or a little more and now that it has gone I have a mild headache – and feel a little queasy also. Glad to find out at last that there is a name for what I have – the first time I thought it might be something to do with pre-eclampsia and have often wondered what the cause is.

    Comment by kay — March 4, 2008 @ 5:09 am | Reply

  179. Had migraine headaches since puberty, they turned to visuals at menopause. I am now 88 and beginning a new phase— wallpaper visuals. An all-over line pattern covers everything in the three primary colors, or a 3-day tiny round light pattern in red light bounces up and down over everything. They have worked on this in Europe, but I haven’t heard of this being researched in America. This started out in a large pattern, now are a small pattern. Some claim that poisoning is involved, others say allergy. Dunno. Leaves me feeling drained and worn out.

    Comment by Frieda Bursten — March 6, 2008 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

  180. I have just started to suffer from these visual migraines, and for me it is almost as if I am looking through a piece of shattered glass, so that I see the same image broken and distorted a hundred times over.

    No-one at work has come across the condition before, so they don’t understand that when I’m having an episode I really can’t see anything to be able to work and do have to just sit it out and wait for it to pass. Hopefully now I can direct them here and they might get a better idea of what is going on when i tell them that I have to take a time out.

    Comment by Gavin — March 9, 2008 @ 3:38 am | Reply

  181. I’m 33 and I too have been having the distortion with-out any pain for a few years, though after an attack, there is a feeling of ‘brian’ exhaustion.

    I have discovered that the distortion happens most times after I’ve been to the gym and after sex. I though it could be related to blood pressure, but the doc says that mine is OK.

    It’s is an odd thing!

    I hope this info helps.

    Comment by James — March 10, 2008 @ 8:54 am | Reply

  182. Has anyone found a site where it tells of anyone working on this ?It is amazing how many people all over the world are experiencing these, yet little seems known about them.

    Comment by bam — March 10, 2008 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  183. I had TWO in a row tonight, for the first time. Classic precursors for me are hunger, stress and changes in lighting. I had one and decided to ignore it, go about my business, which was a nap in the sun. It went through the typical cycle but a small spec remained (like the spec that you see at the beginning). That spec turned into another episode. I became furious. It was almost as if I didn’t give the first one enough attention so it had to rebel!!

    So, if this is a spasm of constricting blood vessels, let’s do our own brainstorming. Isn’t that a caffeine thing? I had half a glass of Coke today and a couple chocolates but have had waaay more caffeine than that in the past and not had an episode. I have also been dehydrated today.

    This week, I have a break from classes. Since I’ll be research deprived for the next 7 days, I’m going to take it upon myself to do some investigating about this disturbance of ours. I’ll let you all know what I find.

    -Jessica

    Comment by Snacks — March 12, 2008 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  184. A moment ago I started my second ever VM. It is weird to say the least. It seems to only be in my left eye mainly although my right socket is paining without the visual. When I press on my sinus points at the bridge of my nose it kind of goes away. As I relax while doing it it helps a lot and seems to be more effective.
    Jessica’s caffeine thought is interesting because I don’t drink or eat any caffeine except last night was the first time in over three months that I had chocolate about 57 grams. I might be a little dehydrated, but also I have been on the computer a lot lately which is often not the case.
    Jessica I hope this helps with your research. God luck.
    -Laura

    Comment by Laura — March 13, 2008 @ 7:08 am | Reply

  185. Bam: Keep an eye on The Migraine Aura Foundation, which is Dr. Klaus Podoll’s research site. Lots of interesting stuff there.

    Laura: the nerves involved in the migraines that many of us experience actually pass through the sinus cavity, which is why many of of us experience sinus pain and pressure. As that links states, it’s unusual for a headache to accompany sinus problems, so most likely it’s a migraine. Weird, but true.

    Comment by Tom — March 13, 2008 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  186. It was great reading people´s experience – I didn´t feel so alone with my problem. I was getting really worried and trying to explain my experience to a GP in an accident and emergency unit made me feel like a neurotic over imaginative woman – he was really unsympathetic. I also saw a C with both eyes, which distorted my vision like a broken mirror. The C was black and white, the white being a strong pulsating light. I couldn´t see to my left and the rest was distored. After 15 minuites it went – the C slowly got larger and moved out of my vision, only to return very faintly a few minuites later but it didn´t last. I really freaked out. I still don´t know whether to see a neurologist or not? I just panic thinking that maybe I have some neurological disorder. Only twice before when I was pregnant have I suffered from visual migraines, but the normal painful migraines I get very often, especially recently, atleast a few times a month. I´ve tried to associate things that may trigger them off, but really cannot find any single thing that stands out. I just hope it doesn´t happen when I´m driving.

    Comment by Mac — April 3, 2008 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  187. I just had a VM. Mine came on after a very long run. Does anyone else get them after exercise?

    Comment by Tash — April 4, 2008 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  188. I get these too from time to time but never with any pain. I always describe the distortion as looking through a pair of bifocals sideways but I like the broken mirror analogy much better. Mine are much like the flash illustration except that mine start as a bright spot in my field of vision which grows into a worm shape with the colour cycling in a sort of zig-zag shape within the worm. Very hard to describe. The worm, as I like to call it, then expands to either a somewhat C shaped or somewhat S shaped and is almost always from my left side. I never get any blurriness with them, just a definite shift in vision like I’m looking through a broken mirror. After about a half-hour, though, it goes away. I typically get one VM worm in my attacks but on very rare occasions will have 2 worms that take shapes of their own but will always cycle in the same colour pattern and colour sequence. It started getting VMs after I had a really bad fall in the park a couple of years ago. Since going to my current chiropractor, my VMs have reduced significantly and he seems to think they’re caused by my upper neck being out somehow (I can’t explain it like he can, sorry).

    Thank you SO much for that illustration, though. I’ve bookmarked this site so now I can show people what I go through when I have a VM attack.

    Comment by Linda — April 5, 2008 @ 11:06 pm | Reply

  189. Tom,

    Thank you for this animation! It’s difficult to describe to people; I appreciate that I can send them to this page so they can see what it is that I see when I get these.

    I get ’em about once a quarter or less, w/ no pain (sometimes a little, later on… but I think that’s unrelated tension headaches I get). It used to freak me out but now I accept it as part of my life. Mine start in the right eye, last 20 minutes, and I just lie down in a dark room and wait it out. It’s a pretty light show. 🙂

    Some other issues that thought I’d mention: I do get tension headaches; the best cure is a good strong massage. I have neck issues. I am a software engineer, looking at computer screens all day (text; not graphics). I have a “floater” in my right eye (the main aural migraine eye) that has been there about 22 yrs. I have gotten the aural migraines about the last 5 or 8 yrs or so.

    Oh and Bob44 mentioned sun-sneezes. I totally get those as well. Doesn’t everyone? 🙂

    Comment by Darby Magill — April 7, 2008 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  190. I too have these….just had one this morning, and asked a friend to look at my pupils which of course were normal. I described it to her and she told me what it was; she knew because she has them too! When it first happened to me, I thought for sure I was having a stroke. IAlthough disturbing, I find myself following the lights with my eyes, but they are always drifting out of my field of view to never be able to focus on them and see them clearly. Do you know what I mean? Thinking about it now, I find that they are brought on by stress and lack of sleep. At least in my experience!

    Comment by Virgina — April 8, 2008 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  191. Tash- Ive noticed that 8 out of 10 times that I get a VM, it’s after a long run, which sucks because Im an avid runner. Ive always ran 5-8 miles a day, but ever since the VMs have came, Ive started to cut down on my running solely because of the fear/drama of getting a VM attack.

    Comment by bryan — April 9, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  192. When I first started getting these I would rest, now I will keep doing what I can and they just finally go away. Of course some things can’t be done, but I still stay busy. The one thing I won’t do anymore is drive, pulling over to the side is the safest

    Comment by bam — April 9, 2008 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  193. Tash and Bryan – I have had VM’s most of my life, but just recently put a name to it. It always seems that I get them after a decent amount of physical exertion, extended swimming or running. I’ve been reading on the subject but your accounts are the first that coincide with mine (I was thinking I was imagining it). It also seems that I will get them more often if I’m dehydrated. Have either of you noticed anything like this, or is that part actually just my imagination?

    (Snacks – I noticed you also mentioned being dehydrated.)

    Comment by Darla — April 9, 2008 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  194. Thank you for posting this! Just today i had what appears to be my second visual migraine nd had a full blown panic attack right along with it!! I feel so mcuh better reading what everyone else wrote here.

    Comment by Cathy — April 10, 2008 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  195. Darla- You’re not imagining it, lol. I mostly always get a VM about 1 hour after long runs only. I cant say that one ever came after any other exercise such as football (which I play alot). As for the dehydrated part, I drink lots and lots of water and gatorade a day so Im rarely dehydrated, only usually when I have a cold.

    Comment by bryan — April 10, 2008 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  196. I have been a sufferer for approx 15yrs used to be one perhaps every couple of months but in the past 4 months l am getting them every other day, sometimes in both eyes together the docter has given me paramax tablets but do not work l don’t know how they can stop something when you don’t know when they are going to start how long does it take a pill to get into your system, l have just been diagnosed with glucauma the doctor says there is no connection does anybody know of any treatment

    Comment by joyce bell — April 14, 2008 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  197. Joyce, I also have glaucoma and my doctor told me the same thing. The first experience with the vms came about eight months prior to being diagnosed. I had a few episodes and then none for about ten years. Around a year ago they came back. I never know when one will happen. I did see a doctor and decided against medicine. I do believe stress is one factor. After reading online I am amazed and relieved how many people all over the world are dealing with them.

    Comment by bam — April 15, 2008 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  198. I’m 58 and have had horrendous migraines even as a child. The past six years I have had visual migraines without pain most of the time. I have all the symptoms everyone has described. They seem to occur when I am most stressed out. I have also had 2 episodes of double vision which scared the daylights out of me! My opthamologist told me I was experiencing a visual migraine and not to worry. I was so afraid my eyes would not come back to normal and I’d be crosseyed for the rest of my life! My husband told me that my eyes weren’t actually crossed during this episode…it was just a visual effect. These are pretty scarey and I’m glad I happened onto this site to see that I’m not alone.

    Comment by BL Grupe — April 22, 2008 @ 6:00 am | Reply

  199. I’m 48 and started getting htere visual migraines about 3 maybe 4 years ago. Mine start in the upper right corner of my vision and then spread out to evetually make a circle around my vision. I have kept a diary and tried to determine what could be triggering them but I can find no dicernable link. Sometimes they happen when I am just getting up and haven’t been looking at anything. Sometimes they happen when I am watching tv, sometimes I’m just walking along. I get no headache with them but lately I feel so drained afterwards. I have to go take a nap. I had one this morning after a good nights sleep and ended up going back to bed for several hours. I’ve tried every kind of migraine medication known to man but nothing seems to help stave off that drained feeling. My doctor told me the same thing, nothing to be concerned about. Easy for him to say. I hate having them. I aslo get a very tired feeling in my eyes afterwards. It’s like I have been straining to look at something in the dark and now they feel tired too. Like the mucsles in my eyeballs are exhausted.

    Comment by Adele — April 23, 2008 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  200. Bam thks for your reply,sorry you have glucoma to,but l do think as you say stress is a big factor for visual migraine’s, we shall all have to relax more, not as easy as it sounds, good health to all my fellow sufferers.

    Comment by joyce bell — April 24, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  201. Joyce, today it is different for glaucoma patients, it is not a sentence to going blind, use your drops or have the lazer if needed. it is monitored by your doctor, usually every three months and kept under control.

    Comment by bam — April 25, 2008 @ 7:51 am | Reply

  202. […] Well not blind so much as living in a shimmery underwater multicolour world. Turns out it’s visual migraine – clicky for an excellent animation that pretty much exactly mimics what happened to me. Rather […]

    Pingback by Sianio » Blog Archive » Aura — May 2, 2008 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  203. Thanks for the excellent site. Had my first VM ever today (hopefully my last) while teaching a class – it looked identical to your animation so I was relieved to find out what it was. I’ve had regular migraines in the past but never with any kind of visual disturbance before.

    Just as an aside, a few people have mentioned camera flashes, computer games etc. as possible triggers. Just before I had mine, as I turned to look at the class I accidentally glanced at the projector above my head which had an incredibly bright bulb in it.

    Comment by Sianio — May 2, 2008 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  204. I am having one right now and that is it. Mine always follow with a huge headache…I have had more in the last few months then ever. Not sure the cause, will look..

    Comment by Leslie — May 3, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  205. Mine occur at random…. however they seem to happen more when I’m tired. The example matches mine. Usually not a really bad headache occurs but some discomfort. I find that my peripheral vision is affected and have trouble seeing to drive or work on the computor.

    Comment by Rob — May 9, 2008 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  206. I haven’t read all the blogs but I noticed that I will get migraines after eating Milk Chocolate. 5 Milk Chocolate Hershey’s Kisses is sometimes all that it takes and I’ll be seeing twinkling lights and have a splitting headache for hours. It took me some time to figure this out. But I would eat chocolate while working at the computer and started getting headaches. Then eating chocolate at other times and again. So putting two plus two together equaled headaches… Do an internet search on it. Maybe this is also the reason for some of the peoples problems here. Chocolate! Could be also caffeine and dehydration. Dark Chocolate doesn’t seem to do that to me unless I eat a lot and that is hard since it is so much stronger tasting that I don’t eat as much probably also more pure. I hope this helps some of you.

    Comment by Bapster — May 11, 2008 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  207. Not to dispute you, Bapster, but in the future try and determine if you had a craving for chocolate, then ate chocolate, and then got a migraine. I have noticed that every single time I have gotten a migraine that has followed eating something I previously considered a trigger it was only when I had a major craving for that particular food. What I have been reading is that the food itself is not responsible for migraines but your body is craving something in response to something happening that triggers this desire for some food. I get just as many migraines when I eat things as when I don’t.

    Simple test: stop eating anything and everything that you think causes them, then introduce them one at a time and see what happens and only test yourself with one food item, not multiples – don’t eat chocolate and find out it’s fine, and then try chocolate and coffee. Stop eating chocolate, wait a few weeks, then try coffee. If nothing happens, try both. You get the idea. This was the only way I figured out that nothing actually trigged my migraines. It was only when I paid attention and noticed that I really, really wanted chocolate or cheese, ate one or the other (or both,) and then got a headache that the connection was not the food but the craving itself. You may not find the same conclusion, but at least you’ll have one more thing you can cross off the list.

    Also consider getting checked for allergies – both my allergy doctor and my neurologist agree that migraines and migraine-like pain can be due to severe sinus pain from allergies. Weekly allergy injections have seriously changed my life. It’s not easy to deal with, but it really is amazing.

    Comment by Tom — May 12, 2008 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  208. Wow! So many people have responded – very reassuring. It helps to know that I’m not alone. I have just had a visual migraine after sitting beside the bright sunshine whilst concentrating on my friend’s face as she was talking; I get them once or twice a year. It is exactly like your flash example (thank-you for the illustration), except mine is a cricle the whole time as it gets bigger, and I get a very mild headache shortly afterwards.

    I thought it might be useful to know that I had a couple of grand mal seizures in my early 20s (15 yrs ago). I would get a visual aura before hand – like my subconscious mind could see but my brain couldn’t process it for me to be aware of what was happening. I managed to continue driving my car to get it to a safe place before my first fit, even though I couldn’t consciously see anything – really weird. I had some tests inlcuding an EEG and they said I was photo sensitive and should not go without sleep; strobe lights and sudden changes from dark to bright lights will affect me.

    Anyway I haven’t had a seizure in 14 yrs, but started to have these migraines about 6 yrs ago. I also started with speech spasms too, around the same time but these are more frequent, especially when I am tired; I have no idea if my seizures and migraines/spasms are related, but they might be? I used to be scared as I thought I was about to fit, but now I just try to look ahead and try not to stare at the flashing multi-coloured lights too much and it passes in about 20 mins.

    The brain is a truly amazing and complicated thing!

    Comment by Melissa — May 13, 2008 @ 4:52 am | Reply

  209. Had my second episode of this yesterday morning. The previous one was 18 mths ago and both times started and ended very abruptly and lasted about 15 – 20 mins. Horrible and very scary. Really shook my confidence. No other symptoms though. Seemed to be just the left eye.

    Comment by Pauline — May 14, 2008 @ 7:36 am | Reply

  210. I’ve had something similar happen to me earlier this morning except it did not last as long nor was it as “colorful” as the flash portrayed. It was more of a sudden spasm or twitch in my right eye, followed by the bottom half of my vision (right eye only) being greyed out. It’s not so much blurred out, but completely greyed out. Even when I close my eyes, the “oval” that’s black that I usually see is half black and half grey divided right along the middle. It was a total trip as it was the first time it’s ever happened to me. I decided to find a mirror to see if anything was wrong with my eye but it disappeared right as I stared into the mirror (coincidence?). Only about 5-10 minutes elapsed from start to finish. I consulted an online board and they told me it was possibly a form of visual migraine, or that it could be something more serious. Good thing I already have a doctor’s appointment scheduled next week for something else anyway so I will hopefully get it examed.

    Comment by Xar — May 15, 2008 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  211. I first started having visual migranes many years ago. At the time the doctor told me they could be in response to high levels of caffeine. At the time I was a “chain” coffee drinker who never drank water. I modified my habits and they decreased significantly. However, I just returned from a marathon driving trip where I relied on double doses of Cafe Mocha to keep me awake and sure enough on the last leg of my journey last night – one started to occur. I never recall having had one at night and this one fascinated me because it was in color. The video was very interesting but different from my own experience because mine were typically like a “V” lying on its side with pulsating facets. It typically would move thru my line of sight over the course of about a half hour. Thankfully I did not experience pain with mine.

    Comment by Mary Jo — May 23, 2008 @ 9:47 am | Reply

  212. Wow, this is really a good demonstration. Like a lot of the people commenting, I’ve never been able to really describe these.

    The first time it happened to me (probably 30 years ago) I thought I was going blind. If I just let it run its course it goes for about a half hour, then leaves me with a headache where I can barely think. (Not that the headache is the most painful imaginable, I’ve had hangovers worse. But I can’t think.)

    If I hit a very heavy dose of almost any OTC headache meds (aspirin, Tylenol, IB) as soon as I see the first flickers, I usually avoid the headache part and the visual involvement dissipates much sooner (and without taking over nearly as much of my field of vision).

    And I totally get sun-sneezes. I really thought everyone did up until just a few years ago…

    Comment by Chris — May 24, 2008 @ 9:28 am | Reply

  213. Lets figure this out… seriously Ive had em for a year now. post what you can remember around the time you get em… lets see how many match.

    – Contact lense wearer… ( used to wear lenses for over 17 hours per day, since 16)

    – Computer user since 1987, also video games since 1990

    – Used to love binoculars when a kid.. lived in country

    – Gasoline in eyes from filling jetski two years ago.. same time all started.

    – Sinuses always dry

    – Huge coffee drinker.

    – Not a huge sunglass wearer

    * what ive come up with is Dehydration… plays a huge part, posture while at a desk,

    Increased cell phone use within the same times of visual auras.

    I dunno.. all I can add here.. add your IDEAS WHY YOU MAY HAVE VISUAL AURA.. lets see the similairitys.

    MINE I THINK DEHYDRATION.

    Comment by Great Page — June 2, 2008 @ 3:54 am | Reply

  214. HEllo, I have the same thing happen to me. It happens about every 6 months and it is weird. It can come on without any notice. It stays about 20 minutes and then goes away. I went to the newologist today and she told me nothing can be done. It isn’t serious.

    Comment by Judi — June 2, 2008 @ 7:34 pm | Reply

  215. I have just had my first one this morning. I was absolutely fine, sitting out in the sun having my coffee. I only noticed it when it was the full ‘C’ shape. At first I thought it must have been the sun, I came inside and it got much worse, really waving and wriggling in bright light triangles (not colour). After 15 minutes I was totally freaked and was just waiting for the brain haemorrage or stroke. I decided to put my head between my knees (at this point I thought I was going to pass out). After a couple of mins of head down, the dancing triangles diminished. I was left with a headache in my right temple and feeling dry mouthed and hungover. It was a horrible experience because I did not know what it was. Thank you, your simulation is spot on and if I ever have another one I will know not to panic. I also think that putting my head down between my knees is what helped, anyone else tried this, and did it work for you?

    Comment by Shelly UK — June 4, 2008 @ 7:54 am | Reply

  216. Absolutely accurate representation of what I have just been through for 30 minutes.
    I must congratulate you – called my wife up to look at the graphic as it explains everything I see (or indeed don’t see) when having an episode.
    First had an episode as a kid – very frightening as you think you are going blind, or mad, or both.
    Occasional recurrences every 3-4 years or so.
    I work in high perfomance optical camera systems so was able to explain visual and possible neurological aspects in complete clarity to doctors (however nobody likes a smart-a** do they?).
    Neurologist explained it as migraine, and I had an MRI to check no brain issues.
    History of stroke in family makes me a bit nervous but was reassured.
    However, the big issue is “What causes a migraine?”. Yes food, lights, environment can trigger it but are there underlying medical conditions that we should be aware of that could surface later in life?
    I’m an optics expert but not a medical one so this is only a worry not based on fact!
    Why don’t they tell us about this sort of stuff in school! You have to wait until it happens and then wait 20 years to get a reasonable explanation.
    Many thanks for the thread.

    Comment by Simon UK — June 6, 2008 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  217. Unbelievable!!! I have had three VM this week and had no idea what was going on! I started to become very concerned and imagining the worst – stroke, brain tumor, etc. I went to urgent care and tried to explain what I was seeing to the doctor (of course, it is hard not to feel crazy when you explain that you are seeing bright silvery-rainbow like patterns!).
    I explained to the doctor that the pattern is shaped like a C with the C part being a very bright silver-rainbow like pattern. The C is on the left side of my visual field – the C starts between by eyebrows and loops around to my chin. Everything to the left of the C is distored with different colors but not as bright as the actual C. The only difference with my VM as compared to other entries on this page is that the C has constant circular motion taking place, like hundreds of tiny fans circling on top of the C. When I pass my hand through my visual field, it disappears once it passes to the left of the C. It doesn’t matter if my eyes are closed, open, one eye or the other covered, I can see the pattern! Like other people have mentioned, I experience a numbing sensation on the left side of my face.
    After expalining all of this to the doctor, she kept asking which eye was having the problem…I just couldn’t seem to explain it properly! I am going to email her the link to this website so she will have a clear picture of what is going on – Thank you so much for making VMs so easy to expain now!

    Comment by Sharon — June 6, 2008 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

  218. I was diagnosed today with visual migraines, however I do not experience the aura that is common with many people. I was told that the probable cause in my case is stress, which makes sense. After the death of my grandmother (of old age), a close friend (from cancer) and my 16 yr old nephew (tragic car accident) in a 3 month span its not hard to believe that the condition is stress related.

    Over the past several months the episodes have increased to the point where they occur at least once daily. When it happens I become physically fatigued and generally need to sleep for about an hour. After that my vision clears and I feel fine. I find it frustrating to have this happen during the day as its not always possible to just ly down and sleep for an hour.

    It’s been 3 years since my eyeglasses were updated and a new prescription was needed. It is hoped that this will also lessen the physical stress on my eyes and possibly lead to fewer episodes.

    Comment by Rhonda — June 12, 2008 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  219. Rhonda – you mention that you do not experience the aura that many people experience – I am curious to know that symptoms you do have.

    Comment by Lorrie Wilbanks — June 13, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  220. I am a 53 year old male and have had had visual migraines my whole life. My son and my father also have them. I and my son both have the “fortification aura” and the after effects are generally non existentent. Occasionally I feel fatigue and confusion, and rarely, especially if the migraine hits while in sunlight, will have an amazing sense of euphoria and an incredible sharpness of vision. That euphoria can last for an hour or more.

    I once had an incident after a sudden downpour and as a beatutiful rainbow appeared my migraine vanaished in a flash and all the world loked “fresh.” I seemed to see colors in the sky and clouds that were not real (or perhaps I was imagining seeing into the ultraviolet). A remarkable experience, and as I remember it, my mind seems to replay it, complete with some of the elation.

    A very cogent article here on this website. Thanks for posting it!

    Comment by Rob Schorry — June 14, 2008 @ 9:30 am | Reply

  221. iwhen i was younger i had migraines all the time, really bad, painfull (wanna kill myself migraines) they went away when i was about 15 or so, in 2005 – i was 35, i was at work and became very disoriented and passed out, when i came to i had no idea where i was, this lasted about 2 minutes and then i slowly remembered, i went to the hospital and they told me i had had a brain hemorage, since then i have had seizures and migraines, but the worst thing is now i get the flashing thing you talked about, but mine are a bit different, there is no color, it is always white, it is a stobing kind of flickery line that does like this waving sort of motion, and it doesn’t start in the center, its either one eye or the other, and it starts in my peripheral and then slowly moves in – whichever eye it is, i cant see to that side, it is very disorienting and downright scary, i think that iit is accomponied by a anxiety or panic attack and it does make me very off balance and scared. as of yet i have had no treatment – i would really like to know what it is and make it go away.!!!

    Comment by jason stuart — June 16, 2008 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  222. So far no one on this site seems to know how to make them go away. I keep checking in to see. They don’t seem to have any serious effects other than disturbing to the person having them. The doctors tell people not to worry. I do believe that stress is one of the causes but not always.

    Comment by bam — June 16, 2008 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  223. Wow! What a great illustration. Now I can show my wife what I have been going through. I had my first episode many years ago after pulling weeds in the garden on a hot day. It was years later before the next occurence which coincided with inhaling a half dozen Krispy-Kreme glazed donuts. I only had these symptoms a couple times a year at most, but in the past 24 hours it has happened three times. I never get the headache, I do feel a bit out of sorts during the episode. It seems to be brought on lately by bright light, i.e. my laptop screen, glare or sunlight.

    Thanks again for your effort.

    Comment by Bob — June 19, 2008 @ 11:39 am | Reply

  224. Thanks for this. My 5 year old has just been diagnosed with visual migraine. I took her to the opticians today because shes been misreading words/letters i know she knows. Before we went I had a stonking migraine and she had a vm. When I asked her what she could see she said ‘The middle is just wood and the picture is only on the outside.’ At other times she has claimed to see flashes or stripes on the pages of her reading book. Has anyone else had it this young?

    Comment by mum — June 20, 2008 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

  225. The temperature of a room plays a big part. I find that I am very hypersensitive to room temperature. The temperature of the room is too warm plus stress/anxiety plus being around group of people seem to be a trigger that brings on vision changes that goes dimmer and blurry.Causes me to become disoriented, confused, dizzy. Detached/dissociated. My voice changes, such as stuttering, articulating words, or talking incoherant. I don’t get headaches, but feel pressure in the back of my head. When this happens it is very scary.

    Comment by Cheryl — June 21, 2008 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

  226. The colorful shimmering is familiar but like some others mine starts in the peripheral vision and slowly moves across my field of vision. Both eyes are affected during the disturbance and afterwards there is almost always a headache but not a debilitating one like some get,

    Mine are related many times to stress and light. When stressed I find certain lighting situations bother me and this is when I will start to get the viision loss. My first one occured at work when I was 23 and it scared the heck out of me! I have had no episodes since my 20s (I am now almost 45) until yesterday. I had an episode yesterday and another today, the headache today was worse.

    Thanks for giving the world a way to see what we see.

    Comment by Lisa — June 22, 2008 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  227. Lori,

    The main symptom is significant loss of sight. I was sent to my eye doctor by my family physician and he told me that it was visual migraines. By what others are positng I’m not so sure.

    Comment by Rhonda — June 26, 2008 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  228. Ooops, sorry Lorrie for misspelling your name.

    Comment by Rhonda — June 26, 2008 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  229. Thanks for the great animation.

    I’ve had a few of these. The first time, I thought I was having a stroke or brain tumor or some other life altering even, and went into shock. Friend at work called 911, took me to the hospital, and by the time I got there it was gone. Doc said it was visual migraine, and after googling a bit that night, I believed him.

    But I just found your animation today, which is exactly like what several of mine have looked like. I’ve also had some where the distorted area of my vision stayed strobing lightning bolt shaped black and white, and smaller.

    I now immediately take advil, drink a coke, close my eyes and relax, and they go away very quickly.

    But it sure freaks you out the first time it happens, especially when you close your eyes and the pattern is still there!

    Thanks for the site and the great animation!

    Comment by Paul Allen — June 28, 2008 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  230. HOLY COW!

    Glad to see I’m not the only one with this problem! I had my first episode when I was 16, flickering blindsightedness, while numbness started in my left hand moving around the left side of my body, into my face and tung!

    I saw a doc at the time, they noticed high pressure in one eye, and said it could become glaucoma, for now it’s just an elevated pressure.

    I’m 23 now and I’ve had probably 5 episodes since then. The migraine ALWAYS follows, about a half hour after the visual issues. The numbness in random though. I had an episode yesterday and didn’t get the usual numbness.

    I think It’s caused by what I eat. Seems I eat too much junk around the times I get these strange episodes, but who knows. Doctors give me the ole’ Hmmm too.

    Comment by gartherarth — June 30, 2008 @ 4:22 am | Reply

  231. Thanks for the very accurate illustration. . . . I’ve scanned through all the comments, and I think my recent experience with visual migraines may be informative and perhaps add another small piece to the puzzle.

    I am 70 and have had visual migraines on and off for the last 57 years. About three-quarters of them have occurred on a weekend (say, Friday noon to Sunday evening), or when I’m on a trip out of town. So for most of my life they seem to have been associated with some enjoyable times.

    Very recently, however, I’ve experienced a cluster of perhaps ten episodes in a week or so. This is quite unusual for me. . . . Nine days ago I underwent a biopsy procedure under total anesthesia. . . . So I attribute this spate of migraines either to stress and worry over my health, or to some after-effects of the anesthesia. I’d be interested to know if the latter is a possible causative factor.

    Comment by Jay Enn Dee — July 4, 2008 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  232. Jeez. I’m just now finishing a “visual migraine” episode. I guess that’s what it is then. I’ve been wondering since the first time I had one.

    I’m sure it’s caused by fatigue in my case. It starts out as a small blurry spot that moves around so I can’t focus, and in particular, I can’t read anything. Over the next few minutes, it will enlarge, and as it progresses, it fills up most of my visual area and looks like multi-colored static. Then it appears to finally finish moving through my head, and I can now see clearly.

    It kind-of looks like lightning if I try to focus on it. I had it happen once on the way home from work. I couldn’t drive like that, so I pulled over to the side and waited for it to go away, which it did after a few minutes.

    Glad I found you all. I wasn’t sure if anyone else ever experienced such a thing. Good to see that it doesn’t seem to be especially dangerous.

    Comment by Treacle Further — July 5, 2008 @ 4:37 am | Reply

  233. Wow that is so accurate it actually make me want to vomit. Whenever I get visual aura I always feel sick in the stomach and have to close my eyes. I have just finished a bout of 4 migraines, pretty much spent the entire weekend in bed.
    I have been getting migraine with visual ‘aura’ since I was about 12 years old. I have just turned 25 and in the past year and a half my migraines have been very frequent, maybe a few a month, sometimes a few a week. Before that they had actually settled down a lot. I became vegetarian about 3 years ago, dont know whether that has had anything to do with it as I have had low iron for a while now.
    I have seen several doctors and I am getting quite fed up with the lack of progress and in finding out how to prevent them. They have pretty much put it down to hormones. I take the pill and if I forget one day usually the next day or so the migraines will start.
    Does anyone have any recommendations on things they have tried?

    Comment by Sarah — July 7, 2008 @ 6:00 am | Reply

  234. I have had only 3 migraines with aura my entire life (I am 53 years old.) This last one came on strongly this past march. It was late at night and I decided to go to sleep after much of the jagged lights subsided. When I woke up the next morning, I discovered that there was a visual blind spot in my field of vision. An MRI discovered a small stroke in my left occipital lobe was caused by the migraine with aura. My neurologist thinks that it will eventually go away when another part of the brain takes over this small affected field of vision. I hope that it will clear up like he says it should. I never would have thought that a migraine would cause this to happen, but it occasionally (rarely) does.

    Comment by toni lynn — July 14, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  235. This animation is almost identical to what I experience with the exception that the ‘squiggles’ move from right to left leaving some clear vision as they move across. It is an inability to focus. An MD told me when this happens, if I can, to go to a dark room, lie down, close my eyes, and stay still. No radio, TV, etc. They do last for me about 20 minutes and I’m exhausted when they pass. This website has been helpful to me because it tells me this is something many people experience and I’m not crazy!

    Comment by Peggy — July 15, 2008 @ 12:04 pm | Reply

  236. Feels good to know I am not alone with these monster visual migraines. I have had these off and on for 4 yrs. now. I am curious if people with light-colored eyes have a greater chance of getting visual migraines? I read that lighter-colored eyes are more sensitive to light, could this be an additional trigger as well as the other factors of diet, stress, hormones etc?

    Comment by elipse71 — July 16, 2008 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  237. Thank you so much for the illustration and explanation. I had this happen to me this morning and have never experienced anything like it. I had just finished a very strenuous workout. I thought I might be having a stroke. The illustration was really reassuring. Mine was just silver and white shimmer like on a pond on a sunny day, but otherwise very similar. Thanks again.

    Comment by Charles W. — July 21, 2008 @ 8:52 am | Reply

  238. Thank you for your graphic depiction, which is very close to my own experience. And what a relief to have this confirmation of a benign condiiton.I had my first visual migraine (at age 70) a couple of weeks ago and was able to diagram it for my ophthalmologist. It was only a quarter of a circular rim appearing in my lower left visual field and lasting about 20 minutes. Yesterday I had another one, much smaller, appearing in my lower right and persisting for only five minutes. Do yours always appear in the same place? Do they change in form?

    Comment by Nancy — July 21, 2008 @ 10:33 am | Reply

  239. Mine used to appear in the right side of my field of vision, but the last few have changed to the left side. No idea why or how. Luckily they’ve been few and far between lately, so if they want to appear on the left side when they show up once in a while, I’ll accept that. 🙂

    Comment by Tom — July 21, 2008 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  240. That is almost exactly what I have been trying to describe for nearly 20 years. I get them any where from once a week to once a year, no rhym or reason. Once I had to pull over, it came on while I was driving. Mine a pain free, thankfully. Although I sometimes experience nausea & some anxiety during this 30 min ‘Visual Hallucinatory Movie in My Head’. I used to describe it as the way the screen would look when the Original Nintendo game system would malfunction. Now I can just show them this web page. Thank You. ~JD

    Comment by Jeff — July 25, 2008 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  241. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I’m 33 year female with the same problem. I had two of these almost 2 years ago. (the trigger was birth control pills, it happened the same time both times… the second sugar pill of the pack). However, the doctor told me to stop the pill immediately, I did and they went away…. UNTIL LAST SATURDAY. Then the panic, anxiety and all those fearful feelings came back. (more so nervous now because I’m no longer on the pill). I was at a casino and yes, overly excited, adrenaline rushing, having tons of fun and then it happened. Just like those above. And the panic set in. I was so scared I went to the ER. They said it was MIGRAINE AURA other wise known as CLASSIC MIGRAINES, probably triggered from not eating properly that day, over excitement, and the effects of all the different machine sounds and bright colorful lights. I followed up with my doctor on Monday and he said the same thing. Then he told me to keep a diary of when they happen. I’m still terrified out of my mind. I’m a nervous person as it is but when something like this happens, not knowing when its going to happen again. Every flash of light, every twinkle, every passing car head lights………… keeps me on the edge. I can deal with the migraine, I just wish the Aura wasn’t there.

    Ahhh the video above, I like some of the others can’t force myself to watch it because I so afraid it will trigger another attack.
    THE AURA IS WHAT SCARES ME MOST. I’m so glad there are others with the same problem (no offense)
    Good luck to all of you and GOD bless you all.

    Comment by Going Crazy — July 26, 2008 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  242. I’ve been having these a couple times per year since my early teens, I’m now 62. Early on, the ocular effects preceded a vicious migrane headache, which would often cause me to become nauseous and on several occasions run a moderate fever. In the last 30 years or so, I haven’t experienced the subsequent headaches, however, I continue to treat the ocular migrane as a warning of impending headache and take about 150/mg ibuprofen as soon as I notice the ocular. The auras are usually gone within a half-hour to 45 minutes. For the next day or so, I can feel that I’ve had an “event” in my head. Some pressure when I bend over or move my head quickly, and I feel my vision is slightly, although only vaguely out of wack during that period.

    As far as the actual visual effects, its very similar to the video above, although the aura is often difficult to actually see, as if its sort of there and sort of not. It starts small, usually in my left field of vision, and will grow into a circular aura, although not as large as in the video. And the entire center of the aura is a blind spot. The effect is that if I’m say, 10 feet away from another person, looking straight at them, I cannot see the entire left side of their face. People have asked…is the blind spot black, or gray? Nope…its just nothing there, not even an empty space really, just stuff is missing visually. Its very spooky and wierd. Disorienting too, can’t read, can’t watch TV, certainly can’t drive.

    I have never been able to determine an immediate cause, although I understand its vascular, engorged blood vessels in my head. It doesn’t seem to be food, activity, environmentally, or interpersonally generated. I’ve always just assumed its stress related, stress levels build up and I have one.

    Its always been this way, never changes except for the freedom from the follow- up migrane headaches, thank goodness. It still scares me a bit and is emotionally upsetting, whenever it happens, after all these years.

    Comment by Alan — July 28, 2008 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

  243. I have had these over a period of years but very infrequently. Last week I had maybe the worst I’d ever had where I actually felt nauseous. I was late eating lunch and wondred if that had anything to do with it. Today I had another one which was really bad. To me it looks like rolling gray waves, blocks out words if I’m trying to read and gradually gets very dark all around the c shape. Just last night I got an email from a friend who said she had had one yesterday and luckily knew about eating 2 spoons of peanut butter which was an instant cure. So when mine came on today, I tried it and it worked just as she said it would. I know it sounds crazy, but my vision is clear.

    Comment by Rose — August 3, 2008 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  244. I have never heard of the “peanut butter cure.” Can’t imagine what in peanut butter would ward off a migraine aura, but if it works for you, great! I know for me that migraines are brought on by dehydration and sometimes, in rare cases, hunger, so perhaps simply getting some food in you helps?

    I truly don’t know of anything that works in the near-term other than drugs, and even then I’m suspect simply because, as the nearly 250 comments above attest, some auras turn into painful migraines while others don’t. I think it’s just luck of the draw.

    Comment by Tom — August 3, 2008 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  245. I had an ocular migraine diagnosed by an opthomologist two months ago. I have seen the “donut” aura since. It has never gone away. I never experienced any pain in relation to the symtom. I went back to the opthomologist and he said it might be permanent. I have had the typical ocular migraines for fifteen years. With this one I woke up seeing flashing lights, like fireworks.

    I would like to know if anyone has experienced the same thing or has found a cure.

    Comment by gasire — August 8, 2008 @ 7:43 am | Reply

  246. […] never had them with the headache before and not since college.  For a nice video and description, go here.  The video shows them as rainbows, mine are silver zig zags, almost like lightening.  And a […]

    Pingback by plaid toaster » who needs a title anyway? — August 9, 2008 @ 10:28 am | Reply

  247. There are a lot of us! Mine look more like rather attractive geometrical patterns, with lots of triangles. My colors tend to be darker. In the one that just ended, for instance, there were some triangles with a medium-dark brown. They seem to be in one eye, but if I shut that eye, they’re still there in my line of vision with my other eye. They don’t scare me. I close my eyes and rest until they’re gone.

    Over the last couple of days, before this latest episode, I have had these symptoms: fatiqued, odd sleep patterns, sinus pressure, general feeling of being “loggy” and not feeling very well, though not “really” sick, if that makes any sense.

    Thanks you for the animation!

    Comment by porch — August 10, 2008 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  248. Thanks to you I finally figured out my ailment. i get migraines but this is totally different. i thought i was having retinal detachment. just experienced a VM after doing regular computer work like i do every day. nothing out of the ordinary. it lasted about 20 minutes. i get about once a year. very strange. now i have a dull headache across my eyebrows. took two excedrin migraine. feel kinda nauseous from the light show in my head. very scary to have odd vision temporarily like this.

    Comment by Lara — August 13, 2008 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  249. OMG!! The animation is really good! For me it does not expand. It just stays in one place for about 15 – 30 minutes. And like Porch mine are very geometric. The first one was really a classic prism in shape not just color. I woke up to one this morning. Fortunately mine are very infrequent, this is my 3rd or 4th over 10 years. And the pre-episode symptoms that Porch described are what I was feeling yesterday. Today there was also more of a headache than I’ve experience in the past as well. Ironically, I was complaining yesterday my glasses need replaced and I was getting a headache from. Then today I wake up to it. sigh.

    Comment by Tamera — August 14, 2008 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  250. I have these visual migraines as well. First noticed them after a car accident I was in back in 1995. I hit my head really hard against the side window. I also wear glasses. Does anyone else here wear glasses? Perhaps the strain of the eyes may play into the migraine factor??? Some triggers I find are flashing lights (strobes, fireworks, off lighting) and extreme bright light (direct sunlight). I have been prescribed Imetrex but find it is losing its fix.

    Comment by Christina — August 19, 2008 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  251. Wow! Never dreamed there are so many of us. I had a “spell” yesterday while working at my PC. Mine usually start with a pesky floater in the left field of vision and mainly in my left eye that quickly becomes a small zigzag arc (kaliediscopic) composed of triangles of crazy prismatic neon colors steadily progressing to the classic double C shape that so many describe with total event duration of 20-30 minutes. I may not have one for a year or two, or I may have two in one week – for 40+ yrs.I used to dread them as I have a premonition or feeling of dissociative waves somewhat prior to the VM kicking in. I have learned to seek a quiet and preferrrably cool dark haven in which to RELAX and hopefully no one is there to interrogate me or try to converse with me because I have trouble thinking and my physical coordination and spacial awareness has taken a short break. I really enjoyed seeing everyones perspective and by virtue of our collective experience and collective sighs of relief, no longer shall I dread one, but rather am curious to apply what I have learned from all y’all. Thanks! This too shall pass.

    Comment by drud — August 22, 2008 @ 7:32 am | Reply

  252. UGH….I wish I had not pushed that button. That is the aura I get when I migraine is starting. I jump to get an imitrex to stop a bloody migraine from starting when I start to see that. Sometimes it is too late. But if you ever start to see that, and you never have seen that before, you might be getting a migriane. This will be great to show people who ask me…”oh, migraines aren’t that bad are they?” Or tell me just to take an aspirin.
    Thanks!

    Comment by Peggy — August 25, 2008 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  253. I have these… they are not as extreme as your representation but they are
    frequent and have been having these for at least 10 years.. I have never had
    any pain involved with them.. I have also had migraine headaches without
    this visual effect. Strange as they are I have been able to work or play
    right thru them since I have had them enough times… I believe that in the
    past year though I have had 2 that made me sit down till they went away…

    Comment by Greg — August 26, 2008 @ 8:22 am | Reply

  254. I just had one this morning before work, and it prompted me to get back on line and research it a little more. I looked into it last year after I was having a couple of spells and found information on the internet so I had an idea of what it was. But all of your comments about it confirms it even more for me. Kaleidescope was the word I’ve been using since the first time I had one, several years back. I do get an uncomfortable headache afterwards, and just don’t feel that good for the rest of the day. Mine can range from only minutes to about a half hour and it’s so weird. Thankfully, they only happen every now and then. I do have bad allergies and sinus issues so the first time I had one I attributed it to my sinus issues. Thanks for the reassurances.

    Comment by Kathy — August 29, 2008 @ 11:21 am | Reply

  255. How interesting! I just had one this morning. I have only ever had 3 and had the first one last year when I was just walking through a park with a friend and thought I had some kind of brain tumour or something. I then had one after I had run a 10k race and the friend I was with at the time said “Oh I have those, it’s a visual migraine and they tend to wear off after 10 minutes” and sure enough she was right. The one I had this morning was after I had been for another run, it was quite muggy today and I was a bit hungover. So I think for me Tom’s suggestion of dehydration as a trigger is likely!
    Thanks so much for setting up this site. My aura starts and moves like the one in the animation but mine is not in colour, it is more see-through or silver. I don’t get pain with mine, although I do have a slight headache just now but I think that is still my hangover! Thank you for this collection of shared experiences.

    Comment by Katy — August 30, 2008 @ 5:06 am | Reply

  256. I get these occasionally with the classic strobing lasso effect.

    From studying when I get them the trigger seems to be: computer use, bright office lights and “coming down” from caffeine consumption. I usually find the migraine coming on about three or four hours after one or two cups of coffee.

    Dark chocolate and tea may have the same effect. I think the caffeine affects circulation and when its effect wears off the change triggers a migraine along with other stimuli such as tv screens, lights and computers. Just my observations.

    Comment by Alan — September 2, 2008 @ 4:12 am | Reply

  257. After having these occur off and on for maybe 20 years, my doctor mentioned this phenomenon to me. I mentioned it to him because I experienced one while driving my family through Chicago, at 65 MPH, in the dark, completely surrounded by tractor trailers and unable to pull over for 15 minutes. Scared me real good. This was the first I could recall while behind the wheel. I work in IT and thought it might be screen related but no. Anyway, the movie here is very accurate, although my manifestation becomes the bottom 2/3 of an egg, with the bottom of the egg in the bottom left corner of my vision. I also didn’t get the light refraction effect until I had this last episode with all the car lights and reflections. Very weird! Nice to know it’s so common. I do not get the actual headache but they do run in my family.

    Comment by Ian Schaeffer — September 5, 2008 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  258. im so glad im not the only one who gets this happen to them i have no pain with mine and their in black and white no colour unfortunatly the first time it happened i was at work under a bright light so thought this was the cause but they have happened since while ive been at home and been up all night with my new baby so could be tiredness too its really scarey though especially now i got baby and couldnt see to hold her thankyou for sharing your experiances too

    Comment by nicola — September 5, 2008 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  259. I was very happy to find this website with the excellent animation. It reassured me that it wasn’t something horrible like a brain aneurysm. I’m 40 and this is the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like this. There was no pain at the time and it lasted about 10 minutes. Afterwards, I felt very drained and got a bad headache. I’ve never been a migraine sufferer so this was something really new to me. I had just got to work and went to sign in when it happened. I thought at first it was from coming in from outside in the sunshine. When I sat down at my desk I couldn’t see the words on the computer screen. I opened up the phone book to look up my Optomotrist’s number and had a hard time reading the names. It was really scary. Mine was a complete circle that kept branching out. It didn’t matter which eye I closed or even if I had both eyes closed I could still see it. There weren’t any colors. It was more like a ripple in a pool of water effect. Finally, it branched out far enough that I could see straight on and could only notice it in my peripheral vision and then went away. I have felt pretty tired all day and have a headache that comes and goes. I hope I never have one again but it’s nice to know what this is and that I’m not the only one. Thank you for posting the animation and I really appreciate everyone who has described what they have gone through.

    Comment by Wendy — September 5, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  260. Wow I wish I had found this site sooner. I had a VM on Sunday and since then have been to Doctor, had blood tests and been for an eye test (yes of course I need new glasses!) So its been very expensive to discover it was a VM. I am 63 and have never suffered from migraines. On Sunday I had just done 3 hours on a ride on mower and got in the car to drive home when it happened. Lasted about 20 minutes and just a dull ache but still feel a bit washed out.

    Comment by Jackie — September 17, 2008 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

  261. I’ve been suffering from migraines and VM since puberty, I’m 43 now.
    For women, you should keep track of the dates the VM occur, there is significant evidence to say the change in hormones 7 to 10 days before the start of a period can be a cause.
    Other things are the new energy saving light bulbs have a frequency that can trigger an attack. Those are very popular in shopping centers, and I’ve frequently had attacks at the mall.
    Other triggers like animal allergies (dander) – and I’ve noticed that a very strong smell can trigger an attack – and the bright light, if it hits at a certain angle, it’s like a switch gets turned on, and then it all begins.
    One very bad episode, I halucinated – scary stuff, melting faces – nothing pretty about it. I thought I’d been drugged but the doctor said it was a migraine. I’ve had them driving too – and experienced an almost out of body disconnection with my arms and just generally feeling very alien. It is exhausting, and can take 24 hours to recover. I rarely get pain anymore, just that dull zombie feeling.

    Comment by Jane Anderson — September 18, 2008 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

  262. Wow. I’ve had a couple of those. And here I thought it was something medical.

    Comment by Bryan Price — September 25, 2008 @ 10:07 am | Reply

  263. Dude!!!! This is just a harmless acid flashback. Enjoy!

    Comment by Ken — September 25, 2008 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  264. I thought I was the only one! My regular doctor and my eye doctor could not give me an explanation. Your animation is almost spot on. Thank you!

    Comment by Erik — September 25, 2008 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  265. Ken, not everyone has used acid – I’ve never touched it or anything like it (or any illegal drug, for that matter) but the image above is what many of us have experienced. Think about how scary it might be to have your brain randomly do things like this – without prior drug usage. The people posting comments here are legitimately concerned about why things have happened to them. It’s not a joke to them.

    Comment by Tom — September 25, 2008 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  266. I used to get these until I stopped using products that contain aspartame.

    Comment by Clay — September 25, 2008 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  267. I get them quite often, and they may or may not accompany a pain migraine. But I’ll never forget the first time I got one. I have long eyelashes that curl naturally, so I’d never used an eyelash curler before. I was probably about 27 or so. I used an eyelash curler for the first time and quite coincidentally got my first visual migraine about a minute later. I absolutely thought I’d broken something very important — I thought I’d really screwed up. Funny now, terrifying then.

    Comment by Rachael — September 25, 2008 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  268. also, thanks for such a wonderful representation of what they look like. Mine are usually silver and gray-scale, not as colorful as yours, and only affect one eye at a time, but it’s JUST like that, and I could never explain it to anyone. Thank you.

    Comment by Rachael — September 25, 2008 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  269. Thank you so much for making this! I just showed it to my boss, because I get migraines exactly like this about once a month, and have been getting called on the carpet for sometimes missing work. She assumed it was just a headache, because I could never really explain just how disorienting and awful it is. Now she understands why I can’t just take an aspirin and get over it! (Imitrex always made mine worse — the only thing that helps is to lie down and sleep a bit.)

    Comment by Mary Ellen — September 25, 2008 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  270. Your animation is spot-on. When I get these, I have to stop working for about a half hour and just sit there until it goes away. I’m sure my boss loves it.

    Comment by Carrie — September 25, 2008 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  271. That’s funny, I always get the little “start over” button in the upper right hand side of my vision during my episodes :).
    And thanks for this! I sent your link to my husband with the message “Would YOU feel like doing the dishes?”
    I’ve had them for years and though I knew what they were, it’s comforting that other’s experiences are so similar to mine.

    Comment by Kim — September 25, 2008 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  272. I felt nausea just looking at the animation. All too familiar

    Comment by Muley — September 25, 2008 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  273. Holy heck, this happened to me about 3 years ago. It kept gradually getting worse over about 20 minutes until everything was white, and I couldn’t see anything. And it dissipated after about 5 minutes, but I was light headed the rest of the day.
    I’m glad it hasn’t happened again.

    Comment by Scotty A — September 25, 2008 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  274. To me it was fairly accurate, but not totally dead on. I see a shimmer with a more complex coastline and tiny, high frequency roiling internal detail, and it never make more than a C-shape. It begins in my center of vision and slowly expands off to the side until it’s finally ‘out of sight’

    Comment by Joe — September 25, 2008 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  275. Similar to what I get, but not completely accurate. My vision is occluded: it’s as though someone has removed all the details on one side of a person’s face, for instance. That’s usually the first thing I notice, and from that moment I have about 30 minutes until the real pain begins. Instead of bars of color I tend to get little brief flashes of color. Thanks for sharing, though, if only to read other’s reports on their symptoms.

    Comment by Jim Greer — September 25, 2008 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

  276. Thank you for that, one of my triggers is thinking heavily about migraines.

    Good to know, at least, that I’m not alone.

    Comment by Keith — September 25, 2008 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

  277. Interesting — I get the exact same thing, but never in color. So your excellently-done Flash file struck me as really odd!

    Now this is some crazy talk, I know, but I am absolutely serious about the cure. Within five minutes of it starting, go through a Snickers bar and a Coke. Lay down for about 20 minutes and then carry on with your day. I work with a woman who has similar visual/occular migraines, and passed that idea to her and its worked for her too. Maybe it’s just a handful of folks that this works for, but I tried the nasal spray and it about laid me out for an entire day…not much of a cure. Much happier with a smidge of chocolate 😉

    Comment by Greg Johnson — September 25, 2008 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  278. Very interesting. A great animation. Mine starts as a prism, then a small circle of prisms. That small circle eventually gets larger till it’s so large that it disappears (like Joe said, “until it’s “out of sight”).
    I’ve been a Pharmacist for 35 years, and having medical in my background, this discussion perked my curiosity. I’ve never had anyone explain why this happens, but them again, I just figured it was a migraine (although without pain), so just deal with it.
    I also have hypothesized about the cause. In early posts someone said that it was caused by pressure on the optic nerve. I myself notice that the prism starts when my allergies are very bad. I feel like my sinus’ are inflamed, and that they are pushing whatever tissue against the optic nerve and that’s what’s causing the prism.
    As a Pharmacist I am a chemist and was never taught anatomy, So this is just an observation.
    It would be real nice if an expert in this field would kindly give us all an explanation of what’s really happening. None of the Doctors that I speak to can give me a specific cause.
    It’s also really amazing how large this thread got in such a short period of time.
    Any Specialists in the audience? I’d really love to know specifically what’s going on.

    Comment by Tom W. — September 25, 2008 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  279. Greg – just to let you know, migraine auras always last about 20-30 minutes, so the Snickers and Coke aren’t really doing anything other than filling your stomach (which, hey, why not?) If they last longer, there is something else going on and you need to get to a doctor immediately.

    As for the coloration, being a graphic artist, I may have taken some liberties with how it appeared to try and get a point across – I never intended this to be seen by so many. I’m going to re-do this animation soon and re-address the color to better approximate exactly what I have seen in my most recent aura experiences which, luckily, have been much fewer and farther between since getting on Topamax. I really recommend anyone who gets migraines and auras regularly go see their doctor and, hopefully, try to get in with a good neurologist. It can really make a big difference.

    Comment by Tom — September 25, 2008 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  280. For anyone that regularly checks in here wondering what’s going on, this post was linked on Metafilter. This site has been absolutely hammered by Metafilter visitors, so if it’s been unavailable occasionally, you know why. 8000 hits today – that’s about 7025 higher than normal!

    I would encourage any of you Metafilter visitors to read through the comments – there are a lot of very interesting experiences related here and some very good information passed on by many.

    Comment by Tom — September 25, 2008 @ 11:35 pm | Reply

  281. […] you’ve ever wondered about classical migraine with aura, this page has a remarkably well done simulation. I can’t even look at it without getting nauseous. […]

    Pingback by Ataraxia Theatre » Archive » Calm Before The Storm — September 26, 2008 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  282. My 5-year-old has developed something like this – bright spots in the centre of vision surrounded by radiating lines and an outer ring, the whole about the size of a small coin at reading distance. Bright colours, varying: red with yellow outer, blue with green, etc. Has persisted for 36 hours so far – docs say eyes are fine. No associated symptoms.

    Docs puzzled, so am I. Any suggestions as to why they have persisted so long?

    Comment by Ralph — September 26, 2008 @ 3:14 am | Reply

  283. I’m 68 and have been having these for 40 years, every few months on average (though it’s very irregular). I first had them a few months after taking LSD in the sixties, and assumed that it was some sort of acid flashback (the effect is quite similar to the visual distortions I experienced on LSD). I had read descriptions of this in terms of “migraine”, but assumed that mine were entirely different, since there is no pain or other unpleasantness (in fact, I find them restful and quite pleasant, unless I happen to be driving!). Glad to hear that there’s such a thing as a painless “visual migraine”

    Comment by Phil — September 26, 2008 @ 3:26 am | Reply

  284. Hello everyone,
    Thank you all for the comments and descriptions about VMs which I suffer from irregularly and as I am a performing musician was rather worried about one occuring during a recital.
    I have tryed to diagnose the elusive triggers and have found out that they do not occur at night unless provoked by reading music in less than adequate light,so I avoid that.
    Working with strong backlighting eg from the sun while you are at the same time focussing on text or other close work seems to confuse the eyes and start a session.Also a strong flash from a passing car window reflecting the sun may trigger it.Wear dark glasses and be careful of the light you are working with are my advice.
    Good luck in avoiding them unless you particularly enjoy the show!
    Patrick

    Comment by patrick burke — September 26, 2008 @ 5:16 am | Reply

  285. Wow. What I experience is so very different. I don’t get much in the way of visuals; afterimages are purple, but that’s it in terms of what I see. My aura tends to be physical – I get horribly clumsy. Never knew why til I started seeing a neurologist for the migraines. She explained there is no reason for migraines to limit themselves to affecting in the visual cortex first; apparently in my case it’s in the motor cortex that things start off.

    Course, the end result is the same. Great, unrelenting pain on one side of my head, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, wonky stomach, etc. Hooray for Maxalt.

    Thanx for the visual! I always wondered what other folks with migraines saw.

    Comment by Alli — September 26, 2008 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  286. Excellent animation. Mine are not in colour but more in greys and blacks. I was told to hold warm water against the roof of my mouth. It helps less the effect and shortens the episode.

    Comment by David — September 26, 2008 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  287. […] People don’t understand what I’m talking about when I try to explain it – though my eye doctor did and told me they were visual migraines – so I’m glad for this illustration. It does not show my particular manifestation, but has the concept right. […]

    Pingback by Visual migraine « Wondering & Pondering’s Weblog — September 26, 2008 @ 8:12 am | Reply

  288. This is a good approximation of what I get. Welcome to my hell!

    I have the full classic version of migraines, which is in two parts. This is very close, although mine is a diamond pattern, there is no really intense color and it goes from right to left. In full bloom it covers my entire vision although I can sort of see through it. It’s very bright (my vision washes out a bit) and accompanied by a headache that is best described as the “brain freeze” that eating ice cream too fast can bring on-except it lasts the entire time. Once the scotoma (technical term for it) passes off to the left, the headache becomes a severe back of the head headache accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. The whole thing lasts a good 24 hours before I feel human again. I started having them as a child on a yearly basis but they diminished in my lat 30’s and now never fully manifest themselves-a real relief. One particular episode put me in an emergency room where they knocked me out, the pain was so severe. I used to have a prescription of Cafergot by Sandoz that I carried. it was only effective if I took it at the first signs. Quite frankly I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

    Comment by Robert M — September 26, 2008 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  289. […] Link. No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> […]

    Pingback by visual migraine. « Things I like, enjoy, and like, too. — September 26, 2008 @ 9:39 am | Reply

  290. Wow, I had no idea what these were before this. They are usually short, only ten minutes or so and not as large as the illustration. The clue for me that it wasn’t optically related was that they were still present when I closed my eyes. The always appear on the edges of my vision and never progress to the center. I’ve never taken any drugs except aspirin so it’s not chemically related.

    Comment by Mike — September 26, 2008 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  291. Mine are a little more see-through, usually in the shape of a 7, & pain free. Rare anymore…..

    Comment by Lex10 — September 26, 2008 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  292. Not a bad simulation but mine (which I get 2-3 times a year) start as a small arc in the center, and expand outward steadily larger so the central vision is never obscured.

    Also I don’t see so much color — raise the contrast and lower the saturation of your “rainbow” to emulate my experience.

    Comment by dcortesi — September 26, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  293. I have been trying to describe that sensation for years. I finally landed on the word “trancing,” to best describe what I felt like. I explained it to my parents, friends and even my optometrist, none of whom had a clue what I was talking about.

    I can’t thank you enough for putting a name to my problem, now maybe I’ll be able to handle it better. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    Comment by Nic. R. — September 26, 2008 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  294. Ocular migraines, that’s what my eye doctor called them. I get three or so a year. Apparently you can die from them, but it’s ridiculously unlikely. I think they could cause an aneurysm or something. I usually get them first, and then the headache sinks in. Sometimes I don’t get the headache. It’s really annoying when you’re at work and you have to read stuff. I basically can’t see anything I look directly at, so I have to rely on my peripheral vision. Sometimes they only happen in one eye. That’s pretty funky. Better one or two?

    Comment by Pammy — September 26, 2008 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  295. I can’t believe you continued driving! Do you have no commone sense – no concern for yours or others’ around you welfare?? You were impaired! Yet you continued to “press on.” Do you also drive drunk?
    You admit you’ve been worried this might occur while driving, that it’s disorientating and that you could only do your best to pay attention despite it impairing your vision and being a serious problem. Gee what could you do – you’re too far from home? How about:
    PULL OVER!
    Stop driving! Stop putting yourself and fellow drivers at risk. I suppose that concept didn’t cross your mind.

    Comment by DP — September 26, 2008 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  296. DP, you are a presumptuous asshole. I suppose the concept didn’t occur to you that I was ALMOST AT WORK ALREADY and that I HAVE EXPERIENCED THESE BEFORE and KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT. By the time I would have managed to pull over, I would have been at work. You clearly have never suffered these or you would know that it’s perfectly reasonable to drive with them if you know what is going on. I could see fine around it until it neared the end, which is when I got to work. You see, and this would be the “presumptuous asshole” part, I have these and you obviously don’t – I know how long they last, I know the path it takes in my vision, etc. I knew how long it was going to take me to get to work. I did the calculations in my head, weighed the options, and decided I was better off getting to work before the full-blown migraine began than getting stressed out and worsening things trying to find a safe place to pull off the road.

    This is a warning for future comments: I will delete abusive comments. They are not welcome here. This one stays up for now for context. Any more abuse (and several have already been deleted) and comments will be deleted, IPs banned, etc. Please take a look back at older comments. It wasn’t until yesterday’s Metafilter-linking that some of the rude stuff began. The rude and childish stuff will not be published from now on. Leave something constructive or leave nothing at all.

    Comment by Tom — September 26, 2008 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  297. Tom-

    I found your site a while ago, and posted a thank-you June 28th for your taking the time to create and post your great simulation.

    I put the post on metafilter yesterday thinking your site might help others like me worry less, and apparently it did that for many readers.

    But….. sorry for inadvertently causing you to have to deal with some folks who caused you grief instead of thanking you.

    Paul

    Comment by Paul Allen — September 26, 2008 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  298. I’ve had these all my life, although I didn’t know they were called visual migraines or optical migraines until a couple of years ago. If you image-search for ‘scintillating scotoma’ you can get more ‘artist’s impression’ s of them.

    Happily for me, I don’t get the headache, just the visual disturbance, so it was never much more than an inconvenience for me.

    One interesting thing I noticed: usually, mine are in the left eye, and it’s usually an arc stretching from ‘north’ to ‘west’. The interesting thing is that the one time I saw it in both eyes at once, both eyes were ‘north’ to ‘west’. In other words, the appearance wasn’t symmetric.

    Comment by Chakolate — September 26, 2008 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  299. Hey Paul – Thanks, really, as I’m glad it’s being seen by others so that they can use it to help explain a phenomenon that so far has been very difficult to convey. I’m only upset at the very few negative posts that have come along. I moderate all comments, like many sites, so even if all were positive I still deal with them manually. I’m simply saddened to see that after all this time some have to come along and try to spoil what has been a very positive thing for so many. Luckily, as you can see, the good far outweighs the bad, and I hope it stays that way.

    Comment by Tom — September 26, 2008 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  300. Weird, this actually gave me a slight headache.

    Comment by fred — September 26, 2008 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  301. Thank you! Now I can show people what I feel, it is just like you animation

    Comment by Javier — September 27, 2008 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  302. I’ve had these on and off for years (I’m 52). I experienced regular migrains from my early 20’s to early 30’s but those have mercifully faded away.

    I had myself checked out for these vision headaches after I completely lost vision – except for the scintilating display in both eyes. Was sent to a neurosurgeon who seemed worried that they were NOT followed by a regular migraine. Anyway had the brain scans and EKGs and nothing untoward turned up.

    Almost used to them. Fortunatly they do come on slowly. I get what I’d call an aura before they start so I know one is coming and if driving I have plenty of time to get off the road.

    Comment by Chich — September 27, 2008 @ 1:12 am | Reply

  303. Found your animation via Neatorama. Like most people writing comments here, thanks – now I can indicate to my partner what it is that happens when I get a visual migraine. Actually now I can even put a name to it!! Brilliant!

    Comment by daz — September 27, 2008 @ 4:26 am | Reply

  304. Thanks ever so much for this, I’ve never encountered someone who has the same problem. My first VM was about ten years ago and came out of nowhere. It freaked me out so I went to the Sydney Eye Hospital where I was told it was a ‘crystal migraine’. I only get them once or twice annually, and in my case they always seem to have the same cause: looking too close / long at a computer screen while feeling intense stress about an immediate deadline, whether work-related or not. Each episode lasts about ten to fifteen minutes, which starts as a dot, then expands over the whole vision, then clears from the centre. While they’re happening, it becomes impossible to judge distance or to focus. But as you wrote in a comment above, you know what to expect and so it’s just a matter of riding them through till they pass. It’s at least a little reassuring to know I’m not alone in this!

    Comment by Ross — September 27, 2008 @ 6:28 am | Reply

  305. I have been having visual migraines for years and the best description I can give them are , it’s liking looking into a kiliedescope “spelling” and seeing all the silver and sometimes colored lights, although it is very alarming when you are driving or trying to read and when I look at someone all I see is half of their face. If there is something one can do I would like to know, all my DR. tells me is when it happens take a pill he prescribes.

    Comment by Chris — September 27, 2008 @ 6:30 am | Reply

  306. I experienced my first visual migraine about two years ago just as I’d arrived at work and was getting out of my car. Since then I have experienced it another five times. Each time my disturbances are preceded by a small flash of light. A shimmering spot then appears in the lower left of both eyes which increases in size until it occupies about seventy percent of my field of vision. It is almost the same as the video at the head of this blog (Tom, was it?) exept that mine are black and white. They last for about ten minutes, although the most recent one, last week, lasted about half-an-hour. I have been really worried by these experiences – I wondered if I had a brain tumour or a stroke or some other neurological malfunction – but most people I spoke to just looked completely lost when I tried explaining it to them, and moreover my GP didn’t have a clue either nor was the opthalmologist able to offer any advice.

    I have just come across this blog, and reading the experiences of so many people experiencing very much the same thing has reassured me immensely. Like some of the other commentators, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, am stressed at work, have tension neck aches, and grind my teeth during sleep. Maybe its a signal to retire early – yes that would indeed be to my liking but finances as they are . . . . . Oh well! Thank you to everyone for contributing. Whilst the visuals are indeed disturbing and leave me feeling a little washed out, at least I now know that neither my sight nor sanity is at risk. Many thanks to you all.

    Comment by Adrian — September 27, 2008 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  307. The Flash Annimation that you have created depicting the Visual Migraine process is really excellent! Mine VM’s are less less colorful with more silvery, triangular patterns and the place in which it starts can vary. The shape for me is generally a backwards “C” or “6”. As it expands and covers the vision it will work it’s way out of the field of vision to the left or right. Sometimes I will have some intense food cravings after an event.

    I had my first migraine at age 10 with numbness and loss of one-half of my field of vision. I was 30 before my next migraine which was a VM. At age 42, I had VM’s over a 10 day consecutive period sometimes 2 or more per day. I am now 52 and have had VM’s on an average of every other day for about the last 2 months. I have had other symptoms during the VM’s: extreme hunger, tingling, sensitivity to light, dull headache and feeling of head pressure, and a euphoria after the event.

    The following is a list of what may be some of the possible causes but … I have only read these on the internet over the years. I plan to see an endocrinologist and/or neurologist.

    sinus problems
    hormone fluctuations
    brain tumor
    ocular / retinal
    vascular

    Question to others who have posted here:

    Has anyone experienced what are known as phantom smells? I don’t necessarily experience them during the VM but have in the recent months had various problems with smelling smoke or exhaust like smells as well as other odd smells that aren’t there. Additionally, somewhat of a loss of smell.

    Thanks for your time and this excellent blog.

    Sharon Kessler

    Comment by Sharon Kessler — September 29, 2008 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  308. hey nice idea! i also get these and have never been able to explain them to people, but your video pretty much sums it up. ive always called them migraine flashes but then people always think i mean a migraine headache. i dont feel anything when the visual part happens, maybe a little tension in my head but its not like a headache, its just really annoying

    Comment by zach — September 29, 2008 @ 11:59 pm | Reply

  309. Wow, that is very well done! I agree with Dr Podoll, it’s one of the best depictions of migraine aura that I’ve seen.

    For the record, usually this is called migraine with aura or migraine aura without headache (if there’s no headache). The International Headache Society is trying to standardize the terms because there’s a lot of confusion when different terms are used to mean different things!

    Email me if you have a chance – I’m going to link to this at the Headache and Migraine News Blog, and would love to host the animation (crediting you) so that more people can see it. Again, very well done!

    Scroll down on this page to see more migraine aura art:
    http://www.relieve-migraine-headache.com/migraine-headache-and-art.html

    Comment by James — September 30, 2008 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  310. GONNA VOMIT!!
    No, seriously, my mouth started watering in that bad way when I watched this. Dead-on depiction of every aura I’ve ever had. Nice job.

    Comment by Laura Frantz — September 30, 2008 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  311. Reading over the comments here, it’s interesting to see what a large proportion involve driving (also true for me: many of these start for me as a driver or passenger). Could it be that exposure to a moving landscape is one likely trigger?

    Comment by Phil — October 1, 2008 @ 12:20 am | Reply

  312. Have really enjoyed reading about everyone’s experiences since I first found this site and realised I was not the only one experiencing these visual migraines. I also was so impressed that there was a site where everyone is always courteous. Always has to be some to spoil things.

    I have two a day sometimes and then maybe none for weeks. I was very interested to hear a few people say that eating a few spoons of peanut butter seems to stop it in its tracks so have been waiting eagerly (for the first time in my life) to have a vm. Nothing for 6 weeks and then had one yesterday when I was driving to work so could not try the peanut butter theory. Maybe I’ll keep some in the car for next time. Anyone else had success with this?

    Comment by Eileen Rich — October 1, 2008 @ 5:23 am | Reply

  313. I don’t get anything like this, but while I’m having a migrane I get what I call UFO’s. I see small black spots in my vision, and when I actually try to focus on them they zoom out of my vision to the left (always left), like those lights in the sky you have probably seen on old home videos of UFO’s. Very distracting while trying to drive. I have also found out that since I have been diagnosed with post-concussion problems, the triggers for my migranes (mainly stress) seem to be less and less. Kind of scary, huh?

    Comment by Scott — October 1, 2008 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  314. […] Visual Migraine Auras. […]

    Pingback by The New Internet Eclectic | The Internet Eclectic — October 2, 2008 @ 4:33 am | Reply

  315. I’m sp glad to find this site. I started having these episodes about 4 years ago. Like most, I thought I was having a stroke. My episodes start with a feeling of my left eye going out of focus and then it is like a bullet hole through shattered glass. After the 2nd episode I visited my Dr. and he said it was a miagraine. I was not so sure as I know several people who have miagraines and my episodes lasted about 20-30 minutes and then it would clear up and I would get a slight headache. I have noticed that my episodes start after I have been doing yard and garden work. In 1986 I had a bone fusion between my 4th and 5th vertabrae in my neck. I am not suspose to be bending my neck back or using my arms overhead or doing repetitive arm work. I have constant headache and my neck on my right side is always swollen and painful and when I do any reptitive work like sweeping or mopping or any physical work the back of my neck and shoulder swells even more. I write this because it might help others track down what causes their episodes. My husband spends a lot of time on the computer at work and he has the prisim like episodes every once in awhile. He just had catarac surgery this past Monday and Tuesday at his post operative visit to the surgeon, I mentioned my husband’s and my episodes and what the other Doctor said about it being a migraine. Dr. Montgomery told me I had discribed a visual migraine perfectly. So I am very releived and happy to find out that it is not associated with strokes. I have read most of the comments on this sited and evidently everyone has a different trigger.

    Comment by Nancy Inmon — October 2, 2008 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  316. EXACTLY! I’ve had these for years, literally, and have never been able to accurately describe what was happening to me. This seems to happen more in the left side of my brain (eye) but not really. I can close the left eye and still “see” the migraine…however, my left side seems heavier or fuzzier. Before menopause, my migraines were cyclical and included a great deal of pain. Now, they are random, frequent and are rarely painful – just aggravating, especially if I am trying to read. It seems to take almost 30 minutes for the migraine to run its course. Thanks for the animation.

    Comment by Cynn — October 2, 2008 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  317. I have these also and found out that sinuses my be the cause.

    When this starts to happen I take a Tylenol and saline solution and
    the spot or spots melt away.

    Comment by Shane — October 3, 2008 @ 7:44 am | Reply

  318. I have had migraine headaches that start with an aura for about 15 years. I kept trying to find whether food or anything else triggered my headaches. I finally discovered its barometric pressure. The only good thing about this is that now I can treat the cause. When I first read about this, I knew I had found the cause since I never found any food that triggered my migraines.

    Comment by Rita — October 3, 2008 @ 10:52 am | Reply

  319. EXACTLY. LIKE. THIS.

    and then …..PAIN!

    Comment by Manuel — October 4, 2008 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  320. I started to notice these effects (without the head ache) a few months after i bought an old 21′ Sony CRT. After a few works of work i had this effect, that i must say scared me a little bit the first time i had it. then i noticed that visually the effect was very close to what you can see when on those old crt’s you push de “degmanetize” BUTTON, and you screen makes a sudden “wonk” and shows a refreshed screen. During a few seconds a pattern occurs on the screen that is visually very close to this animation. i must say that as soon as i noticed that, i sold the crt, and the effect started to vanish. I can´t remember the last time i had it

    Comment by joao — October 8, 2008 @ 7:24 am | Reply

  321. thanks, now i can show people what the hell i’m talking about when i get this going on in both eyes….

    i also suffer macular degeneration, the dry kind, and with those blotches and this fancy rainbow junk snaking around… it really scared the crap outta me.

    😀

    i’m glad i came across this, i had so much trouble also trying to explain it, even to retinal specialists!

    Comment by lj — October 8, 2008 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  322. To Sharon Kessler –
    Re: Phantom smells –
    I have thought that some of my episodes were triggered by a strong smell – once a person passing quite close to me (body odor) and another time a strong ashtray type smell. I certainly get a heightened sense of smell during the zombie recovery stage… perhaps those smells are not phantom at all?
    Jane

    Comment by Jane Anderson — October 8, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  323. Thank you for this website; the animation shows exactly what happens to me sometimes several times a month. I am 54 years old and have experienced visual migraines most of my life. They seem to be triggered by bright light, but not always. I think that stress is a major factor and sometimes relaxation after stress seems to be a trigger. I used to get a serious headache after the visual problem but now the severe headaches don’t occur (sometimes I do get a mild headache). I am generally fine after my vision clears. I am used to having this problem and I think that the fact that I don’t “stress out” when I have an episode helps with my recovery time and helps me not get the severe headaches that I used to get.

    Comment by Cliff — October 11, 2008 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  324. I also have had visual migraines for the last 8 years, similar to those on your demonstration. I am 60 years of age. In my case they do not seem to be associated with stress, but possibly with blocked sinuses. Originally I had no after effects, but recently they have left me feeling very disorientated and sleepy for 24 hours. If anyone is doing research via this web site I will add that the worst bout I had was when I was teaching and asked to cover a problem class, on the last day of term, in a very stuffy room on a rainy day (definite stress!). I was relieved to get to the end of the lesson without major incident. At the end of the session I discovered I was unable to see what I was writing on the pupil reports. After a few minutes the problem cleared and I went to my department meeting, feeling slightly disorientated. During the meeting I looked across at a colleague and realised that I could not see his face at all – it was a solid grey fog – and I only had peripheral vision. Amazingly I was not frighted, but rather fascinated by this. It lasted about 20 mins. and then cleared up and I drove home, with no other effects except for feeling very tired. Happily this has not happened again.

    Comment by susan — October 12, 2008 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  325. The letter C was my first. Can’t believe nobody I told about this recognized what it was. I’ve now had 5 total in the last 3 years. But 2 in the last 2 days. The usual one took 30 minutes for the ring to expand to the edge of my peripheral vision. Then another 30 minutes to go away completely. My rings look a bit like the bazarro superman with mirror edges – or a little like a cracked mirror with a C shaped crack. I too thought this was retina detachment. Then figured it might be bp related.

    The last one had a difference, Some snapping like pain in the side of my head at about the sideburn, near the ear. It was a short, 1/4 second kinda like someone snapped their finger and hit you with the finger. Felt like a little spasm. Maybe had 6 snaps total, in a few minutes time. Then a slight headache afterward. I took 2 aspirin, in case it was a mini stroke. But now, i’m sure this is visual mig.

    Thanks for this site.

    Comment by Eric — October 16, 2008 @ 2:51 am | Reply

  326. […] suelen ser breves y cursan sin dolor, peo son molestas. Y dan un poco de miedín, he de decir. Este simulador, obviamente construido por un paciente, es más que verídico, puedo dar fe. Aunque en mi caso la […]

    Pingback by Perogrullo » Blog Archive » Algo muy parecido a ésto — October 16, 2008 @ 4:25 am | Reply

  327. Thanks for this site. Yesterday and this morning I had a visual migrain with the typical white zigzag curved shape. I remember having it once about 14 years
    ago when i was pregnant. It is very worrying because it starts off sort of out of the blue with no warning. It is not accompanied by severe pain but a dull ache at the neck and i feel intolerant to loud sounds. I thought of visiting an ophthalmologist but felt silly because i didnt know how to describe it and other than this i am healthy. I told my husband who is a doctor and he brushed it aside like something trivial. Anyway now after visiting your site i feel better that it is not retinal detachment. Thanks.

    Comment by Rosy — October 16, 2008 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

  328. I get them fairly often. They are similar to your terrific animation, except mine move to the left and don’t cover such a large area. As far as driving goes, I might slow down but I wouldn’t pull over, at least during the day. I can still see – and judge – other traffic, even though the affected region vibrates and flutters a bit. I’ve never had one while in a car at night, so I don’t know what I’d do under those circumstances.

    Lately, I’ve been getting what I think is a related symptom. I take frequent hilly walks, and sometimes when I get tired and winded, a fairly large bright, yellowish area opens up in the middle of my vision. It starts with that small flickering in the center of my vision, but then becomes a large, well-defined irregular shape, sort of like a country on a map. The large area is just brighter; it doesn’t interfere with my vision.

    The first time it lasted two or three minutes; I had one yesterday that lasted only about a minute. Maybe it’s something serious; I don’t know. Any advice?

    Comment by Ddms — October 17, 2008 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  329. How very interesting to read that I am not alone with this crazy flashing lights thing!

    I have experienced these, what I now call ‘Visual Migraines’ for 18 years (I am now 34). I have never had a headache with them but experience a flashing aura followed by a grey blind patch to the right hand side of my vision. I have had this checked with an optician who confirmed that this is not a problem with my eyes but my brain. Over the years, these have increased in regularity, from once every so often, to twice per week, and more recently, since having my second child, they can happen anything up to 4 times per day. This increase in frequency has encouraged me to seek advice and rule out any nasty business going on in my head – I have seen an Opthalmologist who sent me for an MRI scan and am awaiting the results.

    As I have never had a headache with the vision loss, I have not been overly concerned in the past however, out of personal curiosity, I did try and link the symptoms to my lifestyle:-
    – Diet – I tried periods of cutting out certain types of foods but nothing obvious noticed
    – Hormone Changes – Links to monthly cycle, sometimes increased episodes just before period
    – Breathing – Tend to notice they appear when I am concentrating (driving / using pc) and not breathing deeply enough
    – Lighting – Going from natural light to artificially lit – Fluorescent lighting seemed to trigger it but I have since ruled this out
    – Exercising – I will often get one when I start exercising and increasing the blood flow into my head which suggests to me that the blood vessels can’t cope with the surge of blood…

    I shall post the outcome of the scan…!

    Comment by Helen — October 19, 2008 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  330. I have suffered migraine for over thirty years. Almost always it’s extremely painful, with nausea and fever accompanying. Causes range from hormones to food triggers to lack of sleep. I do my best to minimise them, but it can’t always be helped. A friend of mine has for over thirty years had painless visual migraines which engulf his entire spectrum of vision. When he gets the first “void” in his vision, he knows he’s got a couple of minutes to get off the road before he loses it entirely.

    Until this year the only visual symptom I experienced with migraine was a severe tunnel vision. I’ve started to develop this sort of visual disruption (as illustrated in this entry) only recently–and I’m fascinated to find out that so many people experience it almost identically!

    Comment by Ophelia — October 20, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  331. Hi, I have experienced this for years now, and am glad to see I’m not alone. I’m sorry others have to go thru this though, becuz it is scary! I start seeing the zig-zag images in the right corner of my right eye. It causes me to see only a part of something that I am actually looking at. For instance, if I am reading a sign on the road like “Reduced Speed Ahead”, I will see ” Redu” and I will actually have to move my head to read more letters consisting of about 4 letters at a time. I know to some people, this dosen’t make sense, but to you that have these types of migranes, it does. I also feel exhausted afterwards. I have just a pressure headache too when it’s over. I found that most of mine occur when it is overcast or the humidity is high outside. Weird!! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    Comment by Karen Winberg — October 20, 2008 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

  332. I am so happy to read your letters and to see the video, it was fantastic.Thank you so much for making it , because this is what i have had the last few years .
    But either I didnt explain it well enough to the Dr`s ?? they didnt`nt seem to know? I have all kinds of answers . Then last night and the day before I had one big light show and figured I was having a stroke . Mine are like the video except they are very shiny with almost diamond shapes in a ( backwards C )when I closed my eyes I could see it as well .. .. However when it started up I took 2 asprins as it was in full swing and with in 5 mins it was gone both times ,so thanks very much I now know what I have , by the way I have had migraines for 40 years.
    This is something newer for me I never got the light show before 2 years ago.
    Katie

    Comment by Katie T — October 21, 2008 @ 7:23 am | Reply

  333. wow– what a good way of showing what a migrane is— that’s (w/o the color) exactly what happens except mine don’t always start in teh center of my vision but may be in random places usually forming a shape of some sort of curve somewhere in my vision

    check out http://www.myspace.com/devasionrecords today!!

    Comment by Matt — October 21, 2008 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  334. I began having visual migraines in my mid thirties~the first one scared me almost to death! I lost part of my field of vision for about half an hour. I am almost 54 now and they seem to come in clusters. I might have 3 withing a few weeks then none for several years! I had one in the Spring and then one today. It is very annoying…but I do wish I knew what triggers mine. I have been taking an antibiotic and decongestant for a sinus infection. I wonder if this could be a trigger as well… by the way, your flash animation looks much like my migraine except mine runs top to bottom right and looks like sparkling diamonds (no colors), leaves off the upper right side of my vision. By the way, you mentioned the brain, is the optic nerve involved too? Are they dangerous?

    Comment by Michelle — October 22, 2008 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

  335. I have been experencing theses visual migrains for 6 or 7 years now, the jagged lines starting at the right side of my vision. I have got on wrong buses when this has happened. Mine usually happens when light is shinning on shiny surfaces like cars. Also it happens when i play badminton making it very hard to see. These did stop for 2 years with no problems at all but just recently they have been happening 2 or 3 times a week but now i suffer from pain. Some times i have the headache first and as soon as the pain goes away i get the visual zig-zag waviness just like the animation above then 10 to 20 mins later i feel sick for a few hours.

    Because now i am suffering pain and sickness it has become a worry or rather more of a worry.

    Does anyone else get the visual, headache and sickness?

    Comment by Joline — October 25, 2008 @ 4:41 am | Reply

  336. Sometimes I get headaches with them, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes when I don’t get a headache, I feel otherwise awful and “sick,” basically. The only people who seem to understand this are those who suffer migraines and understand that migraines aren’t just headaches but full-body afflictions. So, no, you are not alone, but I would encourage you to see a doctor and make sure that it is definitely only migraines that are causing your problems (that’s most likely what it is, but some other things can cause migraine-like symptoms.)

    Comment by Tom — October 25, 2008 @ 11:54 am | Reply

  337. I have had the regular migraines for over 20 years and taken a number of different medications for them but the best for me is Zomig. I take just a piece of the pill as soon as I feel one coming on and usually it will go away. I have been using this method for at least 7 years. In the past the migraines were severe. I don’t know if the migraines have changed or it is the medication. My daughter has to take a whole pill. She also has used Maxalt. I didn’t have vms till 13 years ago, no pain with them. I had three, ten years passed and now I am getting them again, off and on. Always good to have a checkup to make sure something else is not going on. Amazing to see how many people get these things.

    Comment by bam — October 25, 2008 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  338. Wow, I just had this really really bad to the point i was going to leave for the ER but decided not to.

    IM not sure if anyone can relate to this or not, but i get them for about 15 minutes, and then it sunddenly stops like nothing happened. But the one i just had was probaly one of the worse where i couldnt see anything out of my right eye.

    Comment by Sean — October 29, 2008 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  339. I am 46M and had my first one two days ago. Though I was having a stroke but my doctor thinks it is ocular migraine. The visual aura took its course as a small central blind spot that moved out to a semi-circle in both eyes then faded off. Lasted about 1 hour with a slight recurrence about an additional hour later. This was followed by a headache for several hours. Just had a second one tonight, that was much shorter (15 minutes) and was predominately in my left eye. I took some Excedrin ASAP and only had a small headache following. Your visual is excellent and somewhat comforting, however I am seriously concerned about a tumor although I don’t have any other symptoms. Have a history of sinus headaches and visual aura (in darkness) but nothing like this. I cannot trace to anything that is different in my life this week, other than general stress. Is the thinking here an optic nerve phenomenon or brain phenomenon?

    Comment by Mike — October 31, 2008 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  340. oh my god… i have been back and forth to the neurologist a bunch of times this year complaining of this! i got my first visual migraine about 7 years ago, and since then i would get them every once in a blue moon…. then all of a sudden in the last 5 months i have been getting 1 or 2 a week… they ran all kinds of tests and said everythings normal and its called “aura” and is just a migraine precursor… like everyone else said, they last about 35-45 mins for me and i have no choice but to drop whatever im doing and to go lay down until it passes… i used to get so nervous when they came on also, because i knew i had to drop whatever i was doing and get home… so i used to have panic attacks accompanying the migraines… i also use excedrine now to try and bite the aftermath a little bit… but i still have found no solution for the visual part but to wait it out…. its comforting though to see how many people experience the same thing because to me it always seemed like something so strange and i always had trouble explaining it

    Comment by Esta — November 4, 2008 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  341. I’ve had visual migraines for about 50 years and only found out what they were from a Scientific American article in the 1960’s. No doctors seemed to be familiar with this phenomenon.

    They start with either a small spot or more often an arc that is sometimes triggered by a bright light but more often by no known cause. The arc is made up similarly to the video above but is composed of triangular geometric shapes in many colors but not in true rainbow colors. The shape shimmers and grows in size until it often covers much of visible area but gets less distinct and usually has a portion that does not permit distinct vision of any object.

    The first time it happened was when I woke up and had no vision at al other than shimmering light over the entire area. Scared? Damn right, but it lasted no more than the usual 20 or 30 minutes. Sometimes I go for many months with no occurrence and sometimes it is almost weekly or even more often. If it happens at a bad time, I just take time out and explain to anyone impacted by it that there is a small problem. If driving ans it is bad enough, I pull off the road for a spell.

    It appears that my experiences are very close to most on here and I don’t worry about it anymore.

    Comment by Tom L — November 4, 2008 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  342. I have these kind of visual migraines.
    Loud music from digital pianos seems to trigger mine.

    Comment by Kristy — November 4, 2008 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  343. I am having one of these disturbances as I type. I decided to google it and stumbled across this site. Mine is, as always, an arc starting just off my central point of vision and it is growing. Ive had this since I can remember, probably 10 times a year. At least its nice to see that others have the EXACT same thing. The image above describes this perfectly and I dont feel like a nut job any more!

    Comment by Marty — November 5, 2008 @ 6:50 am | Reply

  344. Hi, I too have had VM. I had 3 in my life. 1st two the trigger was BIRTH CONTROL PILLS. 2nd trigger, I believe was skipping meals and SINUS. Almost everytime, I’ve had sinus problems so I’m guessing they are not actually sinus headaches I’m dealing with. I’m now convinced it’s all related somehow. I’ve noticed many above have stated SINUS CONGESTION.

    Now… Here is where everything gets confusing for me. The above VM I’ve had was with the aura that lasted 15-45 minutes, each time was different. Recently I had a bad cold virus. Went to the docs he said my sinuses were not infected so he didn’t want to prescribe anitbiotics. (understandable) 10 days later I felt the cold pass except for the sinus congestion. Went back to the doc he said still not infected. Inflammation of the sinuses due to allergies. OK, now 3 days later I experience a headache in my eyes, like discomfort when I turn my eyes for the three days, right after that, I started experiencing “EYE FLASHES”, freaking out because they were not like the previous VM, I contacted my doc again. He though it could be sinus pressure pushing against the optic nerve. THE FLASHES OF LIGHT ARE IN THE SIDE VISION AND COME AND GO ALL DAY SOMETIMES 5-10 TIMES A DAY BUT ONLY LAST FOR 5 SECONDS?????

    Doctor sent me to eye specialist to rule out retinal detachment. Went and he said the eyes were perfectly healthy that his diagnosis was MIGRAINES Unsp.

    THIS DON’T MAKE SENSE TO ME BECAUSE EVERY PLACE I READ, MIGRAINES WITH AURA LAST 15-45 MINUTES???

    HAS ANYONE EVER EXPIRIENCED THIS????????????? I THINK I’M GOING TO GO TO A NEUROLOGIST.
    ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!

    THANKS, LOVE THIS SITE.

    Comment by Kelley — November 5, 2008 @ 2:32 pm | Reply

  345. I am 76 and got a migraine headache when camping up in the mountains. The colored lights looked like tee pees and reached the sky as to where I couldn’t see in front of me. I had very bad migraines starting at the age of fourteen until I left home at eighteen–I was under a lot of emotional stress. At that time I would first see gold zig zag lines and then a terrible one-sided headache that lasted for three or four hours. I would make myself throw up what was a green bile and it would relieve the pain for a little while. Each time the pain got really bad I would throw up again. I had them everyday and sometimes two in a day. Sometimes everything would turn black in my peripheral vision, like a horse with blinders. After leaving home I had one two weeks later and then none for forty five years.

    Bright lights flashing from the chrome on vehicles will cause me to have the auras and sometimes the headache. I use to play the slot machines and the lights from the machines caused me to have auras. I started wearing sunglasses while playing and that took care of the situation.

    Three days ago I pulled the venetian blinds up and the light shining through was too bright so I got the aura in my left eye. I remembered about wearing sunglasses in the casinos so I put a pair on and the aura only lasted less than five minutes rather than twenty minutes. I sipped on coffee for the on coming headache and got rid of it in a short time. I find the sunglasses are the best treatment for me. My heart does beat hard and I feel very fearful during and after the auras for hours and also dread I might have another one.

    After seeing the simulation which is exactly what I get and reading all of the comments I am going to remind myself that I am not alone and migraines aren’t really something to fear. I can’t control them so I will have to accept them and just maybe get the courage to enjoy the light show.

    Thank you so very much for this site and the video it has really help to calm me.

    Comment by Jackie Colligan — November 6, 2008 @ 10:25 pm | Reply

  346. Dude! Thanks for going to the trouble to help people understand what this thing is like.

    My own VM goes like this:

    1) Weird headachey feeling, like I’m zoning out.
    2) Small visual disturbance about the same shape as the full lightshow.
    3) No colors, just the “white phosphor” lights, like when you press on your eyes or sneeze, but sharper edges.
    4) I don’t directly perceive an solid light but rather differences, like contrast and movement of edges. It’s like hunting for angels and fearies out the side of your eye. I’ve used the undulating shape or Rubic’s snake coming alive to explain the geometry.

    http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&rls=GGLJ%2CGGLJ%3A2006-13%2CGGLJ%3Aen&q=rubic+snake+toy

    5) Finally erupts into a full scale hurricane, which includes a strong blind spot. The location of the blind spot makes it difficult to look at human faces due to one eye on peoples’ faces being covered. I assume the post-eye neuroprocessing gets messed with which causes not only the lights and movement, but also weird pattern recognition of external objects that require symmetry for neural nets to work properly..

    Taking an aspirin when I get the first zoned-out dissociated feeling helps a bit.

    Weird note: first time it happened I was experimenting with Chinese foot accupressure (just from a silly article in a health magazine) when I was a teenager dealing with having to wear glasses . And the spot I was focusing on was for the eyes! 15 minutes later I had a VM. You know when you scratch a pimple or hard mole on one part of your body and you can feel a little prick or twinge somewhere else? I bet there’s something to this accupressure thing.

    Comment by Mark — November 10, 2008 @ 2:09 am | Reply

  347. I am 53 and just had my first visual migraine yesterday morning. I was lying in bed with the Sunday papers, reading a story (of all things) about a little girl who had a tumour in her eye! Well you can guess what flashed through my mind! My experience was very similar to some others here, it started with a small ball of zig-zaggy scintillating light just below the centre of my vision, which eventually moved around to above and to the left of centre, gradually unravelling into a more or less c shaped zig-zag line. I tried covering one eye and then the other, and saw the same thing through both eyes, so I figured it could not be something physical happening to both eyes at the same time. But I didn’t know what it was and it was very unsettling. Fortunately I was able to ring a friend who was an optometrist and he told me I was probably suffering from a visual migraine, something I had never heard of before. Anyway by the time we had finished talking, the effect had expanded to the periphery of my vision and then faded away, the whole episode lasting maybe 30 – 40 minutes. I do not normally suffer from migraines, but I did notice that I had the sort of headachy feeling I used to get from a hangover. It is very reassuring to find these stories of other people who have suffered the same sort of thing.

    Comment by George — November 10, 2008 @ 8:45 am | Reply

  348. First had one of these earlier this year (I’m 44), a bit scary and I didn’t know what it was. Everyone I told didn’t seem to understand but told me to visit a doctor. I had another one today and was totally freaked.
    Thanks for your website it has made me feel so much better knowing what it is.I hope I won’t get any more but if I do at least I know that it will only last for 15-20 minutes and I’m not going mad!!!

    Comment by Sharon — November 10, 2008 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  349. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have found this site and to know I am not alone with this weird condition! The demo is brilliant and exactly what happens to me. Looking back I had my first VM when I was pregnant first time, total loss of vision, and there have been several other episodes since then. Like a lot of you I have sinus problems and suffer sinus migraines, the last one two years ago was so bad we called out an ambulance because it was excrutiating and my speech was slurred, thought it was a stroke. Only cure is Sinutabs, a cold wet flannel on the forehead, dark room and rest, however these weird VMs come out of nowhere and there’s no pain. Have had 2 recently, saw optician today who told me what they are. They start with small flashing splinters of light in the right eye, top right corner and then become crystal like prisms of stabbing light until my entire vision goes, I can see them with my eyes closed too, really weird. I think dehydration, lack of food, stress, bright lights and even rubbing my eye can start them off, also noticed I was extremely ‘edgy’ a day before and ache all over for a couple of days afterwards and nauseous, also heightened sense of smell and hearing. Wow, I am so glad I am not alone with this, thanks so much for the site!!!!

    Comment by Mandy — November 10, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  350. As a follow up to my first posting, having read through other people’s experiences, it is interesting that the following have been mentioned, all of which apply to me: I have very pale eyes, have always been light- sensitive, particularly to sunlight – which makes me sneeze – and to fluorescent lights, which can make me feel sick, have had problems with my neck (C5/6 wear and tear, which makes my neck spasm), have had numbness and tingling and generalised weakness in right arm and leg with and without the VMs, had viral meningitis and was hospitalised in 1984 (I’m 53) and had my first VM when I had my first baby, and also noticed a huge increase in sinus migraines when we had warm air heating, this improved with radiators. I think a lot of things start these off, but mainly flickering lights, air pressure, certain smells, or it may be I’m hypersensitive then, using the computer and stress. We all seem to have some or all of these symptoms in common.

    Comment by Mandy — November 10, 2008 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

  351. I do not suffer from migraines or headaches normally, but twice in my life I have had a sensation that pretty much matches your visualisation. The first time it happened after a 254 kilometers biketrip, back at home watching TV. I went to bed and the day after everything was back to normal. The last time, 3 weeks ago, it happened in the morning after a stiff two hours fitnesstraining. Again it came up at home and effected a great part of my vision. I concluded that some sugar might help so I immediately started refueling on spoonfulls of sugar and jam. 10 minutes later everything was back to normal. In my case the visual migraine can happen after (heavy) fysical exercise and sugar seems to be a solution. However I do not hope that the fenomenon will come up a third time.

    Comment by JP — November 12, 2008 @ 5:24 am | Reply

  352. I have just found this site having experienced this visual disturbance this afternoon (the third time in my life, and it scared the life out of me each time!) I was so shaken that when my sight returned to normal (after about 45 minutes) I went into google to see if I could get any clues as to what had happened – and here I am! My vision now seems to be ok…the animation is excellent – so close to what I experienced, and I am so pleased that I will be able to show my husband what I have experienced (as so many have said, it is very hard to describe). And to discover that so many others have experienced this too- I thought I was alone! Thanks again for creating this.

    Comment by Sue — November 12, 2008 @ 10:52 am | Reply

  353. I suffered my very 1st one yesterday and your flash example is EXACTLY what I experienced. I freaked out thinking I was going blind. Thankfully I was able to get into my eye Dr right away.

    Comment by Sarah — November 12, 2008 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  354. Like others…i was doing research on ‘aura like prisms’ when i found this site. I have experienced these aura’s several times in the last few months. I agree with a few others… that either looking at bright light or flashing lights have attributed to all of mine. I was like OMG i couldn’t believe anyone could have encapsulated this experience. Like some of you i thought i was experiencing something very serious…like a detached retina, etc. I went to my opthomologist and he informed me of visual migraines (without pain). My prismatic aura’s are always c shaped and don’t go full circle…they last about 20 minutes and slowly shimmer their way out of my visual range. Strange as this may sound…i have never had a migraine nor headache in all of my 60 years. I can’t wait to share this site with my family and i’m going to call my opthomologist (for his email address) and see if i can email him this simulation/animation. Thank you so much for this eye opening (pardon the pun) and accurate animation. People that have never had one…can now see one first hand. 🙂

    Comment by Frances — November 13, 2008 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

  355. Yes thats it in a nutshell, been getting that for at least 20 years, then the numbness starting from my fingers travelling up my arm and shoulder eventually stopping around my mouth, then the muddled speech starts, not being able to pronounce everyday words for an hour r so, o the joys, i just accept it now though,on average i get 1 once every 2 weeks – bastard but cest la vie!!

    Comment by Kevin — November 14, 2008 @ 12:10 am | Reply

  356. I have experienced auras followed by a 3-day migraine since I was in elementary school (1950s). My mother took me to her friend the “eye doctor” who said it was all in my head. Ya think???? Too bad he didn’t have the knowledge or training to make a correct diagnosis. When I complained of a headache, my mother would tell me to take an aspirin which of course I couldn’t/wouldn’t because I would gag when I tried. So for the next 10 years I would have episodes about 1-2 per year When I was 16, I was finally able to swallow a pill and was shocked & amazed at how much suffering I could have avoided if I had only swallowed the aspirin (Excedrin is best, caffeine added which speeds the meds to your pain center). I too learned to take aspirin as a preemptive strike to the migraines. It decreased the pain to hours rather than days. Over the years, the HA/auras have continued but in the last year (post open heart surgery) I have episodes of aura from 3-5 times a week with no migraine. It doesn’t take much to bring one on – a little bit of bright light into my field of vision. I’m on Coumadin and I think that might be a contributing factor.

    My auras have changed over the years. Recent years they are zigzag in a shimmering, colorful pattern, not a C pattern. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I met another person with the same experience. When I went to a neurologist, he opened his textbook and showed me a photo of what I have spent most of my life trying to convince others was real. It was very validating but I think my mom still thought it was all in my head – and she was right!!!

    Comment by Doris — November 15, 2008 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  357. Has anyone had migraine auras on and off through out the day lasting only 5-10 seconds each time. I’ve been to eye specialists and they said what I’m experiencing is migraines, however I’ve had VM before and they are not at all like what I’m seeing now. It looks like the start of a VM in the periphreal vision (flashing or flickering lights, but they don’t develope into the full aura), this only last a few seconds but its goes on all day.

    I notice this from going to a bright room from a dark room.

    Or in a room with flouresant lights.

    Or going outside from inside, only in the day light?

    And I notice it upon waking up in the morning. The only thing I think it may be related to is SINUS CONGESTION. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    HAS ANYONE EVER EXPERIENCED THIS??

    Comment by Kelley — November 17, 2008 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  358. Hi, thank you so much for the example.

    I was chatting with someone online and they found this site. The scene with the trucks pretty much narrows it down to what I see too. Sometimes I get the whole experience and sometimes I just get the C pattern. Light almost always causes it but sometimes things flashing on my laptop, TV or glare off a page in a book can cause them. I first get a hazy film in my vision path. If I act immediately and shut my eyes for about ten minutes and cover my eyes I might escape the ‘crystals’ as I call them. However this is not always successful. If I try and push through them I lose a good bit of my vision and have to keep moving my head around to see. I then get a terrible tight headache and my mouth and lower face go numb. At the worst I will also start to slur my words like someone else mentioned.

    I have also found that when I wake up in the morning sometimes before I open my eyes I get worm like wiggly shapes in my vision. I have to wait until they are gone before I can open my eyes or I will get a headache. Like Kelley I also get little simmerings in the corners of my eyes sometimes but they don’t develop into a full blown visual migrane.

    I also have a terrible time with tail lights – they makie me feel drunk even though I have not been drinking. The worse ones are on the back of the Cadillac SRX. The lights are long and narrow and are perpendicular to the ground. It is like watching to lines swaying back and forth. They need to make those things go away – fast. I can’t be the only one who has a problem with them.

    After having these things frequently – several times a week and sometimes several times a day – I went to the eye doctor. Not in my eyes – my head as Doris said. I now take Topomax and that has slowed the frequency down. If I take it as I should I seem to do pretty well – a day missed or a dose missed and I know it. I didn’t take it as I should over the weekend and I have had two visual migranes today with the leftovers of one still hanging on right now.

    Comment by Jane — November 17, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  359. Kelley,
    I am experiencing the exact same thing. It is not my usual migraine aura. It is brief flickering spots in my periphreal vision. It only last 5-10 seconds throughout the day. I notice it mostly when going from dark to lighter areas. I do not think it is brain related because I only experience it in one eye. I have been to the doctor so many times over this and they never find anything wrong. I have a lot of floaters and I sometimes wonder if it is a floater reflecting the light in some weird way (????) I have learned to live with it because it eventually goes away. I just got over a sinus infection – so may you are on to something.

    Comment by Lorrie Wilbanks — November 20, 2008 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  360. LORRIE,
    Glad to see someone like me has the same thing. Check this out, it might make you feel a little better.

    What is ocular migraine anyway?
    Ocular migraine, also known as acephalgic migraine, optical migraine, amigrainous migraine or migraine aura without headache, is a particular type of migraine which is much less common than the typical migraine headache which is suffered by approximately 12% of our population.

    Ocular migraine is a neurological condition with which a patient experiences visual symptoms and hallucinations, some of which may obstruct the full field of vision, but many which are only minor visual disturbances, usually affecting just one side of the patients vision. Although the term “ocular migraine” may be used to describe a condition in which a patient suffers from visual disturbance symptoms, there are also other probable diagnosis’ such as epilepsy which may be more favorable to any particular case.

    For this reason it is always important to see a neurologist to obtain a solid diagnosis of your condition if you suffer from visual symptoms which you think may attribute to a migraine condition.
    What are the symptoms of ocular migraine?
    Ocular migraine symptoms are primarily visual symptoms but may also involve slight headache type symptoms. Usually if a strong headache is experienced, the migraine is likely to be of a different nature.

    Some visual symptoms which were reported by ocular migraine sufferers include:
    – Flashing zig-zag lines
    – Bright flashing lights and colors
    – Pinwheel colors and lights
    – Gray lines in vision
    – Concentric, gray circles
    – Blurred images
    – Visual fireworks bursts
    – Nervous symptoms such as electrical sensations, clumsiness, dizziness and lack of coordination

    Generally, however, ocular migraine symptoms will be a broad set of symptoms and it may be experienced differently by different patients.

    Ocular migraine attacks will usually be brief attacks lasting anywhere between a few seconds and several minutes. Generally it seems that ocular migraine sufferers experience phases in which they suffer from these symptoms. The phases may last anywhere between a few weeks and a few months, during which the ocular migraine attacks will occur frequently and/or irregularly.

    I found this researching my symptoms as well. Does yours come and go throughout the day?? Mine do. For the last 4 weeks I’ve had this. Let me know if this has been any help.

    Kelley

    Comment by Kelley — November 21, 2008 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  361. I also have floaters. My flashing flickering is also in my periphreal vision (only in my left eye). It happens going from darker rooms to well lit rooms. From inside to outside. Hardly ever do I notice these in dark/dim rooms. I notice them most in flouresant lighting, computer screen, or going outside. Random times throughout the day. Sometimes I have a headache but most times not. The flashing last anywhere from 3 seconds to 30 seconds. UNSURE? But at least I’m not the only one.

    This site is so wonderful to be able to read other peoples stories. Thank you.

    Comment by Kelley — November 21, 2008 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  362. Kelley – Thanks for the info. Whatever it is I am experiencing is annoying but a lot less frightening than a full blown migraine aura with the zig zags and blind spots. It does come and go throughout the day but I do notice it happens when I go into areas with brighter lighting. I have become hyper-sensitive with my vision so I tend to notice every little spot or twinkle that I see. Thanks to my migraine auras, I have become a hypochondriac. I keep in regular contact with my eye dr and neurologist 🙂

    Comment by Lorrie Wilbanks — November 21, 2008 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  363. I think the most helpful thing about this website is finding that alot of people have these. The actual dipiction of what we are seeing it great, plus you can show others what is going on. Many people have had them since they were kids and they have adjusted to them being part of their lives. It seems they are not a serious health problem, more an inconvience. All the same ,at first the reaction is being scared. I keep watching this site, perhaps someone will find an answer to Why they happen. Wouldn’t we all love to know that?

    Comment by bam — November 22, 2008 @ 8:06 am | Reply

  364. I have more lightning zigzags and blind spots. It’s mostly triggered when some harsh light reaches or reflects in my eyes or when I go from darkened rooms to bright outside. That’s why I always have sunglasses in my car and I wear them often – sometimes this results in strange looks from fellow car drivers.
    These visual phenomena last about half an hour and sometimes result in a more extensive migraine episode. Then I have a throbbing headache and can feel nausea. If possible I go lie down in my bed in a darkened room. No sound is very comfortable too.

    Comment by Gina — November 22, 2008 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  365. It’s nice to know that I am not the only one out there with this condition. In my experience, my full blown migraine with the flashing lights stay as long as three days without any interruptions. I wonder if anyone experience same problem.

    Comment by Beatriz — November 23, 2008 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  366. wow the internet can be so so so awesome sometimes!! as i read this, watched the flash, and read through some of the many comments, i was experiencing one of these “vision bright spot gets bigger until it disappears trianges bright” (what i used to search google) and felt so relieved and not alone! i’ve been getting them since i was a teenager and have never known what they were. now i know: a visual migraine! i never have any other pain or symptoms, and have always thought it was quite pretty (mine have dazzling very vivid prismatic trianges), though worrisome. i too had wondered if it was the precursor of a detached retina, and asked my eyedoctor about it last year when she told me i was at fairly high risk for this. she said she didn’t think so but didn’t seem to really understand what i was describing. my mum used to get migraines but i have never had trouble with them, at least not pain. thank you all so much for sharing your experiences!

    Comment by Lisa — November 25, 2008 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  367. Wow, that’s it exactly. I have a history of migrains. They come every couple of years or so. The doctors put me on imitrex which stopped the crippling pain but started a chain reaction of rebound migrains.In the periods of years between the physical pain migrains i get the visual migrains sometimes 3 times a month. In fact I got one earlier today which started the online search that led me here. It is exactly like depicted here, but happens to both my eyes when it gets going and lasts about 1/2 an hour or so. My wife and I have found some pressure points on the shoulders near the neck where if you push down hard for a while then let go and rub it out the migrains (physical and visual) stop coming for a while. You can actually feel it in your head where the migrains are when someone pushes in the right spot. Once a week or so and i don’t have to worry about them at all. Though if your in the throes of them, it may take every day or twice a day for a few days at least to sink in.

    Comment by Ted — November 25, 2008 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  368. Wow, now I can show my husband what happened to me. I had my first visual migraine yesterday morning at work and it completely freaked me out. I thought it was glare from my computer monitor, but when I got up from my desk, the flickering letter “C” in my peripheral vision was still there.

    My eye doctor (may need to get a new one) waited THREE HOURS to call me back because they suspected visual migraine and wanted me to tell them how long it lasted.

    Not good when freaking out.

    Comment by Susan — November 25, 2008 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  369. I started getting migraines about 20 years ago. I used to have them once or twice a month. Very debilitating, nonstop vomiting and felt like someone was splitting my skull open with a pick axe. After 7 years of this, got a Rx for Imitrex and it worked like a miracle. After using Imitrex for several years, my migraines just stopped. I have not had one for over a decade now, but I now get these visual migraines a couple times a year. They are just as described here. They start as a small spot of jagged flashing lightning and slowly grow into a C shape (usually on the left side). They last about 15 to 20 minutes and then nothing. Thank God I don’t get those headaches anymore!

    Comment by Peter — November 27, 2008 @ 10:42 am | Reply

  370. That’s incredibly accurate. It’s nice to be able to actually look at the patterns rather than just know they are there, Do you know what I mean? It’s like I don’t actually see the patterns that clearly because they are never directly in front of my eyes, always to the sides. All over the bloody sides. I usually “see” only about 4 colours though, red, blue, green and yellow. Actually, there’s a lot of white too. The patterns I see are very triangular and crystal-like.

    The drifting effect is very accurate too. It’s a pity you couldn’t include the “blind spot” effect as well- how things you look at seem to vanish into the background.

    My visual migraines last about 45 minutes usually, then I’ll have a headache for the next 24 hours. Not a bad headache, just a nagging annoying one that nothing will shift. I count myself lucky, I know some people have really really bad headaches. My first migraine was like that, it was 16 hours of hell. They have all been “visual” since then.

    Thanks for this wonderful simulation, I can now show it to my friends and say “There! It’s just like that what I get!”.

    Comment by Mark — November 28, 2008 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  371. I’ve had my first episode on the 13th and it happened again on the 28th. I didn’t know what it was then, only now when I stumbled on this website that I come to know this is a visual migraine.

    First time it happened, I really freaked out. I was short of being in a panic and going to a hospital. The episode lasted for about 20 mins before it subsided. I’m 31 and I was thinking that perhaps there is something really wrong with my vision or where it’s heading to. Like all others here, I think the best part here is knowing that we’re not alone with this condition.

    Comment by Aaron — December 1, 2008 @ 12:59 am | Reply

  372. The picture you’re seeing is the “file transfer progress bar”, as your brain contents are being copied into an alien space ship. It’s not supposed to be visible to you consciously, sorry about that. We fired (barbecued) the errant dna programmer.

    Comment by Frank Ch. Eigler — December 1, 2008 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  373. Just seen my eye specialist about these weird visual migraines and she tells me they are caused by an artery in the back of the brain ‘kinking’ momentarily, cutting off the blood flow briefly, and that people who have ordinary migraines are more predisposed to these visual migraines. She is prescribing a tablet to put under your tongue immediately you feel one starting, which should stop it straight away – useful if you were driving. Repeated attacks would need to be investigated by a neurologist.

    Comment by Mandy — December 1, 2008 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  374. Wow. I have been looking for 2 hours on the internet for what this blind eye thing is. I am 19 and this has been happening to me for a while now. I have the exact same thing happen to me every once in a while and that visual is fantastic. I was losing hope that I wouldn’t be able to find something on the internet that was even close to what was going on. Thank you for this and it’s great to know I’m not the only one having this problem. Not that that’s a good thing, it sucks but like everyone else has said, people think we’re crazy when we say we can’t see out of one eye and it’s odd. I just thank god that what I have is probably just a Visual Migraine. Because I was starting to think it was something more damaging. I had one lasting for about 15 mins today and it scared me terribly. That is why I am on here looking up what it could have been. This forum has been much help. Thanks to everyone who’s posted info here. I really really appreciate it.

    Comment by Brad — December 1, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  375. hey i used to get these about other month for the last 4 years. since then ive lost weight and stopped drinking the gallons of soda i did daily. does anyone else think soda might be the trigger? since ive stopped drinking my beloved pepsi i havent had any more episodes. even though my visual migraines are gone, i still notice a flickering/flashing in my eyes whenever i blink my eyes in a well lit room. mostly when i just get home from driving in darkness after work!

    Comment by Bryan — December 5, 2008 @ 12:28 am | Reply

  376. I had my first visual migraine in late August. It was really disturbing. The first thing I noticed was the the words on my computer screen were partially (left side) obscured. I went outside and sat on a bench. That’s when I noticed a flickering in the lower right corner of my field of vision. Slowly, an arching line connected from the center of my vision to the lower right. It began to expand, but only on the right side. After twenty minutes, which included frantic calls to my doctor, and my wife, the flickering lights, very much like your illustration, moved to the edge of my field of vision, then out completely. I took some Tylenol (about 5) and got a mild headache within about 1/2 hour. It was a really scary experience for me.

    I had another in October, which occurred while driving. I looked at a road sign, and knew immediately that I was going to have one. I told the person I was with that I was about to have a visual migraine and asked if she would mind driving for a bit. Funny how comfortable the 2nd one was. I wasn’t alarmed, but just wanted to be safe on the road.

    3rd one was today. Again, while driving. I pulled off the street and called my wife to casually inform her that I was having another visual migraine. She said “darn” and asked if I had anything else to share.

    It’s good to know that my experiences are so common. Makes it easier to be OK with it. I have had only mild headaches with each, but perhaps that’s becaue I took Tylenol (not a plug for the product) each time. I did so the first time because I immedicately looked it up on the internet, and someone said it was a good idea.

    Comment by Steve — December 6, 2008 @ 2:38 am | Reply

  377. One 100 mg Niacin tablet taken at the onset of a migrane aura will abate it quickly. As near as I can tell from my own experiences, MSG triggers the process that produces the aura. In any case, Niacin works (where an analgesic doesn’t and can’t) by dialating blood vessels in the brain thus increasing oxygenating blood flow to the visual center where the aura originates.

    Comment by Lee — December 7, 2008 @ 10:36 am | Reply

  378. Hey….That happens to me too i wish someone would explain it to im scared to go blind. OMG I see little dots of the rainbow that happens alot after i use the computer or tv. Some type of lights bother me also like dim lights or i can focuse on the tv screen and everything else goes black around it. I HATE????what can I do to fix this?????

    Comment by Natalia — December 10, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  379. I first experienced migraine with aura during my first pregnancy. After a series of tests, I was told that it is migraine with aura and that I’m not stroking out. During my pregnancy I would have 8-10 of these episodes a day, each lasting a few hours, followed by a severe headache. One year after having our daughter, the episodes finally stopped only to return again during the second pregancy. They have since continued. Recently, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Does anyone else have the same combination? My auras look like pixels that extend across my line of sight. I also have experienced what looks like gas coming off of the sidewalks, and lately wave patterns in concrete objects (looks like the walls are bending). Do these auras impact anyone elses day?

    Comment by Loobyloo — December 13, 2008 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

  380. Great to find this. Had a couple of these lately and was concerned when I told my sister and she told me she had the same thing before they diagnosed her with a form of MS. I told my doctor and although he doesn’t think it has anything to do with MS, he has arranged an MRI scan to rule it out. If I had read this page first I may not have even bothered going to the doc, let alone the scan, but its all arranged now so at least it should rule it out. Strange thing is that my doc did not even mention visual migraine, I just happened to be talking to a theatre nurse who was starting to have one while I was talking to her and we compared notes.

    Comment by Don — December 14, 2008 @ 1:43 am | Reply

  381. I am so happy to see this website, I just had another episode, that will make 6 in the last 2 weeks. Great illistration, although mine are always a zigzag bright light, no color. I agree with several, I think stress plays a big part. I still get scared almost everytime but I do know it will go away..if I take advil or tylenol at the start, I won’t get a headache, but my head usually feels like I “had” one if that makes any sense..

    Comment by Catherine Conner — December 19, 2008 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  382. WoW, Me too!! I am currently having my doctor take a look at this for me. He sent me to have a MRI stating he wanted to rule out eye strokes. Depending on the out come of that he will either send me to a nuerologist or eye doctor.

    When I get my eye flashes like the video you posted my blood pressure also goes way up. I have normal BP otherwise. Here are some of my other symptoms.

    1.) Eye Flases
    2.) BP goes up
    3.) Headache sometimes other times not in different places usually.
    4.) Viens in head get larger ( Above and by the temple).
    5.) Some temple pain
    6.) I usually have to urinate several times afterwards.

    I am going to book mark this site and I will keep you posted as to what I find out. I already had the MRI and i go for blood and urine tests on the 23rd and the Doctor appointment on the 29th this month.

    Comment by Glenn — December 19, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  383. When in my twenties I had a few full blown migraines, always had jagged lights off to one side before the terrible headache occured. I am now 73 years old, I still get visual migraines on occasion, I’ve had them for over 30 years. With the first ones the Dr. ordered a CAT scan, showed nothing. My daughter-in-law is now experiencing them, told her they’re nothing to worry about, but if concerned go and get checked out. I just sit quietly for 20 mins and they go away. Never get the headaches. Your illustration (video) was right on, sometimes colorful , other times white lights. Relax, they leave no impairment. Noreen

    Comment by Noreen — December 22, 2008 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  384. I have been suffering these visual migraines since 2001 after i suffeed a brain haemorrhage. At first i had them without pain, now however during the visual migraine i now have pain too usually 10 mins after the visuals start. The visual usually always goes after 10 mins but the headache can last anywhee between a day or as long as 4 or 5 days, when the headache clears i have the most awful sick feeling lasting a few hours. My usual half hour visual migraine now turns in to a week of hell.

    My doctor has refered me to a neurosurgeon. Does anyone know what is causing this??

    Comment by Jo — December 26, 2008 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  385. Glad I found the site. My manifestation of visual migraines seems somewhat different than those described here: Three times over the past few years, always at the beach, a geometric shape composed of small squares and rectangles has appeared centered in my dominant right eye. The figure is similar in shape all the times, but the internal squares and triangles are colored – red, yellow, blue, black, and white – NO flashing lights, movement, flickering, etc. The figure comes, stays for 30-45 minutes, and goes away – ON, stay, OFF. I see it with my eyes open and closed. No pain or advance warning. But at least I know I’m not going crazy.

    Comment by Chris Watson — December 27, 2008 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  386. I don’t think anyone knows why these VM’s happen. Like most of us, I have trawled the internet and asked doctors with no real explanation.

    Mine are the C shaped or rainbow like patterns in black and silvery white with zigzags.
    They start centre left then grow and drift off to the top left in about 20 minutes.
    They come at random several times per year – I can’t link them to anything I eat or drink or do – they coma at all times of day and light condition, but I am usually reading when they strike.
    My daughter has headache migraines, so some family link?

    The first time it happened, like most of us, set me off in a real cold panic – What is happening to me!!. The good news is that they started twelve years ago and they are no worse with time!

    Comment by Arthur — December 28, 2008 @ 4:01 am | Reply

  387. One more thank you, here. Now my wife has a good idea of what I am seeing . . . or not seeing. Nice job on the flash animation.

    Comment by David — December 29, 2008 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  388. Well went to the Doctor yesterday after my MRI and Blood Work. (See post 382) The MRI is fine and all my blood work is fine and within range – EXCEPT I have low Vitamin D. My Doctor prescribed some D vitamin from the pharmacy at 50000 IU to be taken 1 time per week( 4 tablets in bottle) and then he instructed me to buy some over the counter 1000 IU D vitamin and take that once a day.

    I attribute these migraines to a life style change. I have started to eat better, I have eliminated coffee/Milk from the morning routine and replaced with a healthy vegtable protien drink ( with red goodies) along with another “green” based vitamin drink. I mix them in Hazel nut milk or rice milk. Plus I am exercising more as well. My lunches are usually some sort of sandwich with a good salad.
    I still need to completely stop smoking ( 1/4 – 1/2 pack a day)and eat less and better at night.

    So it is my guess now that all the bad stuff has been eliminated ( ie Doctor visit)that my body is just filtering out toxic crap and readjusting to a healthier life style. But because I am not 100 percent comitted to a healthy life style with fatty dinners and cigarettes still lingering my body is stressing and I get the headaches and VM.

    I have an appointment for the Doc in 4 months I will keep ya’ll posted 🙂

    Comment by Glenn — December 30, 2008 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

  389. […] I don’t always have a visual aura when I’m about to get a migraine, but sometimes I do–and someone has made a movie that illustrates what it’s like! […]

    Pingback by Visual Migraine Aura–Illustrated! « Bug Girl’s Blog — January 2, 2009 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  390. Whoever posted this animation and story — I am SOOOO grateful to you!! This EXACT PHENOMENON, in identical detail, happened to me tonight and I came home terrified and concerned. Knowing that there are so many others who have experienced the exact same thing has done a miracle in calming me down and making me do more research. A wave of reassurance came over me as I watched this animation with utter fascination. I had suspected some form of a migraine, but part of what had me spooked is that I have also had a retinal detachment in years past (even though recent examinations showed me to be in good shape.)

    So that was the first thing that came to mind….and when others even described it as a letter “C”, all I could say was “Wow!!” That’s EXACTLY what I saw!! I had a similar experience three years ago in another way, when after a birthday party for me, I had a bowel movement that was a peculiar green color. The first fear I had was gall bladder failure, and visions of surgery danced in my eyes.

    Then I went online and found what had originally been intended as a quasi-joke site on “poop” — only to discover that HUNDREDS of people had written in, and like me, had just eaten a birthday cake purchased at WAL-MART, laced with a specific BLUE FOOD COLORING that turned their feces GREEN!!!

    Even my doctor laughed about that one! My cake had been trimmed with a very deep blue icing that was used throughout Wal-Mart stores, and that had caused havoc among those who had eaten it, just like me. One or two more bowel movements later, just like my compadres, the coloring was gone — no surgery for me!

    I feel like God led me to this site to comfort me — because just before I sat down and made the discovery of it, I prayed that I would be led to information that would give me comfort, AND I WAS!! To the original poster, if you still check this site after three years, PLEASE accept my heartfelt thanks for the extra effort you went to providing the animation. You helped me more than I can say by your generous efforts, and this posting has given me my sanity back again.

    God bless you, and I wish you the happiest New Year in 2009!

    Comment by Ricky Tripp — January 3, 2009 @ 1:02 am | Reply

  391. I first experienced visual migranes three years ago. I had an episode once per month three months in a row and then I did not have one until the other night. I went through having MRI’s at first because I was afraid I was going to have a stroke or something like that and found that these visual migraines are pretty common. They are scary when they occur but I do feel at ease a little bit since I have read all of the comments above. Thank you for the animation above as well I showed my husband because I wanted him to see what I experience when these migranes take place.

    Comment by Patti — January 5, 2009 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  392. Thank heavens I found this site, I was beginning to think I was the only one. I have experienced this for a few years but very infrequently until the last 12 months when they have been more frequent (I have been under a lot of stress both at work and at home which I now see is a trigger, I am also very tense in my shoulder and neck region – ditto).

    My disturbance follows roughly the same pattern as the Flash show but I have the broken mirror effect (although it can also be likened to looking through an old fashioned kaleidoscope – that dates me!). The real disturbance is centered in the bottom right, and that’s the last to go as well. I also get the ‘pressure’ in my head afterwards but no real pain.

    Many thanks to you all for sharing your experiences, it has made a real difference to how I view these ‘episodes’.

    Comment by Tricia — January 5, 2009 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  393. Been having visuals for 30 or so years. the first one was frightening, I went to the doctor and she said take Vitamin B. B6 — taking it can fix. I now carry liquid B supplement with me at all times. It shortens the duration of the visual if I start taking the B at the first few flickers. Mine are triggered by stress, my doc said that seems to be a common trigger, but if B takes care of them, it might also mean the body needs more B to get in balance. I try to make sure I take extra B and it’s only when I do not stay on that, and am under stress, that I get them now.

    Comment by Senn — January 6, 2009 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  394. yo!!!! thanx man u rly saved my sanity!!!!! well my brain is kinna f***ed up!!!!lol i have schizophrenia in very early stages due partially to marijuana!!!!!! which trust me about this is not cool at all!!!! but now i just reallised i have visual migranes too!!!!!! man!!!! the first time i had it was when i crashed my scooter and landed head down!!! its very hard to focus your vision and you are completly dissoriented! then about 3 months after, i was running and momment later i saw a small patch in the centre of my vision. first i thought it was due to starring for too long at the sun, then i thought i was seeing stars……only the was only one ( that had grown).
    about 10 later, the patch had now covered almost all vision, and focussing on objects was now almost impossible………now due to my schizophrenia this now deluded me from reallity……buts thats annother story! one hour later after i had rested on my bed my vision returned to normal…..but was replaced by nausea and a SEVERE headache!!!!! yay (ironic) !!!!!!!!lol

    Comment by lucas — January 7, 2009 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

  395. Hi Everyone! I have made a couple post on this site. I have VM, infrequent but 4 a year. Since my wonderful “haha” experience with these, I’ve also developed OCULAR MIGRAINES. These are less dibilitating and I don’t get sick, but the flashing is on and off all day long for months at a time. Eye specialist and Neurologist say that they come in groups or phases, lasting months at a time. However, I’d rather deal with the OCULAR MIGRAINES, the VM are terrifying each time I have them.

    Some triggers I found related.
    1. Dark Chocolate
    2. Nuts
    3. Not enough water
    4. Cigarette Smoke (I don’t smoke but I am exposed to it for 12 hours a day sometimes)
    5. Very commonly so, SINUS CONGESTION

    And last but not least STRESS.

    Comment by kelley — January 9, 2009 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  396. Greetings to all those who see lights and patterns,

    I did find some links showing auras and such as requested.

    How a visual aura spreads and the blind spots:

    I finally feel I am not alone. I always had bad dizzy spells, headaches and nausea as a child, they would come on suddenly. The migraines would come on suddenly and be debilitating and disorientating, I couldn’t stand or move. I wonder why my parents or doctor didn’t look for anything. Now I still get them and migraines with amazing geometric auras. I am sensitive to frame rates and this causes some trouble in animation at work. I have to keep the Hz and frame rates high so I can’t sense it. Other’s can’t see, sense or hear anything! My triggers are 70mm Imax movies, DC adaptors, gaming, computers and hand-held videos.

    I am finally putting all the pieces together as a type of visual cortex brain storm. Here is one type of aura I see, it is exactly the same (scroll to the end of the page.) Scientific American has a recent article, and it is very good:
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=why-migraines-strike

    Here is a great article about the intricate visuals we see. In a way, we are all actually seeing how we are wired and possibly why intricate patterns are seen throughout history:
    http://migraine.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/patterns/

    Although phosphenes are not really part of a migraine, here is a very nice animation based upon mathematics and exactly what I see also:

    I have never seen such an intelligent blog/board.

    Thanks,
    Natasha

    Comment by Natasha — January 10, 2009 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  397. I can’t watch this video as it makes me nauseous. I don’t know how you could have driven when you had one.
    I have been dealing with these since I was a kid. I am now 41. I would say that I’d take the pain over the aura any day. It is frightening when it happens. It is sudden and escalates very quickly. There is only a matter of a minute or so before I am completely incapable of seeing properly. I had one this morning at 4 am, in fact. The bizarre part of this is that I was actually having a dream I was having a migraine and was lost; trying find my way out of a place. I then woke up in the dark to find myself experiencing the tail end of the aura.
    I feel handicapped and not many people understand this aspect of migraine. Apparently, there are 1% of us who get Migraine with aura. It is always comforting to find others who have them… makes you feel less alone… Thank you for posting this site and the video. I now have a way to explain to everyone how the visual aspects of the migraine are.

    Comment by Wess — January 14, 2009 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  398. OMG!! I have been a migraine sufferer for almost 20 years now and just lately I have been experiencing these episodes of color patches. Its seems to happen when I am nervous and under those terrible office lights. The first time having one in the Vet office I panicked thinking I was having a stroke soon or something…then again in an office light setting . I needed to tell my Doctors at the time about it because if wasnt something to not tell…Both Doctors have said it is Visual Migraine. After all these years to have this. Just dont want to have one while driving or out by myself. Its frightning.

    Comment by Patsy Wright — January 15, 2009 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

  399. I am 35, and that’s been happening to me since i was about 17. usually when this happens maybe about an hour later it’s follwed by a very strong headache and nausea.

    Comment by Jose — January 17, 2009 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  400. Great website and great comments. I’m 59, male, and have had these for years. Identified these myself as VM by checking out the web. My 2 cents, bright lights, or bright lights from the side of vision and sinus congestion. Had one yesterday as I was waking up (congested sinus), so I’m not convinced it’s stress (at least for me). I have green eyes and my eyes are sensitive to the sun, so I would love to know the eye color of everyone who has commented here.

    Comment by Hugh — January 18, 2009 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  401. I have been trying to explain this to my husband for years! He never understood until I showed him your illustration. Thank you so much for helping me explain this disturbing thing that we have to go through.

    Does anyone seem to get these before your menstrual cycle? that is when I seem to notice mine, also I feel like when I try to “sleep it off” that is when I get the horrible headache but if I just try to ignore it and go on with my life I don’t get the pain. Weird. All I know is i’m glad i’m not the only one who suffers with this.!

    Comment by Lisa — January 18, 2009 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

  402. I have brown eyes. I have noticed that many people that have commented on being sensitive to light. I also have glaucoma and thought using the eye drops might have caused that. I had lazer surgery so I no longer use the drops and still have the light sensitivity.

    Comment by Bam — January 18, 2009 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  403. Like others here, I am so pleased to have stumbled across this site. Thank you to the originator for taking the trouble to start the ball rolling. My VM’s never ever give me any pain and come at completley random times. Sometimes I can go for months without one and then get three in a week. They are all similar but not C shaped. They take the form of ‘zig-zags’ like the shape a child would draw for a lighting strike, but with a strobed effect. They gradually move across the field of vision, usually, but not always, from the centre top downwards to bottom left. The starnge thing is I can see through them as if they are transparent and usually focus through them onto whatever is behind them. I can still read while Ihave them, by ‘looking’ to one side of them, but it is slow and a lot of effort so I usually just wait for them to pass over. My doctor and the eye clinic I go to cannot offer any explanations at all, and won’t engage in any debate on the subject. They are busy people with other patients to see so that is not unreasonable.
    I guess it is a thing we have to live with, but I would like to understand what is going on.

    Comment by Keith — January 20, 2009 @ 5:42 am | Reply

  404. i felt so sick and horrible when it happend to me you dont want to have it bye

    Comment by abigail — January 20, 2009 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  405. I’m just getting over a 20 minute visual migraine that is exactly as the flash animation describes. I’ve had them on and off for over 10 years now and if it happened while driving, I wouldn’t be able to drive as it completely takes over my field of vision.

    I do worry that because I have these, I may be more prone to a stroke (which is what I thought it was the first time it happened). My hearing also is affected (sounds are muffled) and I never get the headache after.

    Comment by LindaF — January 23, 2009 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  406. I just had my first visual migraine last night, I almost went to the ER, same thing, flashes of light then a little rainbow line across both eyes apeared like little zig zag prisms then extreme pain in my right eye, this went on for like almost 4 hours, then I fell asleep … Like the last person the was pain so intense, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, i just had to wait it out, the ER is very expensive, I was very close to having my wife drive me there, I was bettter once I woke up, in my case I think it’s one of the medications that I’m taking that is causing it, I have a doctors appointment.

    Comment by Dave — January 23, 2009 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  407. I don’t suffer from migraine at all, ever, but this awful aura thing happens to me a few times a year. I am so glad to have found out that others share this weird phenomenon. It’s always a bit of an X Files time for me when it happens – such a deeply unpleasant feeling.

    Take care all. x

    Comment by sharon — January 25, 2009 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  408. Great visual, thanks! My first epsiode (that I can recall) was about 2 years ago.
    No headaches but it was accompanied by a difficulty putting a sentence together (worse than usual anyway).
    My visual was more like an amoeba growing just left of center. It then spreads
    all across the left side of my vision and is opaque (light, but can’t see through it)
    Had CAT scan, vision check etc. All results were negative.
    Lately have had 2 episodes within a week, no headaches (ever) or speech problems this time. Right around holidays so chaulked it up to stress. Had MRI. Gonna do MRA next. Blood pressure slightly high lately. 53 years old so worried about stroke warnings.

    Comment by SteveJ — January 26, 2009 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  409. I am a physician (not an opthalmologist or neurologist) who has had opthalmic migraines for >30 years. Yours may be the best representation I have seen although mine do not have color. For those who have severe pain with this you should probably see a physician since they are usually painless. It does not predispose you to stroke. I have never figured out a defnitie trigger for mine. I can go months without one and then have two in one day or several consecutive days. Good news is as best as we can determine they are harmless except for the aggravation.

    Comment by Jim — January 27, 2009 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  410. I too am just getting over a visual migraine. I have had them for about 8 years now. At times I can go months without one and then sometimes 3 a week. My ophalmologist knew immediately what was wrong and I am so grateful to him for knowing what it was back then. I only had 1 recently when I was driving. I couldn’t wait to pull over and prayed that I would get through it. Other than that, I’ve learned to relax and wait it out. Sometimes I get a slight headache but usually nothing follows except a sharper vision ( or so it seems). I’m really glad to have found this site and read all the entries. Thank you .

    Comment by Joyceanna — January 27, 2009 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  411. I also have experienced these VMs for many years. The first one was maybe 30 years ago and the doctor sent me to hospital in case it was a detached retina. Nothing wrong. Since then my opthalmist has told me what they are, and that they are quite common (although I have never met anyone else who has them!!!). So I am really pleased to have found this site and know I’m not alone!
    I cannot find any trigger for mine and have gone years without one and then I might get two in a week. I never get any pain, touch wood, and they last for 20 mins, almost exactly as in the video, but with no colour.

    Comment by Chris — January 28, 2009 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  412. I started having this exact sensation on December 7, 2008 and I too am so glad to finally be able to show my husband exactly what it looks like. Once these started, I also had some dizziness. I’m not a ‘doctor goer’ but I went thinking I may just have an ear infection or something that would require antibiotics. My dr argued and insisted on an MRI and it was a brain tumor surrounding my optic nerve. I was told these were optical seizures. I underwent a craniotomy on January 13 and the prognosis is very good. It is a pilocytic astrocytoma which is usually found in children. I am a 32 year old otherwise healthy. Don’t drink or smoke. No other health issues. I hope I’m not scaring anyone. I think there can be many reasons to have these seizures, but I would encourage anyone having these to insist on getting a MRI just to be sure. This particular tumor is malignant but by all accounts as a benign tumor and survival and quality of life rates are very very good. Don’t be afraid and don’t put off investigating it. The sooner it is treated the better.

    Comment by Tara — January 28, 2009 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  413. I cant believe i have eventually found something on the net that discribes and shows the symptoms i have. I have this same thing and it lasts for around an hour!!! then after this i have an excrutiating migraine. I am 23 and have been having these for at least 6 years now. It is never painful but its very annoying, even when i shut my eyes its still there. I suffer from migraines, but when i get these, the migraine that follows is the most painful. I am glad i found this site as i was starting to get really worried 🙂 thankyou

    Comment by Donna — January 29, 2009 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  414. I used to suffer from VM’s when I was mid 20’s working for a boss who did my head in… When I left the job the VM’s went away and now they have just re-appeared 7 years later! I’m super stressed just now trying to relocate my business and worried like mad that it will all work out financially. I’ve been getting VM’s every other day now… Triggers – not food for sure, mostly when I’m working at PC too long without a break. Also when I’m running about daft juggling my kids and work at the same time. I think its a wake up call to slow down before something really bad happens….

    Comment by Tracey Mendy — January 31, 2009 @ 6:42 am | Reply

  415. Thanks for the site,
    I experienced one this morning that had me nearly blinded. Years ago I was a medical technician in the USAF ANG, the first time I experienced these symptoms was while assisting in a trauma ER unit, only I went completely blind. The Surgeon told me I had just experienced a traumatic fainting spell. After that it seemed like I would sometimes have the symptoms if I was under extreme stress for a long period of time and had been skipping regular meals, only my vision never went completely black.
    My symptoms are more light flares (exactly like after a photo flash) that occur around anything bright with bands of blurred grainy obscured vision that increase in size. Then, after about 15 to 30 minutes, everything fades back to normal, leaving me with mild light sensitivity and mild sinus pressure for a few hours.
    I had assumed these episodes had been mild fainting spells or anxiety attacks until I discovered your website. Now it makes more sense. What a relief!

    Comment by Bob — February 4, 2009 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  416. i have been experiencing these eye migraines and they are so scarey.
    today i was told they are caused by b12 deficciency and low iron which i have just been diagnosed with
    anyone relate to this
    helen

    Comment by helen — February 6, 2009 @ 3:52 am | Reply

  417. Since changing over to a vegetarian-minded diet, my migraines and “normal” headaches have decreased by about 75%. There is rare meat consumption (maybe 3x/month) and an effort at vegan eating when possible (we do still occasionally use eggs or cheese). I’m thrilled with the relief this has given me from migraines.

    Comment by toni — February 8, 2009 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

  418. Very interesting reading all this stuff! I just experienced my first ever visual migraine yesterday while reading the newspaper. It freaked me out …. thought I was having a stroke or something. My husband told me it was a visual migraine which he has had in the past (obviously a very common phenomenon). Mine was more like a zig-zag pattern in psychedelic colours that pulsated and moved around my eye. Plus had a couple of bright light ‘spots’. It lasted for about 45 minutes, went away, then came back again for a short time. I took some painkillers early on just in case but only had a minor headache afterwards and slept for most of the day. Afterwards I was left feeling like my head was detached from my body, or I was having an out of body experience! Weird! Couldn’t even work out how to put butter on my toast! Have no idea what brought it on, and hope it doesn’t happen again anytime soon! Anyway, good to read everyone else’s experience and see a similar visual reproduction…..

    Comment by deb — February 15, 2009 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

  419. Great animation! I had my first visual migraine several years ago at work. I work in the Operating Room, and we had just fnished a laser case. I was thinking retinal damage from the laser, retinal detatchment (I’m very nearsighted) or even stroke. When I described my symptoms to a Neurosurgeon that I worked with, he told me not to worry, it was a visual migraine. Since that time I have had 3 or 4 a year. I get regular run-of-the-mill, hair-hurting, just wanna die, painful migraines (without aura) weekly. I had my first visual migraine while driving last summer, which prompted me to explore preventative migraine treatment. I was prescribed 180 mg of Inderal, 2x a day, as a preventative, which worked quite well. Unfortunately,I was exhausted all the time, even after 6 months of treatment, so my doctor weaned me off, and discontinued the beta-blocker. Now I’ve returned to using Imitrex for the pain migraines.

    I can’t wait to share your site and animation with my family. They all look at me kind of side-eyed, like I’m crazy, when I try to describe it. Interestingly, I had an eye exam a couple of hours ago, for an unrelated problem (excessive tearing, punctal stenosis) which involved having a very bright light shined into my eyes. My visual migraine just finished a few minutes ago. I’m now experiencing the dull ache at the back of my head, and the almost drunk feeling. I’m not sure if the eye exam/bright lights and visual migraine are connected, but judging from everyone else’s experience, they very well may be.

    Again, thanks for the animation. Hope everyone has a relatively pain-free and lightshow-free future!

    KJ

    Comment by Kellijojo — February 16, 2009 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  420. OMG That is it. I first had a VM about 4 yrs ago. I was driving when it happend. At first I thought something was in my eye it was so irritating. Started in the left eye bottom left corner. I kept itching thinking it would go away, but then it got clear to me that nope nothing was in my eye. I pulled over as fast as I could trying not to freak out and called my mom. She said she would call her eye DR and see if he could tell her what was going on. So while I patiently awaited the call back it kept getting worse and worse until it pritty much over took all the vision in my left eye. Mom called me back and told me it sounded like a VM. Okay new to me what the heck. Her DR told her to tell me to get home ASAP because sometimes after it goes away there is an onset of a mirgrain to follow.
    GREAT. I have suffered from migrains since I was 13, I am 40 now so I am thinking I did not want this migrain I hated them. So I went home and it took me 20 minutes and by the time I walked in my door I was history. I had the worst possible Migrain I had EVER had in my life. My husband was helpless to my needs. I wanted no noise, no light, no nothing, if anything I wanted to die. The migrain lasted for almost 6 hours.

    Once it was gone I prayed that I would never get that again, I tried to discribe it to my husband I told him it was like the heat wave effect your looking down the long road the heat is coming up it looks distorted and wavey, but thanks to this site I was able to show him exactly what is was like for me.

    Well now I get them about once every 3-4 months and now I have a new one. Still starts in the same place lower left corner of the left eye, once it has made itsway accross the left eye it now moves into the right eye. Anyone ever have that happen. Mine still are followed my the most gut renching mirgains.

    I sent this site to my mom and she has even had them before. Anyway thanks for posting this now when I explain it I have a ref site and people wont think I am crazy.

    Comment by Debbie H — February 17, 2009 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  421. is there anything that can be done about this.

    Comment by dez — February 18, 2009 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  422. i had my first visual aura yesterday, i was driving home and turned my corner to see light pink round beautiful objects, they looked like someone had decorated all of the trees. they were arranged like in a pattern, it lasted for only a few minutes. I had a headache on and off for a few days. I called my eye doctor and tried to explain but he didnt seem to understand and asked if I was on any type of drugs such as lsd. I was so happy to find out that I was not cracking up and that there was a medical explanation for this. has anyone out there seen large light pink balloon type objects with a sort of a string attached or something like a big pink bubble. Please let me know.

    Comment by barbara t — February 18, 2009 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  423. I have visual migranes for about 10 years, my first was at work when I was talking to a colleague, the conversation suddenly went ‘ half your face has just disappeared’, she was quite concerned, and so was I. The sensation was almost exactly as the video, without pain and lasted about half an hour. I was eventually getting them about once every two weeks. The interesting thing for me is that in March 2005 as a result of a blow to my head, I developed a subdural haematoma, which is a blood clot on the brain. This gradually caused my right hand not to be able to write properly and my right leg to start dragging when I walked…..so I went to see the Doctor.
    They successfully removed the clot, and immediately the symptoms went away, also the visual migraines immediately stopped.
    At least until this morning 22nd February 2009, which was when I checked Vm’s on the internet and came across this site.

    Comment by Neil — February 22, 2009 @ 6:25 am | Reply

  424. I have VM with no headaches. It started about 8 years ago. It always starts with a “tiny” bubble in the center of vision and then it expands and takes a shape of the patterns shown in the video. However it is more Zig Zag. I experience it in night also.

    The frequency of the VM has greatly reduced after I started doing “pranayam” , the breathing exercise / yoga, regularly in the morning.

    Comment by Rakesh — February 23, 2009 @ 2:58 am | Reply

  425. Been getting ocular migraines for over 25 years.The usual zig zag pattern floating in front of my eyes with visual distortion over my visual field.These usually happen to me a day after I have done some very physical work with the upper part of my body,like digging or such.It stems from the stress and inflation of the muscles in the upper part of the neck and shoulders cutting down on the blood pressure to the eyes.15 to 20 minutes with an ice pack to the area takes care of it..

    Comment by Jerry — February 25, 2009 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  426. wow, I am so glad to see this visual representation of this anomaly. My husband has had them since he was very young having gone to the doctor and been explained that they are a form of migrane with no pain. We have been married 8 years and when he first explained this to me I was quite worried that it may lead to issues later or some fate as my friend who dropped dead after a sudden brain hemorrage. That was scary! My husband just had one of these episodes 2 days in a row which has never happened before, usually maybe once every 3-6 months at most, so I decided to look up some info and here I find this site and when I showed this to him, he said wow that’s weird that’s exactly what it looks like only his is not as sharp more faded edges. What a comfort it is to hear about how common it is. He has no pain and no other symptoms except a little fatigue afterwards. He seems to think trigger could be light and visual straining and stress. He’s wondering if salt maybe the trigger – we had some really salty stuff over the last several days… anybody think salt is an issue for them?????? And in reference to the person blogging above wondering about eye color…..he has light colored eyes too, by the way, greenish-gold. I wonder if the people who describe a C shape… is it forward or backward C ???? his is backward C.
    Wow I feel so much more relieved and now I knowbetter what he’s talking about… ***once he was driving on the freeway and it started, I was pretty concerned as the passenger and offered to drive – but he felt confident and I trusted because I’ve been with him lots of times when it happens and so I “white knuckled” i would add…and we got there just fine. He is very confident and can see right through it… weird. Well if it ever happens to me… I’ll know all about it. Thanks Tom !!

    Comment by Amy — February 25, 2009 @ 11:12 pm | Reply

  427. The demo is great and can now show this to people if I tell them about my VM’s and know that they dont think im crazy!!
    Ive had VM’s now for 8 years, the first one was so scary – I thought I was going blind! I have them about every three months or so. The best way I find t cope with them is to take strong painkillers as soon as you see the flickering spot and try to relax, sit down and not do anything if possible. If I dont take the painkillers straight away and continue to carry on as normal the pain is unbearable when the vision bit goes away, its sometimes lasted for days. Im a teacher and so have a lot of paperwork/computer work. If I try to carry on with tasks like these this is when the pain is worse. I sometimes wonder if the pain comes from the strain of trying to see through the fuzzyness. If any women reading this takes the two hormone contraceptive pill this will increase th frequency of the VM’s. Mine went from every 3 months to every week. I didnt realise the connection but when my doctor heard that I had VM’s she stopped my pill immediately. Thanks for this great site!

    Comment by Sue — February 26, 2009 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  428. I had my first migraine headache when I was 26 years old. I have had only a few throughout the years. I can skip a few years before I have one. I am 48 now. Definitely, Excedrine works if I take it at the first signs. I also go to bed, keep the room dark and quiet and have an ice pack to my head. Usually within a couple of hours, I feel much better. As far as an aura, I never have one with the headache.
    I was closer to 30 with my first visual migraine. I started seeing a flashing zig zag and then got tunnel vision. I was at work. Since I am a nurse, the staff had me lay down and took my blood sugar and my vital signs. Everything was normal, but my blood sugar was low-in the 40’s. What was odd is that I ate a large breakfast that morning. It was about 10:00AM, which would be the time for my blood sugar to be the highest after a meal. I am not diabetic. I called my Dr. and he had me do a Post Prandial test the next day to see if I had a problem with high or low blood sugars. It turned out fine. My visual disturbance took less than an hour. The one odd thing that morning was, I had a unusual burst of energy when I arrived to work and felt I was working twice a fast as normal, which may be why my blood sugar dove. I have read that migraines may be related to low blood sugars. I am not sure if it is the cause of the low blood sugar or if the low blood sugar is the cause of the aura. It would be interesting to check your blood sugar when an episode is occurring. Maybe extra sugar at the time may help, but as someone else mentioned, the episode usually is short and the sugar may not have enough time to work. I never had another aura until about 4 years ago. I was at work again-about midnight on the night shift. I saw a starburst in my middle vision. Occurring in both eyes. I kept trying to look around it to see. It quit in 30-45 minutes. I chalked it up to fatigue. A year later, I experienced another aura at 5:00 in the morning on the grave yard shift. I had a backwards C develop in my middle vision. Occurred with both eyes. I tried to look around it, but couldn’t. I had to call my supervisor to find someone to come in for me, because I could not take care of my patients with my vision loss. She suggested that I might be experiencing a visual migraine. It again lasted about 45 minutes and then was fine. I did notice the artificial lighting seemed to be very bright and bothersome during all of these events. I then began to see floaters, which I had never had before. There were many floaters for several weeks. I started looking up visual migraines on the internet I went to my eye Dr. and he said with floaters, a person should always be checked out. When I told him my symptoms and what I was suspecting, he agreed that it was most likely a visual migraine. He said it is nothing to worry about unless they become frequent. My floaters did decrease and now I can go weeks without seeing the floaters. My sister has had a couple of episodes of this and the same week I had my last one, my mom had experienced her first one. My mother has had 3-4 since then. My last episode I experienced was 9 months ago. I was sleeping at night-about 2:00 in the morning I got up. My vision was a little blurry. I figured it was related to being half asleep. For some reason, I opened my eyes wider and noticed that I could only see the bottom 1/3 of my vision. The top 2/3 were blurry and the shiny blur was vibrating,like snow on the T.V. I did not even think that this was a visual migraine. I was concerned for my vision. I woke up my husband who said I should just go to sleep. As time progressed, the blurry area became less and less. Within an 1-1 1/2 hours, my vision was normal. When I saw my eye Dr. a few weeks later and told him about it, he asked, you have had a history of visual migraines haven’t you? When he said that, I felt dumb I had not thought of it. The problem for me is every single episode has been completely different. It is hard to determine if I am having a visual migraine when the vision problem is different and only about once every year or two. All of the auras were shiny and bright-no color to them. I have not had any other symptoms of numbness or headache or anything else. I feel that stress could be related. I did look at the computer screen for several hours the day I had my last episode. My eye Dr. states that hormones play a big part in this. I would suggest that if anyone has numbness or speech problems, they should check with their physician. Those can be signs of a neurological problem-best to be safe than sorry. Floaters can be a sign of other problems-if new please have these checked. This is a great site. I am glad I could have someone listen to my experiences that has been there.

    Comment by Dawn — February 26, 2009 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  429. EEEEEEK! I had one of these last night! Thats exactly what it looked like though not to that extreme. I was driving at night time. I went into a service station with very bright lighting. As soon as i jumped back in the car – there it was.

    Comment by ben mcgarity — February 26, 2009 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  430. this is about the best representation I have ever seen of one of my visual migraines. I used to describe them like “colorful worms” making their way into my field of vision. For me they usually start out with no pain and become extremely painful within an hour or so. Sometimes they go away and I experience no pain at all. The first one I ever had was in a dark room as a teenager and I thought someone might had slipped me acid. My friends were not trustworthy… Good thing I associate with a different crowd now.

    Comment by liz — March 1, 2009 @ 12:13 am | Reply

  431. I have green eyes and wear contacts. I had my first episode about 10 years ago. My flashes are not colorful and are sometime accompanied by small blindspots here and there. I try to close my eyes, but it doesn’t stop. There’s no getting away from it. They started off lasting 5 minutes and now last about 30. After they are over, they leave me feeling wiped out, and I get a small headache. By the way, I’m 40 and can count how many headaches I’ve ever gotten. As I get older, I’m getting them a bit more often. I used to have a visual migraine about once a year, now it’s about 4 times a year.
    When I first experienced it, I thought it had to do with a detatched retina. Scared me to death. I went to the doctors and was immediately sent to an opthamologist. They could find anything. I was then sent immediately to the hospital for a cat scan which ended up being a terrible experience as I learned I am allergic to the contrast dye, conray. I almost died waiting for the resident to stick the needle full of benadryl back in my vein. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the cat scan.
    Finally, they diagnosed me with visual migraines. Never knew there was such a thing! My grandmother and mother suffer from the traditional headache migraines. I had a hard time believing that’s what it was and thought they just wanted to label it for my sanity. I’ve never come across anyone who has experienced them until now. So glad I can show people an idea of what I see. I’m tired of describing it as the watery glass-like image that the police robot takes on in the movie, The Terminator.
    Will I get over them? I know most women stop having headache migraines when they go through menopause. Are we having miny strokes in the brain?

    Comment by Laura — March 3, 2009 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  432. Does anyone have a succession of different auras? Mine can be one spinning star as i call it that sticks around for a while and drifts off to the side of my vision and then disappears, or when I am exhausted and haven’t slept real good I get a whole changing pattern of visuals very fast. Starts out with the shaddow patch like when you are looking at a bright light. Then quickly goes to funky vision and the zig zags or what I call broken window appearance and then on to real bad slanted, distorted double vision to the point I couldn’t walk anywhere if I tried because my vision is basically cockeye’d. It’s like three different visuals all happening very quickly but in a fast progessive manner. It really is a visual show. Like someone need to say.. alright first up we have your shaddow or spot then next get read cause here comes the broken window and then next up good luck trying to walk cause you’re going cockeye’d. LOL. After that but still while cockeye’d comes a numbness sensation and then to add some music to the whole opera ringing in my ears after the prickly numbness. The ringing in the ears seems to linger as the prickly hands begin to subside. I get a head rush some where in all that fun but I’m thinking thats my anxiety kicking in. The funky vision begins to come back at about maybe 8 minutes. Never time it but mine is very fast when they all show their faces.

    when I went to see the doctor he laughed and reassured me he’d do the tests but with a stroke, even a mini stroke, all the symptoms are sudden as blood flow cuts off and there is no marching or progressive manner with the event. He laughed and said I had quite a show going on in my brain hahaha. Truth be told it was scary. If I have to deal with them I’ll take my one spinning star over the onset of all of them visiting me one by one 🙂 anyone else have the pattern?

    Comment by Rita — March 7, 2009 @ 2:16 am | Reply

  433. I too get these types of headaches. My headaches seem to be triggered by eating MSG. MSG is common in Chinese food, crackers, salad dressing, soups, sauces, dry mixes, chips… I tend to get a Scintillating Scotoma headache around 24 hours after eating MSG. Lately, however, I have been getting my headaches in clusters. Once I get a migraine, I now tend to get successive headaches again for seveal days, almos always 23-24 hours after the headache the day before. DOes this happen to anybody else? Thanks, Kenny

    Comment by Kenny — March 8, 2009 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  434. Just like everyone else this was a perfect representation of what I’ve been experiencing! Almost a bit too good as it kind of felt like the real thing! I’ve been having these for a good few years now and was never really sure why. Just today I had my eyes tested again for fear of a tear as I’ve been having occasional flashes and have had floaters for a long time. The lady did say it sounded like auras though which lead me to this site, which to be honest was a big relief to find out! I’m going to have a full eye check just to make sure but it looks like problem solved, thank you very much for all the info.

    Comment by Steve — March 9, 2009 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  435. Thank you SO MUCH for this animation. My ‘hallucination’ (ha ha) has just lasted about half an hour and was quite freaking me out… first time, it goes without saying. With me, the dancing sideways ‘C’ was made up of tiny fractal patterns rather than spectrum stripes you show, but it sure fits the description otherwise. Fortunately, no pain with it. See what a service you’ve done for so many people?? THANK YOU again, and let’s hear it for the Internet! Btw, I could barely see what i was doing while looking this up!

    Comment by Rita, Prince Edward County, Canada — March 15, 2009 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  436. Last Wednesday, I had what I and the doctors thought was an TIA — a mini stroke. After many tests, a neurologist told me on Friday that I had an ocular migraine. I not only experienced the visual phenomena but a dissociation between words and their meaning. When the Paramedics said names of people who were going to look after my family while I was in Emergency, I couldn’t attach the name to a person. Friends’ names were strange to me. I couldn’t read a sentence–the words made no sense. I had pain over my left temple and throbbing around my eye and I felt slight nausea.

    I have read above that others have experience both visual phenomena and word dissociation – what a relief. I used to have debilitating migraines as a young woman but hadn’t had any of those for years (since menopause) This is something entirely new.

    I do believe that stress and lack of sleep lead to this happening. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Patricia — March 16, 2009 @ 1:37 am | Reply

  437. That is so like what I see – probably once a week – sometimes more! Mine is silver though (no colour). It is quite frightening the first time because you think you are going blind – the middle of the halo is pure nothingness. Thankfully mine only last about 15 minutes – with a slight headache and a ‘thick head’ feeling.

    Comment by Gill — March 17, 2009 @ 4:03 am | Reply

  438. What a perfect animation to what I have experienced for the last 10 years or so! The first time I had a visual migraine, I thought I was having a stroke. Fortunately, I have never been behind the wheel when it happens. I usually can always attribute the triggers to any one of the following: stress (death in the family), poor eating, flourescent lights and or TV/computer monitors. Always, just one eye, mostly my right eye, and then followed by a really bad headache for about 24 hours where I must lock myself in a dark room, etc. Because of my severe nearsightedness, my eye doctor insists that if the episode lasts longer than 20 minutes, I should drive to the hospital (due to the possibility of a retina dettachment). Thanks for demonstrating so effectively what I see when this happens. I can only say that mine are not as colorful, mostly black and white flashing, but the patterns are almost exact!

    Comment by Chelle Myers — March 19, 2009 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  439. Thanks to everyone for sharing about their experiences. I just had one of these- my third in six years. I think mine was triggered by eating late, stress and lack of sleep. I see the color shimmer and lose bottom right vision in my right eye. So disconcerting.

    Comment by Heather — March 23, 2009 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  440. Thank you! Even though I’m a medical student, no one was believing me about this phenomenon – thanks for providing the vindication. Your animation is absolutely stellar, you deserve an award for this. Thanks again.

    Comment by Supriya — March 23, 2009 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  441. You people should see if you are vitamin D deficient. I had the visual migrains and after many test determined I had was seriously Vitamin D low. After several months now ( by Doctors suggestion) I have supplemented the Vitamin D and feel allot better – and no more of the VM’s and headaches are rare.

    Comment by Mike — March 23, 2009 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

  442. This is exactly what I get, it’s nice to know there is a explanation for it. Once I got the migraine first thing in the morning and took 4 ibuprofen which is know is bad but it’s the only way and it went. Left for work and the migraine came in the other eye while I was driving. It is very scary and how you managed to drive on beggars belief. I manage to turn round and get home, slowly. When my migraine finishes the headache starts so I must lay down and try to sleep. Does anyone feel completely washed out after?
    Essex, England, UK

    Comment by Lyn Shaw — March 25, 2009 @ 4:28 am | Reply

  443. I get visual migraines aka classic migraines twice a year. However in October I suffered a bad sinus infection that caused so much pain the left side of my face. Within 3 days of the sinus infection, I began, only in my left eye, experiencing flashes of light, different from migraines. These would come and go through out the day and last only 3-10 seconds at a time. Usually happened when I went into a room with flouresant lights or outside in the bright light. Went to the eye specialist who assured me it was a migraine event of the sort of ocular migraines. So now I suffer classic migraines with aura, known as visual migraines and ocular migraines. LOVELY. I am 8 weeks pregnant and the ocular migraines have increased tremendously, however, knock on wood the visual migraines are still a few a year.

    My VM are never the same. One time it was like a kalideoscope with many colors. Next time it was a bright shimmery silver spot that took over my entire vision. Another time it looked like steam on a hot car roof or through the fumes of gasoline. And sometimes it looks like a broken mirror. Sucks really. Freaks me out every time and anxiety is soon to follow.

    Now that I’m pregnant I can’t take advil to help combat the pain tylenol is it so hopefully they don’t come to often.

    Comment by Kelley — March 26, 2009 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  444. ok…. for the past year or so i have experienced this “eye aura” with the extreme headache… sometimes so bad i cant get out of bed, vomiting, and missing days of work. There for a while the DR thought it had something to do with my BC pills and after some experiements we ruled that option out. Migranes run in my family and unfortunatly i picked that up !!! I then started seeing a massage therapist every week then to every other week it gets expensive! now i am seeing a chiropractor and the massage therapist. I can see changes and this has helped but not completly eliminated the migranes or auras.
    At first this was very scary to me being only 23 (at the time they started) and experiencing this with no warning…. now it is just more frustrating and painful than anything and i cant find any relief!!! i am going to start a “migrane diary” and see if i can make some daily changes in diet and sleep patterns to see if i can lessen the migranes … if anyone has any suggestions please feel free to share !!! PLEASE! i need relief !!!

    Thanks!

    Comment by Holley — April 2, 2009 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  445. Hi There:

    I started getting ocular migraines about 8 years ago. At first I would get one every 6 mos or so. Now I get them regularly (about 4 or 5 a month). I’ve been charting them since August 2009 and I’ve found a pattern – I will get about 3 (on different days) the week after finishing my period. Although on about 3 occasions I have had two on the same day. I’ve seen an opthamologist and neurologist. My eyes are OK and I think my brain is OK (I’ve had a CT scan and an electro-somethingoranother – that cap they stick on your head that records brain waves). My neurologists believes that for me that it is hormone related and since I’m at the perimenopause age, I’m sort of rolling with it. Truth be told it still bothers me that I get these.

    Comment by Anna — April 2, 2009 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

  446. I have been having this happen for a few years now.Mine are not in color though.After an attack, I feel terrible. Sometimes I can go for months without one. Sometimes i get them a couple times a week. Its a like they come in cycles.

    Comment by G. — April 3, 2009 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  447. Great job of yours ,with the visual migraine app.I did one too but, yours is better.
    http://download.cnet.com/AuraSimulator/3000-2129_4-10542721.html?tag=mncol

    It was a hell to just code my app causse I got several aura-attacks when I did the app and my app was not hard to do.
    I have this shit Aura since I was 7 yeras of age and now I’m 51 years. It seems to never go away and I can have 1 to four attacks after each other nowdays.How to cure this??? I have sometimes 1 aura weekly even if I take medication!! Also,I take medication for hemiplegic migraine(Verapamil) that can causse halfside tempoary stroke-attack.
    I was a musician before and played the guitar ,while i suffer from migraine but, the last ten years I couldn’t do it.
    My CD “Seven” is a real description of my migraine.
    When I play the guitar ,I wish the universe could cured me from the Hell in the Head. I’m still waiting.
    http://virtuososguitarristas.blogspot.com/2008/02/robert-blennerhed-has-retired-from.html

    Comment by Robert Blennerhed — April 3, 2009 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  448. I suffered what i believe was a visual migraine for the first time about 10 minutes ago. It was quite scary, especially as my doctor is worried about retinal detachment and wants me to keep an eye out for certain symptons. I was happy when I found this website as your illustration was exactly how it felt. I am going to make an appointment to see a doctor as i am still a little worried, but not as much now. About an hour before i was getting the beginnings of a headache, and i do suffer the occasional headache so i am not sure if there is any connection.

    Comment by Justine — April 4, 2009 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  449. This is exactly what these things are most of the time…auras..or visual migraines.. The one with the car showing the shimmying lights was right on for me. I get sparkles like that too.

    Lately I have had a numb head and feeling very spacy..then I feel nauseated and very unwell.

    I am very pleased to see these articles on this site. Bravo. It is right on and very accurate. Migraines I have had that were excruciating..with the auras..or other eye disturbances. I went to an optomatrist about 8 or so yrs ago when this first manafested to rule out retina problems etc.

    Lately I have had quite a few auras..and I am getting a caratoid doplar to rule out other things and I also had a cat scan of my sinus cavities.

    I look forward to sharing and helping others go thru this very strange time..and sometimes frightening if this is a first time.
    Look in soon to touch base…hugs to all
    brenda c

    Comment by brenda c — April 6, 2009 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  450. I forgot to add that when I get the nausea..or very bad dizziness from the migraines or just the auras..I take a half tablet of anti nausea meds from the drug store off the shelf..I then have a power nap..then it is gone!!!! yeah..may not work for yu..but does work for me thank goodness!

    Comment by brenda c — April 6, 2009 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

  451. This is exactly what I have shared with my family/friends that happens to me more and more often.

    Comment by gwen — April 10, 2009 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

  452. Blood vessels spasming…that doesn’t sound good….I’ve had these for 35-40 years. Zigzaggy oval-shaped, brilliant white, gets larger and larger and disappears (or, as one person wrote, perhaps goes to another part of the brain where it’s not visible). Very seldom any pain. A hung-over feeling afterwards. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve lost 50 IQ points for a while…

    I’ve had several TIAS (small strokes) that affected my eye, and in that case the vision was suddenly a brilliant gray, like a searchlight trained on an elephant’s hide. It lasts about five minutes, and then pixel by pixel the vision returns. (Since I started taking Aggrenox for TIAs, I haven’t had any further ones.)

    So I hope people don’t worry that these auras are strokes. There’s a big difference.

    Oh—before being prescribed the Aggrenox, I was allowed to take aspirin, and I took Excedrin-with-aspirin, and that helped a lot! It really took care of any symptoms that came along with the zigzags.

    Good to read so many comments. Very helpful! Still don’t like the idea of spasms, though…

    Annie

    Comment by Elsin Ann Perry — April 11, 2009 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  453. Fascinating. I’ve lived with these “visual effects” for almost two years so far. The image above relates very much to what I see, and it’s very impressive. I would like to thank the one who designed the visuals. The only difference is that my lights actually spin like a developing hurricane or what Ms/Mrs. Kelly said, a kaleidoscope. Before I was practically in distress after an episode. They would last for a few minutes but very chaotic, plus some involuntary contractions from certain parts of my body. One of my eyes will start to wink for a while. I would also feel a bit nauseous and my hearing turns down a bit. One thing I am certain, not once in my life did I pass out. I was conscious throughout the entire episode, aware of my surroundings but when the lights disappear, I am left a little confused, and some ‘missing’ parts of my vision field. Then after a few minutes I slowly recover, and everything was as if nothing happened.

    Those were the few worst episodes I’ve experienced a long time ago. Now these episodes come once a week or so, but much less intense, now resembling a tiny twisting spot in my vision, yet I am always ready for big daddy. He comes back, but much less than before. And they do come in “all colors” like Pennywise the evil clown said, but he was talking about balloons. I know, off topic 🙂

    There are these “leftovers” soon afterwards, then everything is back to normal. I have dealt with these lights for a while and I would also feel an intense need to talk with my loved ones, as if emotional hormones have something to do with these lights. I understand that stress, diet, and lack of sleep are also behind this. I wouldn’t expect them to go away during summer vacations, I’ve tried. But they were lighter. But for many months now, I am not too disturbed by these lights. In fact, I am a little used to them and even try to have a little fun dancing with these lights, while remain calm. When the lights reach their full prime state, then is when I’m alert in case they decide to cover up my vision.

    A headache will follow, but depending on the intensity although sometimes not at all. I take pills to ease the pain, but I have yet to know how to diminish the visual effects if even remotely possible. Because these types of irregularities take place in that part of the brain as mentioned before. I have accepted to live with these lights for they seem to be a part of me, whenever they start their…metamorphosis. So it’s floaters, dancing lights, the twist, leftovers and the fear-panic that associates with them, but since I know what I have,, it is not too much of a reason to think that they will blind you forever. Fear not. What I have, we all share.

    Comment by Simon Guglielmelli — April 12, 2009 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  454. Ohh yes… They Float Simon… They Float… and when your down here, with me… YOU FLOAT TOO!

    Comment by Pennywise — April 13, 2009 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

  455. had one yesterday at work. it’s ruff trying to work . but kept going. then it went away in about 20 min. it came back at quitting time. so i still drove home. then i got a headache on the right side of my head. don’t get them often. hope i never get them again.

    Comment by jesse rhan — April 14, 2009 @ 3:33 am | Reply

  456. I have just stumbled across this site while trying to research, what I have now, just hours ago, been diagnosed with as Visual Migraines. After thinking I had something in my eye when it first happened, popping eye drops in, thinking I had maybe a eyelash in my eye at times, maybe tired, stressed, today was the final straw.

    Over the period of 3 weeks these attacks have become far more aggressive, starting at about 20 minute episodes, twice a week, then this week, from Tuesday, going to 30-40 minutes (sometimes like people on here while driving). Until today.

    Whilst in a meeting at work I had one that ended up lasting for over 1.5 hours where I lost all visibility. I could feel it coming on, but was trying to focus, praying it would pass, hoping I was still looking attentive and no-one would notice. But it got worse and worse until I had to stop and say, “sorry i actually cant see anything”. I had actually lost all visibility bar seeing that there were slight colours of clothes in the room…. Not embarrassing at all as you can imagine! ( Maybe it was a good job I couldn’t see their faces!!)

    I joke but was terrified.

    I sat there for a bit before someone insisted on taking me to the clinic we have on my work site. I was urgently told to call the doctors and taken there pretty quickly. She’s referred me to the Opticians this afternoon and now im being referred to the Neurologist. I have also been told that tomorrow she will have a prescription for me that I should try and I have been signed of work for a week to see how I get on (as I cant drive)

    For ladies on here, I have been told also to stop the Pill immediately.

    Im pleased in one way that im not a freak (i was starting to feel like one) and not alone but to think some of you here have suffered for this many years worries me. Anyone that hasn’t been to their doctors, please do go and get this really checked into. I’m so hoping these tablets will help…best of luck and thanks so much for whoever set this site up, the visual diagram is so much better than I was trying to articulate today.

    Emma :o)

    Comment by Emma — April 16, 2009 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  457. just experienced one.. Jagged sharks teeth in flashing neon white in a semi circular shape on my right side. Crenulations only triangular. I attribute it to computer use. Perhaps need some b-12, though have been using Calcium and magnesium to stop charley horses in my sleep. Have been checked by Opthamologists and Neurologists, my retinas photogahed, my peripheral vision checked a few time a year.

    They last 20 minutes, and I don’t worry myself, though I wonder if I am lacking potassium again after reading the wikipedia explaination.

    Comment by lilly — April 20, 2009 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

  458. This is happening to me as I a m writing this. I always tried to explain it as a kolidescope effect going on. It is a wierd sensation. I have had this happen to me several times in the past 3 years, not too often. I don’t recall ever having a headache afterwards either.

    Comment by Mark — April 22, 2009 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  459. I have gotten these since I was 9 years old — much less frequent now. They are scary though if you’re driving at the time. Interestingly, I am incredibly fatigued after an attack. I usually have to take a nap afterwards.

    Comment by Jack Kane — April 23, 2009 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  460. The first mime I had a visual migraine, about eight years ago, I also thought it was due to retinal detachment. I went to a hospital emergency room and the doctor gave me some eye tests. He said one of the tests showed my eyes could not hold steady, that they vibrated back and forth very fast. He said that was an indication of an ocular migraine. I have had maybe five or six since then. I am having one right now. That is what prompted me to Google visual migraines. They are not accompanies by a headache, but a small headache follows, as it is doing now. I had been working at my computer in full view of a very bright light at eye level. I am positive that is what triggered it.

    My Dad suffered horrific full-blown migraines–the whole works, visual, cluster pain, retching. They were so bad that he would bleed from his ears and is nose.

    Comment by Rebecca — April 24, 2009 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  461. the flash demonstration was very acurate. i noticed that the phinomena was like an after image like when you look at an light bulb but doesnt go away for like 25 min. now when i close one eye part of the weirdness eleminates. when i close the other eye the rest of the image eleminates. an after image would produce an equal image for either eye regardeless if i close one or the other. my left eye carried most of the weird flashing image. i had a hard time seeing print in the same way it is hard to read after accidently being sunblinded with afterimage problems. that flash animation above is excelent.

    Comment by Barbara Taylor — April 24, 2009 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

  462. I too, have what the doctors told me was visual migraine. It starts with a small glimmer of light (very much like an oil smudge creates on a computer screen). The light turns into something that makes me feel like I am looking through a pane of broken glass that is outlined in vivid, bright colors. These colors usually reflect something I have recently been looking at. The shapes remain the same, appear to pulsate, getting larger and larger, until they are out of my field of vision. If I close my eyes, I can still see them. If I close one eye, I see it out of the open eye. The whole thing lasts about 10 to 20 minutes. I am a teacher and I hate having them in the classroom. I’ve come to notice that these sometimes go along with my menstrual cycle. The scary part is, my mom talked about flashing lights and zigzag lights (although she got the headache) and at age 52 died of a sub-arachnoidal hemorage, I am 53. The doctors have done an MRI and it was negative. – Cheryl

    Comment by Cheryl Irwin — April 26, 2009 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  463. This aura simulation is very accurate, so much so I find looking at it difficult – so well done, you are very clever! It is worth so much, to be able to show this to someone and say ‘I experience something like this when I get a visual migraine’ as people just don’t understand how bad the neurological and visual effects can be. I’m hoping that it might make some think a bit more about why us migraneurs get so ill at times, and it is not ‘just a headache’.

    I had a visual sunday just gone (I had just walked a kilometre into the middle of open countryside with my husband, it was an ‘interesting and challenging’ walk back to the car with the visuals)…similar to this, starts with a blind spot…goes into a zig zag, and coloured blocks just as you show, swirls a bit, whilst travelling around the eye covering more of the visual field. When that stops I seem to have some blind spots left in the outer view…with blurry, snowy vision. Sometimes I get double vision…not nice. This whole process lasts for about an hour…and I almost always get acute pain afterwards.

    I’ve had migraines for 24 years and they’ve got worse in my 30s, I’m pretty debilitated by them right now. I still find visuals terrifying after all these years, though I do think if you can learn to let yourself just ‘go with it’ that it might make it less traumatic, but it’s difficult to do. My favourite method is sinking my face into a soft pillow and just waiting for it to pass…but carrying a pillow around in your bag is not an option, so it’s a method for home only!

    Comment by Annie in London — May 1, 2009 @ 5:52 am | Reply

  464. Thank you so much for this. I’ve been getting these for about 4 weeks on and off now. I’ve only had one with any real pain, but when the others passed, i felt hungover and dizzy. I found out what it is a week ago from my optician, who i went to in utter panic.
    I seem to get them mostly whilst driving to and from university, or at work on till. The ones that come on while driving last 5/10 minutes, but the ones at work can last 2 or 3 hours. I can’t do much about the ones i get whilst driving, but i’ve been trying to get my manager to understand that this is real and frightening for me, and that it would be beneficial for me to be away from the tills and florescent lights. So far, no joy.

    Comment by Zoe — May 5, 2009 @ 3:38 am | Reply

  465. Re: Helen (416). I started having 1-2 visual migraines about 5 yrs ago. Typical shimmering colored triangular prisms that grow in number and spread obscuring vision where they occur; usually becoming curved Nike type pattern before shrinking and disappearing in about 15-25 minutes. In the past few weeks I’ve had two days where I’ve had multiple events; on one day the effects of one lasted a couple hours.

    My last couple blood test showed very high levels of B12 (I take supplements) and anemia which further tests showed to be due to low levels of Iron (I rarely eat red meat). I haven’t done anything to correct the Iron deficiency and I wonder now if the increased occurrences of late might be related to reduced iron levels. I was curious where you heard of this being a factor? I’ll be seeing my Doctor next week and I’ll add some Iron supplements and see if it has any effect.

    Comment by ArcticHighlander — May 6, 2009 @ 5:43 am | Reply

  466. I wanted to recommend Zomig for anyone with the regular migraines. I take only a part of the pill and wait, if it doesn’t tale care of it I will take more. I don’t have side affects with this like alot of the older medications. Luckily I don’t get pain with the vms. Just sit it out and then I feel a little tired.

    Comment by Bam — May 6, 2009 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  467. How do I get the illustration of the visual migraine back on?! I have a friend who thinks she had a TIA, and it sounds just like the moving illustration you had on this site. Help!

    Annie

    Comment by Elsin Ann Perry — May 7, 2009 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

  468. Ooooops. I found it right above this. Sorry….

    Annie

    Comment by Elsin Ann Perry — May 7, 2009 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  469. Thanks for the wonderful animation. It’s close enough to what I experience that I’m confident now of what I have. Always had these attacks since my late twenties (now 47) but never thought much about it until last month I had three. One of them was so bad I couldn’t see enough to safely walk or “fake” not being blind. I actually did a technical presentation in the middle of this bad one. That was bizzare. My work partner caught me out and scolded me into seeing a doctor about it. Now I’m discovering how common this is I feel much better even if there’s no cure. Misery loves company.

    Comment by Kevin — May 9, 2009 @ 10:28 am | Reply

  470. Hi, it’s made me feel a lot better reading these posts. I’ve been getting the visual migraines for about 20 years, sometimes going over a year without one – but they always come back and always terrify me. Last week I had 3 auras in 24 hours, a short one, a bout lasting 20 minutes the next day, when I felt very “out of sorts” and then a very short (5 mins) aura about 6 hours later. Nothing since – but it frightened the life out of me and I assumed I would have a stroke and die!!! Thanks for the excellent illustration of how the migraine aura looks too, I’ve been able to show my husband, he agreed it looked pretty scary!

    Comment by Lynda Simpson — May 10, 2009 @ 4:33 am | Reply

  471. Hello, I am 11 and I had a “visual migrain” like, every couple of months. It just starts to get REALY blury and the blury spot grows. Half my retna just, isn’t working properly.

    Comment by Rene' H. — May 14, 2009 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  472. This is quite similar to what i get. However, mine wraps around from left to right until finally distorting in the middle.
    I have noticed over the years, this is set off by 2 things:
    1. Eating chocolate of all things!
    2. Sitting in a room with a background lightsource that is brighter than what i am sitting in.
    The 2nd triggers it much quicker and i have become very sensitive to this type of environment.
    I always get a severe headache afterwards and have to lie down in a dark room for up to one hour. I get nausea and sometimes vomit.
    I have had blood tests and numerous scans and eye consults, but to no avail. I have changed my diet and this seemed to help considerably but does not rid completely.

    Comment by David — May 15, 2009 @ 3:12 am | Reply

  473. For Bam and others seeking a migraine cure, my wilderness skills instructor told me of:a cure. He said that five of his prior students had told him of getting a migraine so bad they were ready to go home. He offered to make them a cup of hot tea with a finger-size strip of dogwood inner bark. In an hour each of them reported a complete cure which they said no medicine had ever done. Some months later a neighbor complained of frequent migraine headaches, so I told him that when it happens to do the same. A few days later he reported that it was a complete cure in less than an hour.

    While writing a few minues ago, I got a totally visual migraine, very much like what knownjohnson describes. It started as a 1″ patch just right and below center of my computer monitor field in both eyes, then it changed to a diamond cross-hatch with each line flickering for a few seconds. Then it started expanding slowly with a normal field forming in the middle and the independently flickering angled lines around. Gradually the left side became normal. Now at monitor distance it is just a right-half ring about 3 feet across and 6″ wide. At the beginning I did feel a twitch inside my head somewhere. In about 10 minutes it was gone, so I couldn’t testify to a cure.other than time.

    Comment by Kurt — May 19, 2009 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  474. I should add instructions for making the Dogwood inner bark tea.
    The inner bark is the thin green layer between the rough brown outer bark and the yellow or tan wood. Take a twig on the south side of a Dogwood tree (less risk of tree damage) and shave a finger-size lengthwise strip of bark off, and then shave out the inner bark. Put it in a cup and pour boiling water over it and steep for 15 or 20 minutes. Sip.

    Comment by Kurt — May 19, 2009 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  475. I just had one on my way home, triggered by lightning.

    Comment by Jackie — May 21, 2009 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  476. Until I found this web site, I thought I was unique since I never actually met anyone who admitted experiencing a visual migrane. Well, so much for being “special”. Anyway, I thought I would describe my experiences with the phenomena. It all started around 7 years ago at age 65. My first event occurred while driving on Interstate when I developed a bright visual aura at the center of my visual field. It wasn’t incapacitating visually and was not accompanied by any sensation of pain or physical difference from normal. The aura expanded in the outline of a horizontal football with the left one-quarter missing. It was comprised of flashing aura in mixed continuous light green, light yellow, brilliant whites, and subdued blacks, all of which shimmered continuously and appearred to be drifting slowly along the outline. The visual field inside the aura was normal but brighter than the area outside. This and all subsequent returns of these events were precisely the same. They expanded for 15-20 minutes until the aura was outside the visual field and then normal vision returned. For information, the sparkling or shimmering are similar to those after laser repair of a retinal detachment or a bleeding retinal capillary except that these latter shimmering areas are stationary and seemingly less colorful. My early history with visual migraines presented only infrequent occurrences, say, one every month or so. Over time, the frequencly has increased, and I now have them about twice a week, on average. I have found that excessive or strenuous use of my eyes in bright conditions (sunlight, or concrete highways during long trips) or staring at a white computer monitor backgrounds for extended periods have preceded these events. But, this is not always the case as I have had a few events where there was no correllation to prior bright lights experience. At first I thought medications may have been a factor, but since have come to the conclusion this is not the case. While these events are annoying, they come and go on their own schedule and leave as they came, without fanfare. I am thankful that my visual migraines are without any pain. From the comments of others, the pain aspect is clearly a living hell until they go away. You have my sincere sympathy and empathy for your affliction.

    Comment by Lamar McInnis, Sr. — May 24, 2009 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  477. I have had visual migraines for 49 years the first being when I was 16. The trigger for an attack has never been established although sunlight reflecting off windows etc often seemed to be one cause and the frequency varies.
    My doctor at the time advised glucose tablets and these seemed to work to reduce the length of an occurrence. If I don’t have glucose handy a few spoons of sugar does the trick. Recently I tried eating a couple of Mars bars at the onset and this worked very quickly- 5 minutes or less. Even if that is psychological I don’t care, it works. None of these remedies involves drugs nor is associated with side effects.
    I am not diabetic, and a recent eye examination showed no signs of glaucoma. My blood tests, as a donor, are all satisfactory and I have no medical problems other than being overweight.
    My optician was really not overly concerned, other than if I was driving and unable to pull off the road until it has passed. So far I fortunately have not had an attack whilst driving.
    The optician indicated that attacks should be over in 20 minutes or less and that it was a fact of life.

    Comment by ML — May 25, 2009 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  478. If I may, I’ve been living through the next month and a half with these….colors as usual. But apparently they have “attached” themselves closer to me. I would see at least a few short moments with these twisters everyday, tiny and consistent. So far I am not alarmed ever since I understand a lot more than before, well not completely. And after all the tests I have been through last year, nothing serious has been detected so far. I believe for every person here, there is a variation of how these unwanted moments occur and how they are handled. If there is anyone who passes through these moments even though he/she is in good health, managing everything, stress/sleep/bright computer screens, food, would that person still go through an intense VM? I have not read all journals in this page, there are hundreds, which is good to keep us informed about this. Remember, fear makes it a little worse no matter the intensity. If anyone would know about pills to ease the process (excedrin was mentioned frequently) or any other intake of something… I would take the pills the moment I think it is coming. Although it only relieves the headache pain after the colors, at least something will be lifted.

    Has anyone completely passed away during “the ride”? There should be bits and pieces to put together and come up with something that can at least deal with these colors. Like a psychological method to help out even the events that would last for over an hour. Do these type of prolonged colors stay within the vision field non-stop for so long? Or would they come and go at a random pattern? If they stay pasted and cause a lot of fear I would take off in isolation and try to relax until they vanish. I am curious if anyone here has that sort of experience recently.

    Once I had were the extreme colors and trouble walking because of the involuntary muscle contractions, although slight. Probably lasted non-stop for over 5-10 minutes. The big deal, and it was a second attack after the first from a workout at the gym. Slowly I would begin to adapt to the wacky lights but still in distress. This pattern repeated itself several times but deteriorating progressively. I think with uninterrupted and rest could finish the process.

    Some of the things I do to try and reduce the lights is to use a special transparent piece of glass (or really hard plastic) in front of the computer screen and lower the gamma a little. I spend many hours using a mac. In addition to graphic design I spend most of my time looking at pixels, colors and graphics to later assemble a composition ready for printing…about a million times a month. At least it feels like a million times. Anyway there could be some connection with whatever waves are emitted from computers causing some kind of stress at some part inside the brain or something if I am not mistaken. Maybe lots of healthy food will reduce the frequency, close attention to daily activities… I think we do not realize the stress we go through until we start seeing these things. If there is anything we receive from these events it is probably a higher state of alertness in general and simply being more careful.

    Well I do not wish to mumble any further I do hope this has helped anyone in anyway. One more thing, I keep checking back for updates but after over a month I see an entry following up with our favorite evil clown shortly after mine. Sorry pennywise but I’m not suppose to take stuff from strangers…

    Comment by Simon Guglielmelli — May 27, 2009 @ 11:29 pm | Reply

  479. This has only happened to me twice–at about 10 years apart–and, of course, the second time, I was driving. Only mine progress into complete tunnel vision, with a gray outside of the flickering stuff. Needless to say, I drove verrrrry slowly; found a service station where I took what meds I had (fiorinal) and waited a bit so I could creep home.

    Mine are currently pretty well controlled by lamictal (an off-label effect), with zomig as my current acute. And, of course, the classical’s dark, quiet room.

    FWIW, my daughter, now 20, has had *daily* headaches for five years; they slowly ramped up. All tests are of course negative; topamax is working well for her. Interestingly–and luckily–very very few of these are the full classical yuck–just the pain, She has never let them stop anything she does, which horrifies me. She is thus the toughest person I know.

    Comment by Weirded Out — May 30, 2009 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  480. (ps–thanks *SO* much for the phantom smell info–thought I was going nuts. Mine are also unpleasant; I’ll start trying to correlate them to the other stuff.)

    Comment by Weirded Out — May 30, 2009 @ 9:47 am | Reply

  481. Every few months I get a visual migraine which last around 15-20 Minutes, sometimes with a mild headache aferwards. Often before a visual migraine starts, I get a really spaced out feeling . Everything seems unreal, voices sound far away and my arms and legs seem foreign.
    Hard to explain. This lasts a few minutes. Does anyone else have similar experiences?
    Brad

    Comment by Brad — May 31, 2009 @ 5:21 am | Reply

  482. What a brilliant animation – I’ve had these painless aura’s ‘headaches’ for years now and yes I do believe there are connected to stress and tiredness. This last week I’ve had four occur and I’m very stressed and tired. I don’t get a headache but do feel like someone is putting pressure on my temples & top of head and feel extremely tired. I have noticed that the majority are triggered when I’m at my work desk looking up at someone is who is stood talking to me with the bright window directly behind them. However last week one started when I merely looked up at the telly. I usually take a couple of paracetamol and sit quiet with eyes closed and after 10 – 15 mins it goes although I am left feeling pretty exhausted and have a weird head! (my family might say that’s nothing to do with the aura!) It’s comforting to know that this is quite common as I’ve not yet met anyone who has a clue what I’m on about.

    Comment by Kay — June 2, 2009 @ 5:18 am | Reply

  483. Born in Canada, and at age 13, I started migraine with aura followed by headache and need to sleep (in class). One migraine a day just after lunch (sandwiches, chocolate cake, chocolate bar, chocolate milk shake). Family doctor was no help back then. I soon discovered that cutting out chocolate was the key to eliminating them completely for 40 years. I can now eat chocolate, blue cheese, and drink red wine without headache migraine.

    However I have been getting random VM’s for about 2 years lately. They only last 15 min or so. I think sulphites and msg may be a trigger for me.

    I’m 58 and in reasonable health considering I’ve lived in SE Asia for the last 25 years.

    Aspirin, magnesium and b vitamines (riboflavin and niacin) should help to dilate blood vessels when the migraine aura appears. Dehydration and depleted magnesium levels could well be the trigger for some.

    The association between visual processing centers and balance centers mentioned by one contributor (79 Sheri) would appear to tie in with something I read decades back in Scientific American relating to sea sickness and vomiting being a human evolutionary adaptation gone wrong in protecting us against poisoning. Perhaps that’s the projectile vomiting link for some migrainers, and why motion sickness supressors can be of value.

    The associated panic attact is normal for us, and we only need some practice to control it (fear of fear).

    If there are any ladies out there who experience an urge for sexually suggestive conversation during or after their attacks, I’m listening! Seriously, (and I was being serious), hormonal levels could possibly be a trigger for some of us.

    Like the X-files, the answers are out there,and the medical “profession” can not be as dismissive of us as they were once. I’m a Professional engineer and were I to be as dismissive and un motivated to remain current in my profession as many doctors I’ve met, I would be quite remis.

    Like many of you, the exchange of information is of great value to me. I’m wondering if the mouse tracking settings on your computer can be a trigger for any of you? If you slow the tracking down to produce mouse tails, does this cause you any visual disturbances when you drag the mouse?

    Comment by edwardoprimo — June 3, 2009 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  484. Brad: I think some of us do if not every person with something before a headache. I would always get flickering lights twisting around and around before they vanish and a headache would follow. But this does not happen after every twisting lights, sometimes I only get the lights and nothing else. That process would last for hours (coming and going lights). Remember I think visual effects vary depending on the person. When I had the really bad ones my surroundings sorta turned down in sound volume and some parts of my body would twitch a little. Almost as if I am being pulled away from reality and into abstract world. So I would feel…incomplete for a while. Mine started out a few times per month and a half, now once every week or two, but less intense and I’m pretty used to it.

    Comment by Simon Guglielmelli — June 4, 2009 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  485. having 1 rught now or just the start of 1 what a p****er can no longer type hard to see

    Comment by jon j. — June 8, 2009 @ 7:57 am | Reply

  486. I just had one of those this morning. Third in my life. It is very disruptive to to do things around the house. I usually get a mild headache afterwards. The second time it happened, one that was so intense, it scared me I though I was losing my sight. The eye doctor assured me it was only temporary and should never happen again. That was a few months ago, well, I have had another so i guess I shoud expect to have them. I do suffer with migraines from time to time, put me a dark room kind with no sound. Miserable, hate it but try to deal with. I have found going to my chiropractor keeps it down to a minimum. Well that All I have to say. have a good day.

    Comment by Bev — June 10, 2009 @ 8:34 am | Reply

  487. I feel cheated. I don’t get the colors, just blurry expanding C shape. They started about 15 years ago and were scary the first couple of times until i found out what they were. Now I just take them for granted and they happen about twice a week. I would have to agree with what Lamar McInnis noticed regarding a cause: white backgrounds on a computer screen, with glare from florescent lights overhead. Maybe over-stimulating the visual section of the brain???

    Mine only last 5 to 10 minutes and I have no headache.

    Comment by Don — June 10, 2009 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  488. I have had visual migraines off and on for 30 years. During the first one, which happened at work, I thought I was going blind. A colleague, who was a nurse, calmed me down and explained what was happening.

    A neurologist (after ruling out other things) suggested the episodes were food related. He told me to look at my spices and see if they contained MSG. He also mentioned a few other food/drink triggers: aged cheese, processed meats, aged cheese, AND chocolate.

    He suggested I keep a journal of the episodes and try to determine what I had eaten/drunk within 24 to 36 hours before the episode.

    I found your website when I “binged” visual migraines a short while ago. I had experienced two consecutive visual migraines this morning. The cause? I know EXACTLY what caused them. Last night I had a hot fudge sundae, and as I ate every last bit of the gooey chocolate, I thought–“Girl, you’re going to have a vm tomorrow.” I just didn’t think there’d be two!

    Comment by Cindy — June 13, 2009 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  489. P.S.

    I forget to mention that my visual migraines last around 20 minutes. When I sense one is starting (and now it’s easy because something I’m looking at seems “cracked” like I’m looking through a cracked mirror), I take a Tylenol or another pain reliever immediately. Most of the time that prevents a headache. Sometimes I get a dull headache, nothing serious. I have sensitivity to light and sometimes the “brain-word” disconnect.

    Comment by Cindy — June 13, 2009 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  490. This is excellent! I was at the grocery store today, in the freezer section, when the visual aura started. When I was driving home, the tingling in both arms started and by the time I came in the house, the aura was full blown and the headache had really settled in.

    I just showed this to my husband as I’ve always had a difficult time describing what is happening.

    Comment by AnneMarie — June 13, 2009 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  491. I just had one of these this morning. I had gone to a doctor and he prescribed depekote,which would require me to have lab work every so often,so I chose not to stay on it.My visual migraines are the same,but there is never any color, just gray and white. They would last about 45 min. then I may or may not have a bad headache with it. They started when I was taking a test in a class and I could hardly see the paper.Since then they come and go. That was about 5 years ago.

    Comment by Elaine — June 14, 2009 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  492. I had my first vm today driving home from work. It was raining so I thought the coloured “kaleidascope” effect was coming through the rain on the windscreen. As I continued driving the colours and circular shape became more vivid. Once home, the visual effect did not stop and I began to feel afraid. I am a single Mum with three children and immediately thought OMG hope I’m not having a stroke or worse maybe going blind. It was very scary and I immediately called my optometrist and asked if I could get an appointment today. I got in within the hour. When I told him what I experienced he said it was a visual migraine and asked if I had nausea or pain with it. I had no symptoms other than the flashing light effect perfectly demonstrated in the animation.The whole sensation only lasted about 10 minutes. I asked if he had heard of it before and he said “thousands of times, let’s hope this is a one off”. I really hope it is a one off and am so happy to hear I’m not alone. It will be great to show my kids this animation so they know what the hell their Mum is talking about.

    Comment by Shazann — June 17, 2009 @ 5:39 am | Reply

  493. today i had what i can only describe as something freakish and extremly scary. ive been feeling unwell all day andwhilst having lunch i became aware my vision seemed to become distorted, i was unable to focus on anything, if i shut my right eye i could see clearly but when i re-opened it things were “funny” this lasted for a few minutes then went away or so i thought, on the way home whilst driving my sight in my right eye became non existent, couldnt see anything, i immediately pulled over and asked my wife to drive and went straight to the opticians, i explained my visual loss and how i wasnt feeling 100% and they had a free slot and i went in and had a full eye examination, the conclusion he came to after this was a visual migraine, having never heard of this he described in detail what was happening to me and recommended i visit the gp, whilst on my way to the docs from the optician i started to develop the worst headache i can imagine. my check-up showed i appeared to be in good health except for this visual loss. the whole total loss of vision in my right eye lasted about 5minutes and was the most scariest thing ive ever encountered. and the headache was pretty bad aswel. After visiting the doc i went home and had a sleep, after a few hrs sleep i awoke with a headache but nothing as bad as i was suffering and seem to be muchbetter. the diagram above descibes quite accuretly the visual distortion i expierienced but beaware, sometimes that is just the start of a bad few hrs.

    Comment by roger — June 17, 2009 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  494. That is exactly what I get but without the colors. The flashing just finished for me after 30 to 45 minutes. This has only been my third migraine and third migraine in 4 weeks. Started to think I had a brain tumor or something but its really reassuring to hear its so common. I think my triggers are a little mix between stress and possibly something I am eating. Either way it knocks me off my feet for a long time if I dont take lots of advil immediately. I really hope this isnt a normal occurance from here on out!

    Comment by Jr — June 17, 2009 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  495. I also thank you for this website. I had my first vm (I think) about 10 weeks ago when I was sitting at my computer and saw a very strang, shimmery black and white, like crystals with a jagged edge spot in what I thought was my right eye only. I then got up and picked up a paper from my desk and could not understand what was written on it even though I could read all the words and it was just a letter from a friend. I went ot my husband (an MD) to have him explain it to me and could not say the words I wanted to say. We immediately went to the ER with what we thought was a TIA (stroke). My blook pressure was extremely high and the doctors could not get it down. I stayed in the hospital for a week to get the BP under control but my symptoms went away in 24 hours with no loss of strength. Nothing showed on the CT scan MRI or MRA. I recovered completely and we took a short trip to the SF Bay area to see our Granddaughter graduate. During that time I have had 3 more VMs, 2 within about 3 hours of each other and one the next day. After the first one (I thought I was going to have another TIA) I called my physician and he said I had described the VM perfectly. I am 74 years old and have never experienced anything like this but your descriptions make me feel much better about my situation and also make me think that maybe I didn’t have a stroke after all. I will probably never know because tests didn’t show anything but I do feel better after reading all the blogs. My VMs lasted only about 10 or 15 minutes and did not leave me tired or headachey. I guess I’m lucky about that.

    Comment by Joy Frye — June 20, 2009 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  496. Mine is usually a full, psychodelic circle that pops up out of nowhere in the upper right corner of my eye. Today, however, I have my first black-and-white shimmering circle.

    Really weird, aren’t they? I don’t know if I would ever believe someone who told me they saw these things if I didn’t have them myself.

    Comment by Denise — June 20, 2009 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  497. I had my first VM a week ago. I’ve had 3 more since. They’re so disturbing I find myself wondering (in fear) when the next one will come. There’s no warning. The imagery is disturbing. I try not to close my eyes for long because the image is more distinct when my eyes are closed. Does it get better over time or does it worsen? Do people with VMs have to deal with it for the rest of our lives? If it’s a blood flow problem in the brain, would exercise help the flow return to normal? Would bending my head down between my knees help? Usually, I see a image that resembles the letter “C”, I tell you, it’s so unsettling, I think about it constantly, I guess because these experiences are so new to me. I keep the Excedrin Migraine tabs in my purse and I’m thinking up ways to prepare. I absolutely must learn not to be afraid of them.

    Comment by I can't stand it! — June 22, 2009 @ 8:02 am | Reply

  498. Very accurate video. I get these quite often, though they’re usually accompanied by numbness in face and extremities as well as speech impairment (that part starts as slurred words and often is proceeded by word replacement, making my conversation sound like a Mad-Lib).

    The whole process is pretty disconcerting, but the visual part of it is the big warning sign. As soon as I see those flashing lights I know I have anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before I’m a gibbering idiot. Nice to know I’m not alone(?)

    Comment by Ross Fry — June 23, 2009 @ 8:43 pm | Reply

  499. I have not read every comment but THINK I might have a unique comment. I have suffered with visual migraines for over 20 years (am 45, female). They always last about 30 minutes and very rarely come with any kind of severe headache. I do understand many of the comments that talk about a “headache hangover” or dull ache afterwards. Something that has happened to me a couple of times is that I will dream I’m having one of these visual migraines and wake up to find that, indeed, I am having one. I have tried for 20 years to track them by time, by my stress level, by medication I’ve taken, by food or drink I’ve had. Nothing. Once I went about six months without one and thought I’d seen the last of them. Nope. Over the years I’ve had times where I’ve had multiple ones during a single day, sometimes one right on the heels of the first. Some times it’s about one or two a month. I just had one this morning and it had probably been three or four months since the last one. Mostly they are just annoying now and it is good to hear that it seems to be a fairly common phenomenon without being something serious in terms of a health concern.

    Comment by Sonja — June 25, 2009 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  500. Just found your site and animation. Thanks for putting it up.
    I got one of these last week in the supermarket, mine was a
    semi-circle of zig-zags that looked like they were refracting light, and
    then an inability to focus right in the centre of my vision. Never had
    one before but it was quite disturbing. No pain at all.
    Glad I found your site before I went off and thought I had a tumour or something..

    Cheers
    Nik LG

    Comment by Nik LG — June 30, 2009 @ 3:15 am | Reply

  501. This is my second posting, my third VM this year, so far. I have experienced these VM’s for way over 10 years now. Yesterday, I had a VM that completely negated my previous thoughts to the possible causes/or triggers. I have been eating healthy with absolutely no stress factors but there was still one consistent trigger, as Simon pointed out, the computer screen. My job entails working with three computer monitors so as Simon suggested, I will try purchasing a screen device to reduce the gamma.

    I always experience a bad headache afterwards, so bad, that I can not watch television programs that jump around, or are fast moving or flashy. I can always turn the channel and find a slow documentary or a college lecture to view. There must be some correlation to the flashing aura and the pain that is associated with exposing your brain to any more intense and/or unnecessary flashing lights. Has anyone done any research to see if these types of VM’s occurred prior to the the world being exposed to the television/computer era? The one thing we all have in common may be the growing use of PC’s/TV’s in our lives.

    Thanks again to everyone for sharing experiences, this is a valuable resource for so many.

    Comment by Chelle Myers — June 30, 2009 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  502. Having just experienced my first v/m last week, and noting the symptoms, the experience I had and then composing the various notations of the previous comments, as well as a emergency check-up w/ my Doctor, any anxiety I had is mostly gone. Personally, as a 42 yr old female, who also relates to a few other persons in the comments , I had been under a lot of anxiety, over an issue which out of my control and had been created by another troubled person. I experienced the same 20-30 mins of visual distress, followed by atasia( the disconnect between speech and thought). I have had a brain tumor on removed and thus there are other nero. factors I ws concerned. My B/P , normally in the good range, was checked by a paramedic and it was over 150! Stroke high!. At that time, we did not know what had happened, but the next day, my Doctor told me her conclusion, as she herself had experienced it also. I understand the “Joke” mentioned by our medical specialists here is , “at least it is the kind that does not hurt so bad as the other migraine”. I think this is the first medical issue in my now lengthy history where there was no pain to complain about. For that I am grateful. Next ..another CT , due to my neuro history, and ophthalmologist.

    Comment by Joy — July 3, 2009 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  503. Thanks for your reply Simon. I havent had an “attack” for a few months now and it is really hard not to panic when this spaced out feeling comes. Im always worried it may be a TIA or something. I visited a neurologist and they did a few tests. They wired my head and I had to look into a monitor with turning spirals and listen to sounds over a headphone while they monitored my brain waves. They couldn’t provoke anything or find any abnormalities. To be certain, they recommend a CT scan which I haven’t had done yet.
    Chelle: I am a computer systems engineer and I always dreaded working on computers with a CRT monitor running at 60-75 Hz in the past. The unsteady picture very often caused a VM but without the headache and wierd feeling beforehand. I have no problems with LCD monitors. I just make sure that the white background isn’t to bright.

    Comment by Brad — July 5, 2009 @ 3:57 am | Reply

  504. This is a great website. The flash animation is quality and is very similar to my own however it is only half my vision that features the effests, but now i can show my friend what i mean because they never take my attacks seriously which slighlty annoys me. I had them every month generally, mostly after playing sport or when i had’nt eatn much on that day so a low blood sugar was the assumption by my doctor. Therefore after that i started making sure to eat loads and take sports drinks when i played and they eventually stopped. That was when i was 14-16 however now (19) i have just started to get them back after playing golf in the hot tmperatures and now i constantly spend my time looking outfor the next one.

    Comment by Dan — July 6, 2009 @ 6:23 am | Reply

  505. I have been getting visual disturbances for over 20 years and have had many different tests even by eye specialist and not once has anyone mentioned visual migranes. I began to think I had a brain tumour or was going to go completely blind. They start as white blotches, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle blotting out my vision and last anything from 2-3 minutes to 15minutes. I do not get any headaches or pain of any sort associated with them. Mr Father and Grandmother both suffered badly from classic migraines and would spend days in bed with the curtains drawn. I first heard of visual migraine at my last check up at specsavers when the optition there told me she was almost certain that was what I was suffering from. That is when I looked it up on the internet and came across this site, I cannot tell you how much of a relief it is to see that other people are getting these as well. Kind regards Val

    Comment by Val le Blond — July 7, 2009 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  506. I had my first “visual” migraine yesterday. I had headaches probably 5 times in my all life (and I am 33). Yesterday I was at work and then first I saw a flash and then I felt like I was blinded (like when you stare at the sun). Then I noticed the strange pattern forming. It had a zigzag shape. Small, but kinda in the center of my vision (a little on the side). It looked like a broken mirror, but full of colors and they were pulsating and spinning. I was definitely weird out. I had trouble walking (because I could not see well and I was a little panicked). I toke the bus and went back home. In 30 minutes I was fine. I spoke with the doctor and she claimed it was an optical migraine. I checked out the drawings on the web and hey, it really looked like this animation (it was just more angular and zigzaged, like other drawings I found on the web). But your animation is really good! Weird! I hope it won’t happen again!

    Comment by Marco — July 7, 2009 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  507. I have had the same thing for years since I was 32 and now 57. I try everything it is very depressing, but yeah stress has a lot to do with it. I wish there was a cure or a cause.

    Comment by Peggy — July 10, 2009 @ 7:14 am | Reply

  508. I got only one while driving and it was scary, went really slow and cried all the way. When I was done with the drive it stopped LOL.

    Comment by Peggy — July 10, 2009 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  509. I have been having visual ‘episodes’ for a couple of years now (I am f, 66) & have been told by optician it was nothing to worry about, tho not what it actually was. Yesterday I saw a new optician & she immediately identified opthalmic migraine but still told told me it was nothing serious. I was curious to find out more & spotted your site, found it very reassuring that so many people experience the same thing. I consider myself very lucky that I dont suffer from full-blown migraine attacks. I don’t get any colours with my attacks, the best way I can describe them is like looking thru slightly misted up glass at randomly floating semi-opaque blobs. They usually happens when I’m reading & seriously affect my vision while they last(15 to 30mins)I do drive but have never had a spell while at the wheel fortunately. They are a nuisance but at least I know there is nothing serious going on.

    Comment by val — July 11, 2009 @ 4:04 am | Reply

  510. If only there was an exercise program to get rid of these migraines. Still, flat screens, super imagery qualities and fast-paced 3-d motions are what I think most people see nowadays, especially teenagers. Technology is advancing and we are sharing bigger bonds with buttons then making a fire. First comes the colors (warning signs), then the head in a vice like that disturbing scene from Casino (1995). Usually this type of pain would lean over one side of the head. If your entire visual field is nearly engulfed by a huge pattern of bright colors, the pain will definitely come afterwards.

    Be sure that the screen fits in front of the monitor, and keep it clean too. When I remove mine the display does not seem brighter, but more of a color calibration. Even with the screen in use, I am experimenting with food contents. Flavor-enhancing ingredients (like the ones in Chinese food) are known to cause migraines. Some people suffer the same symptoms from certain types of nuts and caffeine. To be honest I think my ‘neurological’ system has become caffeine dependent. Dropping consumption of pepsi like a rock would have some adverse results to my head, so I have to watch carefully.

    It is mentioned that migraine sufferers are more likely to go through more sever complications. I really think it depends more on the level of plaque within the blood vessels. Body weight, smoking cigarettes, heavy alcohol consumption, certain blood disorders and lack of exercise. Those terms relate more to triggering strokes or TIAs. Remember about high cholesterol foods, promoting plaque build up and cutting off air supply. I checked online and the simplest way to reduce the build up is cooked foods, plenty of exercise (and contradicting the terms I have mentioned). I have a fast metabolism but it does not mean I can order a papa john’s pizza everyday. 3 meals a day is vital and if you are in a hurry, have something quick before rushing off to work. As previously mentioned, skipping a meal would at least give headaches. Other than that, how much money is for a blood test? Oh yeah, and watch out for heavily-processed meats like funny-tasting meatballs in a hot dog. If it is not about the plaque, it is the constriction/dilation irregular pattern of the blood vessels to the back of the head, causing the off balance flow of blood to the visual cortex of the brain. Recently I have seen some video about this device that people use on that same spot, said to emit slight electrical currents and assist to the elimination of the migraine. I think I will link this video if I can find it (making sure that it is authenticated and bringing results to consumers, because I only watched it once).

    Having visual migraines once every few months is quite a difference then witnessing them once or twice on a weekly basis. I think I learn a lot about them. I would understand because mine started out once every month and a half. I would panic, but I believe the more you see them the better you know the process. Every time I get more of a feeling that I am in a training session.

    Okay guys, best wishes.

    Comment by Simon Guglielmelli — July 11, 2009 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

  511. Hi,
    I am starting to get my second migraine. I have a plodge of white on my left side vision. It is like when someone takes a photo and you have the flash left in your eyes, but you blink it out, except I haven’t had a photo taken and it’s not going away. Yesterday I had an achy neck and bones, but I went on the NHS website and watched the video which said some people can experience a sore neck 24 hours before, so here it is!
    The first time I had a migraine was a few weeks ago. It wasn’t pleasant. I was in my class room waiting for school to start and went over to talk to my friends. Then I thought I was going blind,lol. I had the flash thing in my left side vision (as I do now). If I tried to read something I couldn’t read all of it as there would be a white shiny C shape in the way. If I looked out of the window it looked like a grease mark on a window, that moved when I moved my head. So I went to the medical room. There the thing in my eyes looked like a fan was turning in the upper left corner, but there aren’t any fans on there.Then I went home and I was sick. But I never really got a headache. I fell asleep and when I woke up I was better.
    Hopefully I won’t get a headache today! I wish it would just go away…….

    Comment by Mimi — July 12, 2009 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  512. P.S. I think the white splodge/flash thing is called an aura. It is going away a bit now, but I am starting to feel a bit queasy and the front of my head feels a bit like there is some pressure on it. Hopefully it will be like the last time and I won’t really get a headache, the important thing is not to panic! I think I may have abdominal migraines (from the video on the NHS website, it is very useful!)
    P.P.S My vision thing doesn’t look anything like the animation.More like a white light is shing constantly in my left eye the the shape of a distorted C.

    Comment by Mimi — July 12, 2009 @ 5:07 am | Reply

  513. P.P.P.S Ok I’m sorry, but I think I have a retinal migraine,aha, I have a name for it. I diagnosed my self by the way,lol.

    Comment by Mimi — July 12, 2009 @ 5:12 am | Reply

  514. Hi
    I just found this website. This is exactly what I experience. I usually get them in clusters for a few days – never any pain. Then they go away for a few months.

    Comment by kerry — July 12, 2009 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  515. Great video. I showed it to my wife so she can now see what I have been talking about! I often get this after vigorous exercise. I also get numbness/pins and needles in my hand, cheek, lip and/or roof of my mouth. And I can’t read! I look at the letters, but they don’t make sense. Through experimentation, I think my “spells” are caused by dehydration, possibly accompanied by a drop in blood sugar. When I drink a LOT of water before and after exercise and eat a banana, I can usually avoid a spell. I don’t usually get splitting headaches, though. Really more like a hangover…slight to moderate headaches and lethargy. Rest and time make them go away.

    Echoing others’ comments, it’s great to know I am not alone! (And that I am not having a stroke!)

    Comment by Steve — July 14, 2009 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  516. Amazing to see how many people get these! Mine started about 2 years ago (I’m 58) and at the time I was foolish enough to be doing cocaine and drinking heavily due to deep depression. After being re-assured at the eye hospital (although at the time they never mentioned visual migraines) I immediately stopped taking any drugs – but carried on drinking. Up until a week ago I still drank much too much,and for the past 6 months the migraines got more frequent,about 1 every 6 weeks,but then I sometimes got 2 in one day,both seeming to be in different eyes to start with. Lately I have cut down drink to a respectable level – my blood pressure was up- for the past week I have had hardly any booze at all,and went to the doctors today,and my blood pressure was perfect. So it’s no more heavy drinking for me,and the drugs went out of the window 2 years ago.Strangely though,I woke up this morning with a V M,and had another one 3 hours later whilst waiting in the doctors. I told the nurse who said she’d never heard of them! I never get any pain with them, apart from a dull ache in the eyes for an hour or so,and a very slight feeling of nausea,but I can always continue with my normal activities whilst experiencing one (but I don’t drive) Last time I mentioned them to an optician she said that they are not normally anything to worry about and are surprisingly common,but obviously any dramatic increase in them,or very long periods of flashing lights should be investigated. So I would say to anyone reading this site,it’s scary when you get the first one,but they usually go within 40 minutes or so – go to an optician and get advice to put your mind at rest,and don’t panic. Once my new found drink abstinence kicks in over a month or so,I will be interested to see if the frequency or intensity of my V Ms changes. I’m hoping they’ll go altogether.

    Comment by Andy — July 17, 2009 @ 3:43 am | Reply

  517. I’ve been suffering from classic migraines with aura since the age of 12 (am now 48). Never in those 36 years have I been able to fully explain or describe to family/friends the always scary visual part of my migraines. Now, thanks to you and your fabulous video, I can actually “show” them my frightening warnings of an impending migraine. I have found that taking the triptan medicine called MAXALT -available only by prescription- (sometimes in combination with Excedrin Migraine) helps to completely abort the migraine…hope this helps at least one fellow migraine sufferer! Good luck! Thanks again for the video.

    Comment by Sallie — July 19, 2009 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  518. I’ve been getting migraines all my adult life – I’m in my early 50’s. My migraines are always preceeded with an aura. Now I can often tell I’m getting a migraine even before the aura starts – it’s a sense I get ahead of time. The auras are very similar to the one in the representation – which was unbelieveable to see. I never thought anyone could duplicate and animate what an aura looked like. I couldn’t wait to show this to my husband and several of my friends. Mine, however, are never in color and seem a bit more like electrical bolts of lightning -a little more jagged. They always start out as a small dot on one side of my vision, and grow into a letter C- getting larger and larger until they take over my entire vision and then grow out of my field of vision altogether. This takes 20-30 minutes. If I don’t take an abortive medication during the aura, the migraine will continue with excruciating pain and nausea. Funny how sometimes when I’m sleeping, I’ll be dreaming that I’m having a migraine and the aura wakes me up – and I’m actually having one – and I have to get up and take my meds. I guess I’m actually lucky it wakes me up, otherwise I’d be really sick. Even when I catch the migraine, I feel like I’ve been through the ringer- really tired with a dull thudding in my head all day. This has been such a part of my life – I’ve actually kind of gotten used to them. Thank you to the person who put the animation on-line. It’s the only one of it’s kind I’ve ever seen. It’s very hard to describe what an aura looks like to a person who has never had one!!

    Comment by Helen S. — July 22, 2009 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  519. Thanks for posting the images. It helps describe to others what many of us see when we get visual migraines. I’ve had them for the past 30 years (starting when I was 12) and at one stage had them every single day for almost a year, which was obviously very debillitating.

    Mine were a bit different than yours. I’d start with a blind spot – I’d notice that all of a sudden I wouldn’t be able to see someone. Even more dangerously it would often happen when I was driving and I wouldn’t see a pedestrian trying to cross the street. I self’-banned myself from driving when it was happening every day as it was just too dangerous. After the blind spot, the edges of the blind spot would start to flash and twinkle and that circle would expand to fill my entire vision with sparkling lights.

    In my 20s I then developed speech loss/difficulty and muscle weakness after the flashing lights, which was then diagnosed as Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraines.

    Comment by Fiona — July 27, 2009 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  520. I have a different sympton than you all have described, but close enough that I am wondering if it is a vision migraine as well. Out of nowhere my filed of vision turns on it’s side. Basically my vision turns 90 degrees… as if you were to turn you r head sideways, but I am not turning my head. I get very dizzy and close my eyes, when I open them everything has righted itself and I am dizzy for just a few minutes.
    Anyone ever have anyhting like this?

    Comment by Paula — July 27, 2009 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  521. triggers may be chocolate and alcohol for me i have has them on and off for 1 year or so…scarey yes…mine sound like everyone elses on here…sometimes bright lights trigger it…or bright lines on the road or through a blind…had eye tests and was told am fine…that i have visual migraine…i still worry…i think all the worst things it can be….great simulation on here though mine take on some other different shapes and colors…sometimes looks like lightning in the night skies….it starts in my central vision the fades off to the left…leaving me with a bad headache weakness and sometimes my lips and hands tingle

    Comment by shanny Spencer — July 28, 2009 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  522. That is what happens to me and just happened to me today. The only difference is the floating lines are black and white, no color. Today it was really freaky because I was driving at the time.

    Comment by marsha — July 29, 2009 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  523. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea for me to be at the computer at the moment as I am currently experiencing a visual migraine, but I couldn’t wait to share. It also happened to me about a week ago, and I immediately went to an optometrist. Just to make sure it wasn’t a retina detachment, he dialated my pupils to take a closer look at the retina. My retina is fine and my vision is nearly perfect. I was told that it was most likely a visual migraine. However, I haven’t really experienced any pain with it… maybe a little pain, but it’s so subtle that I don’t even notice it as much as the visual stuff. Having it for the second time in two weeks got me a little concerned until I read someone’s comment who said they’ve been having them for 30 years. I guess, like regular migraines, it’s probably just something that people live with without any real cause?

    The animation above was exactly what I was seeing in my vision when I watched it! So fascitnating.

    okay, the rainbow zig zags have mostly gone away now, but now my head is hurting a little.

    Thanks for sharing everyone!

    Comment by Amanda — July 29, 2009 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  524. Gratifying so many people are helping each other with informatin.
    I had my first VM at about 16. Was never diagosed. I’m now 74. Female, excellent health, BP great – no health problems. They disappear for 5 – 10 – 20 yrs and then return — several in a row. No pain whatsoever. Last about 20 – 30 mins. No color – just a dull brown or grey.
    Then yrs later when my daughter was in college, she called me saying she had had spots before her eyes, AND a severe headache. Took her to dr when she returned home…..who diagosed it right away. That’s how I found a name for my symptoms. Lately for me it’s becoming more frequent…in fact I woke up this AM with one. This is a first upon waking in the AM. Guess I haven’t taken it too seriously, as the symptoms always disappeared within a short time
    Glad this site has been a comfort to so many people. It can be very scary –
    Carol

    Comment by Carol B — July 30, 2009 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  525. Mine always is accompanied by sinus pressure. Sudafed seems to help some to shorten the attack. Does anyone else get the sinus pressure?

    Comment by Scott A — July 30, 2009 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  526. Hi,

    I have had several vision episodes that are hard to describe. Sometimes I have headaches after these episodes, but not during. I will be working on my computer or watching television and out of nowhere (I have no warning what is about to happen), my vision turns on its side. I posted a similar coment on this site last week and it was removed, why? I have only found 2 other people (on seperate forums) who haved described this exact same thing, but they are not active forums, so I am looking for some help here. Has anyone else ever experienced their vision turning (flipping) on its side?? I had a CT done last week that revealed nothing and I saw a neuro-opthomalogist as well who thinks I have ocular migraines.
    Thanks,
    Paula

    Comment by Paula — July 30, 2009 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  527. I am so glad i found this website. I was going crazy with what it was. Thought i was going blind at first!!. I am 24 weeks pregnant and had it down that i have got pre-eclampsia ( i am going to see the midwife this afternoon actually to rule that out!). But after reading everyones experience i think i definitely have this visual migraine thing.
    I have suffered on and off with migraines over the years (i am 35 now) – especially when i was on the pill. Had one every month. So i cant take any birth control pills now (hence why i am pregnant,!! hee hee). My brother and mother also suffer severely with migraines (the headache type) too. But i never got them that often. Just wonder if its pregnancy induced?
    This really scared me, my first episode was last week – it lasted about half an hour and it starts with bright lights in the middle of my vision, growing to a large blurred zip zag lightening stripe in the middle of each eye made up of white/silvery lines. And i cant see centrally, there is clear vision around the edges of my eyes.
    I had my second one last night just before i was leaving to go home from work – i shouldnt have drove really but i was panicking and just wanted to get home – very scary. All i could see were the white lines on the road. I should have pulled over really. But it lifted before i got home.
    I have a slight stigmata in my eyes and i have to wear glasses when i work on the computer and when driving, although i dont wear them as often as i should i dont think. I thought it was just my eye sight deteriorating at first and i didnt know whether to go and see the optician, doctor or midwife! Very confusing!.

    So anyway like i say off to see the midwife this afternoon to rule the high blood pressure out as the more i read on this sight, the more i think its the migraine. I hope its just pregnancy related and will go when i have the baby!
    I feel sort of “spaced out” after an episode, like detatched from reality, really hard to describe only for the word “weird”. I have a dull headache behind my eyes after one too. Although i had a headache all day yesterday before and after.
    I dont know whether there is a trigger or not. The first time i wasnt particularly tired or stressed, but when i had the one yesterday i hadnt slept particularly well the night before and i was soooo tired and i think i spent too much time on the computer that day without my glasses. So perhaps its just the computer glare that causes it as both times i was at work and on the computer.

    The feeling is like when someone takes a photograph of you head on and your eyes have the “flash” in them for a while – but this lasts for longer than a few seconds! The animation is very close to what i experience apart from the shape, mine is zig zaggy. Its a really strange feeling.
    Best wishes everyone!

    Comment by Ann-Marie Powley — August 4, 2009 @ 5:41 am | Reply

  528. Wow this is the BEST video description of what happens. I am actually having one right at the moment…lol. Let me tell you my story…

    I moved to Delaware in 2003 when I started having chronic pain and swelling of my joints. Went to a doctor and was diagnosed initially with Rheumatoid Arthritis. In 2007 I was finally diagnosed with Lupus. Was doing fine…used to get headaches frequently when I lived in NY. Well about 10 months ago I had a severe case of shingles because of the Lupus and stress. Ever since then I have been getting headaches frequently and my blood pressure has been sky high. Was put on Blood Pressure medicine which is NOT WORKING by the way…ever since I was put on this medicine I get these visual migraines almost daily. Asked my doctor about it…no one seems to know why I am getting them. I don’t usually get the headache until much later…not right after. It’s very frustrating and annoying. I was glad to find this sight and see others that experience these things as well. thank you!!

    Comment by Stacey Wilkinson — August 6, 2009 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  529. I’m having one right now at work and it’s almost blinding. I’m a graphic designer and I get them from the white area of my computer screen. They start small and brow to the point where I almost can’t see. Ibroprophin has been working to shut it down.

    Comment by Bob Rich — August 7, 2009 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  530. I see a band that’s yellow with black triangles. Very geometric and it encircles my vision, very similar to the flash simulation. Thank you for that. It has been very helpful. People think I’m crazy when I try to explain what’s happening, but everyone I’ve showed the flash to say they can’t watch it because it bothers their eyes. As you know, it really is worse than the demo. I’ve come close to blacking out when most of my vision became blanked out. I’m a commercial artist that works on a large monitor all day. The problem usually starts when I’m looking at an expanse of white on the screen. I’m also a hunter, and I’ve also had it start when walking through the woods, looking through the branches into a bright sky.

    Comment by Bob Rich — August 7, 2009 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  531. I had these about 15 years ago, exactly as the picture describes. I didn’t have them for quite a while, and am now starting to get them again. I relate it to tension in my shoulders and neck. I have been going to a holistic massage therapist, and I’ve seen my doctor, who has put me on Robaxin, a half a pill before going to bed. The one I had this morning was a doozy, and I had a half a pill of Robaxin before coming into work, due to my massage therapist doing her thing last night on me. I just have a lot of tension after the 30 mins. or so of the rainbows. In the temples and in between the eyes. I guess I look spacy afterwards because everyone asks me what’s wrong. I’ve had them daily for a while, and then every other couple of days or so……

    Comment by Trina — August 12, 2009 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  532. I started getting my occular migrane sessions when i was in my twenties. i am 40 years old and i have been getting them once or twice every year since then. in the past month i have gotten three so far. i was concerned and fortunatley i found this web site. i am relieved to know that i will not lose my vision but they are annoying while they are occuring. i have to tell my co-workers i need a break and i go find a place to relax and close my eyes and within ten minutes its gone.

    Comment by Octavio Luevano — August 15, 2009 @ 10:11 am | Reply

  533. wow finally found an explaination for this!!
    I’ve been having these exact visual disturbances since I was about 13 years old (I’m 35 now) and have never been able to get a answer as to what it was.
    I am lucky tho that I only get the visions and not the migraine that apparently is part of the show for alot of people.
    The only thing is feeling slightly washed out afterwards for half an hour or so.
    I’d just like to thank all the people above for writing about their experiences so others may learn.

    Comment by Phil — August 16, 2009 @ 2:22 am | Reply

  534. Oh man, thanks so much for posting this. I just had my first episode over a period of about 15 minutes and FREAKED OUT. I found your post, starting reading and it was subsiding even while reading. Thing is, I never get headaches or migraines. I’ve seen others suffer badly from them. Is the visual migraine related to high blood pressure? I’m not sure of the state of my blood pressure at the moment, but I’ve had a stressful morning. Just for everyone’s info, I’m 32 and pretty healthy.

    Comment by MOz — August 18, 2009 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

  535. I’ve suffered from what I belive is classic migraine plus aura (flashing zig-zags, numbness in appendages, confusion, numbness in face and mouth, slurred speech, headache, nausea, etc.) for the last 14 years. Still coming down from one this morning 😦

    Scott A: yes it does feel like i have sinus pain when a migraine comes on. I’ve never been able to identify my triggers but noticed that the seen to come more often during spring and summer aka. allergy season. I visited an allergist who also suffers from migraines. He explained that some people actually respond to allergens with pain. Weird, i know. He started me on prescription nasal spray and amazingly I didn’t have a single migraine all spring. I stopped using the spray the beginning of July and was told to start back up mid August when the next wave of things starts to bloom. I guess I started back up a little late so I’ve had a couple of migraines in the last week. I’m hopeful that once the steriod spray takes affect again that the migraines will stop.

    Comment by Alison D — August 19, 2009 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  536. Thank you so much for your picture show. I have suffered with floaters since I was 13 years old, the kind where it seems like it’s snowing every day.
    I had my first visual migraine when I was 16 but did not have a another one untill I was 40. In 2007 I had just a red flashing light which made me see the opticians and eye specialist. My eyes were fine but he sent me for a brain scan which thank god came back fine. He said that I could be suffering from Visual migraines. They have got more frequent since I have become a Manager and have suffered from blocked sinuses. I am wondering if your sinuses being blocked can make them happen more? I am going to see my doctor tomorrow to see if I can get help.
    I at one time was diagnosed with M.E but I am now wondering if all this time I have had Migaines with the fatigue aftermath.

    Comment by Tony Micallef — August 20, 2009 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  537. Well, I have read most of the above responses, but have not noticed one that relates these oscular migrains to the mentrual cycle.

    I have noticed in the past 6 months of the many yrs. I would get the visual migraine that the occur 0ne day before, sometimes during my mentrual period.
    Anyone else noticing this? Wonder if there is a connection.

    ME

    Comment by Same thing well described — August 20, 2009 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  538. wow…so many of us…you dont need to experiance any pain or headache,,
    colors and shades do differ….i can tell when one is coming on when i start to see a pin size silver dot…it may happen hours after….i also if i close my eyes just before one comes on i see the colored snake zigzaging around and around its so bright and colorful like a snake in africa…then it grows and spreads over my vision causing zig zigs broken vision. caffine is said to keep them away….pian relief taken when you know one is coming can stop it as its treated the same as a migraine…i knew one was coming on i took 3 panadole and codine .the visual aura did not continue…avoid bright lights directly..if u can..lack of sleep and alchold can trigger as can chocolate and stress…i since have anew floater so im off to th eye doc soon just for my yearly…last check up wss good.you can cope better with more info knowing how to shorten them or even stop them in their tracks as i have done….sometimes the first warning is slight broken vision my first time i had blue flashes but only once..never heard of flipped vision paula…this must be scary..hope its visual migrain and nothing else cause its not a common symptom..good luck everyone..relax and breath through them.

    Comment by shanny Spencer — August 24, 2009 @ 1:23 pm | Reply

  539. wow…so many of us…you dont need to experiance any pain or headache,,
    colors and shades do differ….i can tell when one is coming on when i start to see a pin size silver dot…it may happen hours after….i also if i close my eyes just before one comes on i see the colored snake zigzaging around and around its so bright and colorful like a snake in africa…then it grows and spreads over my vision causing zig zigs broken vision. caffine is said to keep them away….pian relief taken when you know one is coming can stop it as its treated the same as a migraine…i knew one was coming on i took 3 panadole and codine .the visual aura did not continue…avoid bright lights directly..if u can..lack of sleep and alchold can trigger as can chocolate and stress…i since have anew floater so im off to th eye doc soon just for my yearly…last check up wss good.you can cope better with more info knowing how to shorten them or even stop them in their tracks as i have done….sometimes the first warning is slight broken vision my first time i had blue flashes but only once..never heard of flipped vision paula…this must be scary..hope its visual migrain and nothing else cause its not a common symptom..good luck everyone..relax and breath through them.

    Comment by sheru — August 24, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  540. I’ve had two previous ocular migranes, losing total vision in a quadrant of my vision. In June, I had a grand mal seizure (eeg, brain scan, blood work normal) had an accident in July -just didn’t see the person I hit, sent him into a cornfield, no one hurt- and a few days ago I had a very different ocular episode, kind a starburst in the left quadrant of my vision, both eyes, that grew in size til it went away. sound familiar to anyone?

    Comment by connie — September 5, 2009 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

  541. Thank you for this post! I had already had my visual migraines diagnosed by a competent doctor, and this video will make it easier for me to explain to others what is going on. Really appreciate.

    Comment by Andrea — September 8, 2009 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  542. I’ve experienced about four or five of these over a period of maybe 20 years. Mine were always identical in behavior. I first noticed that I was having difficulty in seeing clearly directly in the center of my vision. I was doing board drafting at that time (yeah, I’m that old!) and I attributed it to eye strain until I realized that the small, central, indistinct area was expanding in size and was taking the shape of a vibrating, scitil-ating scimitar with a uniform zig-zagged “cutting edge”.
    My vision was clear except in the specific area of the scimitar.
    I tried looking through each eye in turn with my hand over the other eye and found that the image was clearly apparent to both eyes at all times whether covered or uncovered so what I was experiencing was not visual (not a problem of the eyes themselves) but neurological and seated in my nervous system instead. Wiuthin about 10 to 15 minutes the scimitar had expanded unti it went off my visual “screen” and disapeared entirely. My doctor knew exactly what this was and actually had a (weird) name for it. He said that they were sometimes precursors of migrain headaches – which I’ve never had. I haven’t had a headache for at least 40 or 50 years. Anyway he assured me that this was nothing to worry about; there’s no history of their association with anything serious other than the possible migrain accompaniment. Enjoy the show!!

    Comment by Bill Cravello — September 12, 2009 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  543. Wish I knew what they were earlier, I thought I had a brain tumor that was making my vision go haywire. This is what I was experiencing all along. Sometimes I would get the horrible headaches and other times it would just pass in 20 minutes or so. I take Excedrin Migraine after which helps most of the time, when that fails to halt the headache the Maxalt works but i hate the side effects. I will book mark this to help other see what we feel..

    Comment by Tony — September 18, 2009 @ 11:01 pm | Reply

  544. […] Have You Ever Experienced This? 29 09 2009 Temporary Partial Blindness–Have you ever experienced this? […]

    Pingback by Have You Ever Experienced This? « Therearenosunglasses’s Weblog — September 28, 2009 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  545. I am 56 and I had my first migraine when I was 19. When I was pregnant at 25 I got one so bad that I had numbness down my left side, the visual thing and the PAIN. My husband took me to the Emergency room where they said I had Migraine Syndrome. Well the meds they gave me didn’t work and they lasted, in the dark, quiet room, for days. Well over the years I have learned that as soon as I feel one coming on, if at all possible, I have a couple of strong cups of coffee. My visuals are like looking through a clear kaleidoscope, no color. The coffee worked, any high caffeine will do. The dr tells me mine are probably from stress. I also have glaucoma that is not under treatment. I have to say that it is good not to be alone in this although I am sorry for the other sufferers.

    Comment by Pattie — September 29, 2009 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  546. I’m only 14 and i have these bad visual migranes. Mine are rare but when i get them its like part of what im seeing is gone like a dark spot, but not acctaully a dark spot kinda like a can see it but i cant..? Its impossible to watch tv i find my self shifting my head around and around to acctually see the screen! I eventually turn it off and try to sleep cause the throbbing in my head is so bad!

    Comment by Aaron — September 30, 2009 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  547. hi does anybody see like round rainbows around lights, like when sometimes you see a big round circle around the sun same colors as rainbow, thats what i was just seeing, it happen quite a few times in the past year, two and a half weeks ago i took a small stroke , while having this visual vision,

    Comment by john joachim landry — September 30, 2009 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  548. I’m really glad to have found this website. The representation is a very good way of describing to people what sensations you experience. I was so worried when I had my first experience and didn’t tell anybody-but recently I had another mild one in monochrome and saw my optician who told me about visual migraines. I’m surprised they are not more talked about.By the way I’m 70 and only had my first one about a year ago.

    Comment by Alan Howell — October 6, 2009 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  549. Thanx for the visual. My visual migraines are not as colorful as yours. Mostly a flashing strobe effect which starts small in the corner of my eye then expands around the eye(s.) Fortunately, my HAs are all but gone. Can’t remember the last time I had the debilitating pain.

    Comment by Gerry — October 9, 2009 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  550. Thank you so much for this website. It is so comforting reading the stories of others that experience visual migraine. I can never explain it right-I think people think I’m crazy or making it up. I’ve had mine since I was a teenager and I am 41 now. Just had 5 over the past 6 days! It’s insane. One person wrote that they get a “migraine hangover”. That’s a great way to describe the after effects. My visual effects are similar to the animation just that I don’t have the vibrant colors. It’s sickening to even watch that but such a great resource to share with othhers. I also see that people have the numbness as well. Me too. Just be cautious, I had one so bad once that it was actually dx as a complicate migraine, landing me a 3 day hospital stay. It really resembled a stroke and was quite scary. Does anyone know if these VM’s are dangerous?

    Comment by Kim — October 13, 2009 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  551. My last visual was one friday evening. I assume because I move to a different location with a weather change, I tend to go through at least one strong visual migraine. I felt the inevitable increase of my pulse and fear of being engulfed by the large ring of twisting rainbow colors, while feeling weak, and twitchy on my left side. I also had a strange feeling of another presence right next to me but there was nobody in the room and I waited until the “ring” started to “loose strength.” My fear dropped down a little and then POOF! The ring was gone but my left eye was partially blind for a few minutes. I had this kind of incident before and it is not news to me. Later I inadvertently tested to see if any additional stress from working on a tiny ipod would “invite” it back. The test resulted successful, yet another unwelcome ride with flickering lights. But I was less afraid and just knew it was going to pass and leave me alone. The last one felt more of a nuisance and I may be adapting to this phenomenon quicker than before. I am working a lot harder than before with this internship going on, plus classes and programming. I will have to try and see if caffeine or gatorade may reduce the turbulence into a minor bump…during the ride. Has anyone else ever saw that device people put on the back of their heads to quench the migraine off (unless it is only for the pain)…

    Comment by Simon Guglielmelli — October 13, 2009 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  552. Wow, I’ve suffered from this for 10 years now. The blurry vision for about 20mins and then a headache (not terribly severe) on one side of my head.
    In the past when I’ve decribed this to people, they look blankly at me and have no idea what I’m talking about. But this morning in the cafe at work I was experiencing this problem and a guy at my table told me about visual migraines. He has very similar symptoms. What a relief to know whats going on. I’ve talked to my optician and my doctor and have even had a brian scan but nothing could shed light on what was happening.
    Thankyou for the simulation. I can now explain this to family and friends.

    Comment by Fiona — October 21, 2009 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  553. I have a similar (can’t say the same as I’m not any of you) thing that happens to me. Mine didn’t seem to start in the middle of my eye though, it made a semi-circle shape (actually about 90 degree) in the top-left of my view. I felt like it was only on the left-hand side too.

    Other than that I get severe headaches (better for me to say that than migraines as apparently migraines are really really painful) once or twice a month which require me to sleep for a few hours.

    Comment by Harley — October 24, 2009 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  554. I have suffered with visual migraine for many years I am glad to hear I am not
    the only one to suffer these attacks they are horrible I do not get headaches when these occur I can only describe these visual experiences as
    like what you would see if you were looking into a kailadascope but no colours only black and white

    Comment by Sandra — October 30, 2009 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

  555. WOW! Thanks. This is exactly what I experienced a couple of days ago. It was the first time I had seen this phenomonon. I am a migraine sufferer and most of the time my migraines are behind my left eye. The colored flashes were in the peripheral vision of my left eye and lasted 20 to 30 minutes. It was great to actually see them on the screen and know that I was not imagining them. Also nice that I can show my husband what I had experienced.

    Comment by Debby Bussler — November 3, 2009 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  556. Thank you so much for this visual. mine are the same but more triangular shapes. the only way i can describe it is by using the word calaedascope! I only seem to get the visual effects and pain only on occassion. They seem to come in clusters too. Last year I had them almost every day for a couple of weeks, then they stopped. until last week. I had my seventh yesterday. I dont take any medication as I usually find the effects of that worse as the visual only lasts about 1/2 hour. but afterwards i find that i feel quite strange. like confused and a bit numb??
    Thanks again for that, makes me feel so much better that i’m not the only one.

    Comment by louise handsley — November 3, 2009 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  557. Hi
    I had what I hope was a visual migrane and not a mini-stroke. I had a bypass operation fourteen years ago, so when when I went up to the hospital recently for the flashing shimmering flshes out of the corner of my right eye the Doctor rightly associated the event with my previous illness.
    I was advised by my local Doctor to make an appointment with an Optician (Specsavers) and I went there today and they told me about Visual Migrane and I started searching the Net to see what others have experienced and can identify with many of the symptoms others have suffered.
    I was at home and experienced what appeared to look like water shimmering out of the extreme corner of my right eye just a few days ago and panicked obviously, as it seemed to follow me wherever I went. The experience lasted about twenty minutes and my Wife decided to take me to hospital and when I got into the car to go the hospital it was dark and although the shimmering left me, I was conscious afterwards of a dull pain across the top front of my head.
    I will need to go to the Stroke Clinic for a thorough examination but feel confident that what happened to me was most likely to be a Visual Migrane. My Father suffered from sever migranes and so does my sixteen year old Daughter.
    Thank you everyone for all your comments that has been a great help to me.

    Dan Carlton

    Comment by Dan Carlton — November 4, 2009 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  558. Many thanks for this illustration of what I have tried to explain to my wife – I believe it is also known as an ocular (oe silent) migraine. I am 47 and an IT project manager, and I have had these auras now for about 2 years. They tend to be linked to more stressful periods of my working day – and I am averaging about 1-2 per month, and they last about 15 mins, with no headache. They are a concern as they are not predictable and they could occur in a meeting which is embarrasing when you are trying to compensate for the lack of vision. I am going to see my doctor to see what I can do to control the occurence. Thanks to all of you for making me feel as if I am not the only person – and demonstrating the real power of Internet group therapy.

    Comment by Peter W — November 4, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  559. THis is the best graphic of a migraine aura I’ve seen! NOw my husband was able to see what I’ve been trying to explain. I’m 45 and I have had these for about 30 years — diagnosed way back when by my family doctor. Yesterday, for the first time, I had two of them within 6 hours which has totally freaked me out. I found this site looking for others who’ve had multiple visual migraines in one day. It made me feel better to know that it has happened to someone else. I used to just wait for them to end and forget about them but now I’m nervous because of the recent news that migraine with aura can increase stroke risk.

    I definitely notice a correlation with bright lights and visual migraine. I’ve had them brought on by sunlight on a chrome bumper, by a camera flash, by looking at a bright exposed lightbulb and by an overly bright white webpage on a computer screen. Also, there definitely seems to be a hormone connection as these almost always happen in the week before my period. I’ve recently read about glucosamine as a preventative. I took glucosamine for about a year for joint pain and realize now that I only had 2 visual migraines during that time so maybe there is something to it.

    Thanks for this great resource!

    Comment by tamina — November 8, 2009 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  560. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can now show my husband what I have been trying to describe to him. I had back to back episodes the last two days, and have had them once every six months or so for about three years. They have scared me to death, I would check my blood sugar (normal) and blood pressure (also normal). I felt it had to be “in the brain” because when I would close one or the other or both eyes the pattern would still be there. My doctor had told me not to worry, it was common, but I worried anyway that I wasn’t describing it correctly. Now I know I was. This now makes sense, and I am relieved beyond words!

    Comment by Linda Williams — November 9, 2009 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  561. I thought I was having a stroke. A few minutes of bright red lights everywhere I looked. I tried to blink it away, but the light pattern stayed the same. Then, just as fast as it began, it stopped and my vision was normal.

    A few minutes later, in an instant and without any warning, both of my arms, shoulder to fingertip, went completely numb. They felt like dead weight, I could not move, lift, or control them. This too passed after a few paniced minutes.

    My doctor told me it was migraine with phenomena and no pain. I was shocked. Never had this before, never even heard of it. Mayo Clinic online described it to a tee: migraine with aura. This website has helped me feel better because I know I’m not alone. 52, stressed, sleep deprived, caffiene lover.

    Comment by laura — November 23, 2009 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  562. ha 🙂 i’m watching your animation through my visual migraine right now. my sideways v-shaped pacman is eating your c-shaped pacman.

    Comment by Portia Altimus — November 25, 2009 @ 7:52 am | Reply

  563. Some of the descriptions here don’t sound like classic migraine with aura, these may be slightly different from person to person but some of the ones people here are describing may be something very different, like a mild stroke or other neurological disorder, PLEASE do what I did and go see a neurologist. Mine turned out to be classic migraine with aura and not a brain tumor like I first thought.

    Comment by Tony — November 28, 2009 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  564. Me again, I almost forgot. I suffer from classic migraine with aura which last 8hours or so and leave me feeling wrecked for a day or two after they subside.
    I also been experiencing “ice pick headaches” which last 5 to 30 seconds (thank god). They will hit and run without warning, meaning the stabbing pain goes away instantly after you first feel it but may feel individual stabs of pain which may last a few seconds. They go away and may return a few times in the day or night. Just something more I live with..

    Comment by Tony — November 28, 2009 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  565. I’ve had 5 of these now over 2 years. Strange thing is that I tend to have one in November and one in June! But…just had one at work and 1 earlier this week. Only difference this time is I get a bit of a headache after and don’t feel right for a few hours after. A little bit spaced. Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences.

    Comment by justin — November 30, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  566. I get these flashes a lot i have them now , some of the worst ones i have had cold and clamy hands and my fingertips started tingling then went num as well as my lips, i forget simple things like names of friends while having the more tramatic flashes, mine also move from one eye to the next , wow these things are really nausiating, i dont recognize the rainbow but this is how they start, anyway thanks for giving us a place to share, and show my family what i am experiencing. God bless all of you and i sincerely pray with empathy that you and i may be free at leaste a week of these episodes.

    Comment by calvin — December 1, 2009 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  567. I’ve been experiencing these for over 50 years. No pain. I’m fortunate since the “glittering worm” is in my upper left field of view and there’s usually a tan opaque area in the lower right field of view. Duration of the aura is about 20 minutes.

    However, I have a sense of depression during the aura and for a brief time afterwards. Feeling is similar to previously reported — like hypoxia or low blood sugar — but neither is the case.

    First 40 years one or two attacks a year. More recently once a month and now frequently triggered by orgasm.

    Comment by Larry — December 3, 2009 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

  568. when i got this did anyone get a migrane and you feel dissy and nauses?

    Comment by khggyi — December 5, 2009 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  569. OMG, thank you soooo much for this. I was starting to freak out thinking I was about to go blind, or that I had cancer or something. I was thiking to myself, “How am I even going to describe this to a doctor?” Now I can just direct them to your page! I feel so much better seeing this (although I’m still not thrilled about the visual disturbances, as I am a photographer by trade. This whole situation makes taking and editing photos challenging to say the least.

    Comment by Natalie — December 8, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  570. I’m glad I found this site.
    I had an experience yesterday (my first and hopefully my last) of this.
    My right eye went completely dark apart from what I now know to be a V shape.
    What a fright I got as I thought I was going blind.
    It seems to be ok now but Im going to the doctors anyway to have it checked out.

    Comment by PB — December 15, 2009 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  571. hi everybody im an 18 year old boy and i was diagnosed with labyrinthitis about 2 years ago as i was gettin dizzyness fatigue and vertigo but i have been gettin visual migraines as well and they finally said it was migraines i was suffering from i get a white flash in one eye and the spreads over to my other usually lasts about 30 mins its scares me and im really assured that other people actually get this as i felt in the dark about it. i always experience dizzyness and vertigo and nausea also is there anybody else that gets this.

    Comment by daryl smith — December 16, 2009 @ 6:53 am | Reply

  572. I was so pleased to find this forum and find I’m not alone.
    In 1996 I was diagnosed with Glaucoma and after a while I was given Diamox tablets to relieve the intra-ocular pressure. The very next day after taking the first tablet I experienced my first ocular migraine which was accompanied by severe headache. I have had various operations to relieve the Glaucoma but on occaisions I have had to resort to the Diamox tablets and these always give me severe headaches but not always migraines. I have not had Diamox now for about 6 years but I still get the ocular migraines which nowadays are not often accompanied by headaches.
    I can go weeks, even months without one and then have one or more for two or three days. Had three today. I’m getting used to them now, often if I can make myself relax, close my eyes and “switch off” for a few minutes the aura is not so bright and it seems to fade away quicker.

    Comment by Eric — December 16, 2009 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  573. I’m so glad I found this site I came acoss it a while back after experiencing my first coloured VM I had suffered Migranes since I was about 6 years old I’m now 26 so a good 20 odd years. They had always been ones with that had a visual black and grey specks like those of a static tv with no picture out the corner of my eye followed by a total wipeout for 3 days in bed with the worst headaches my drs did the usual tests fearing a tumour or something and just said I was in grade 4 migrane cat due to numbness and bad headaches I swear it took almost a week to recover from them. Then for about 7-8 years I’d just get maybe one a year or just a tension headache which I thought was better than one every week like my teenage years. Then this year after a spell In hospital I had my first coloured one I was petrified thinking I was loosing my eyesight it was so bright like prism coloured zigzags coming from the centre of my eye across the peripheral vision I will admit I went spacey as heck and had to sit down it had started with what I call little black orb dots being missing as i couldnt quite focus on my computer screen, then came the light show I will say It was as loopy and scared as I was the most prettiest light show i’ve ever had during a migrane, now knowing what my usual migranes had been like the worst headaches known to man I waited for the hammer on head feeling it never happened I just got a slight dullheadache, I’d rather have those types because they are pretty hehe. I will say I have had more small VM migranes this year which I can only conclude has been induced by the anti biotic mix and steroid doses I recieved in hospital prior to this I had pretty much been migrane free for 8 odd years. I spoke to my drs and they said my Blood pressure and weight was perfect if annything It’s the only time I ever had a normal reading so has anyone else found a dose of extreamily strong anti bios and steroids triggered them off again like in my case (i had phneumonia hence the strong meds)

    Sorry for the long post I just thought id share my experiences

    Emmy

    Comment by Emm — December 18, 2009 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  574. Had one of these last night, only mine are silver sparkley, no funky colours. They usually start in my left eye and do different things. Sometimes they move across my vision slowly, one side to the other. Sometimes they obliterate the vision in my eye completely. Definately scary when driving! For me, they’re brought on by prolonged stress (tis the season), and often end with a wicked headache and the feeling that I’ve been run over by a truck. Luckily, I only get them once a year or so. Good to see I’m not the only one, though I suppose good isn’t the right word.

    Comment by Jenn — December 23, 2009 @ 9:31 am | Reply

  575. Hi, folks. This is exactly what I have had for a few years. And I only had them because I used to drink fuzzy drinks (gas related ones (carbon dioxide)). Drinks such as coca-cola, sprite, pepsi, 7-up and many more were the main agents that caused this. I used to have an enormous damn headache after the visual headache. When the visual migraine passed I knew I had to go asleep, cause I knew I was going to experience something very painful in a few moments (headache). I went to the doctor, told him the details, and he said those were the causes. He gave me some tablets that I think were called “Zinasen” or something like that. He told me to take them and never I had them. It’s been 7 years now without having one single visual god damn migraine. Please don’t take those tablets without a doctor’s advice. I am not responsible for whatever secondary effects that may cause you. I am just informing about what my doctor gave me (I think that is the correct name for the tablets).

    I wish the best to all and hope you never get to experience anymore visual migraines/headaches.

    Best Regards from Portugal!

    Comment by Filipe — December 25, 2009 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  576. I used to get migraines very often at school when i was around 14-15. The visualisation is a good indication of what i used to get but i never had the colour vividness or the edge clarity shown in the interpretation ( VIDEO SHOWN AT THE TOP OF THIS POST!) of said migraine symptoms! it was hard to make out the edge of the vision anomally but everything within this edge was a complete blind-spot! and it did spread at different rates! when it spread slowly the headache and nausea was worst! sometimes with hand and face tingling and numbness! sometimes, the nausea would be unbearable and i would have to spend ages leant over the toilet basin, heaving! luckily, i don’t get many migraines these days. probably because i eat a more healthy diet plus i take vitamin and iron supplements which i think i lacked at school! lack of sleep was also a big factor so, if you are having bad migraines, try and change your diet and sleep! it could help! XX

    Comment by DANNY NEWEY — December 25, 2009 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  577. can someone explain why migraine sufferers experience pain in their head! i now know that migraines are a brain anomally and not an eye problem. i’ve also learned that disease or problems and symptoms of the brain are not actually felt within the brain but instead are felt by nerves surrounding the brain! is this true and if it is, why does migraine affect those surrounding nerves? all responses to my ignorance will be appreciated. THANKSX

    Comment by DANNY NEWEY — December 25, 2009 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

  578. i also urge those with more alarming symptoms to seek medical advice because the symptoms i have experienced were not dramatic or sudden! please don’t leave it till tomorrow because every second may count if you have a more serious condition!! all the best and good luck! XXX

    Comment by DANNY NEWEY — December 25, 2009 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  579. bright lights, flashing lights and other lights in your vision are most likely to be an indication of a serious condition! PLEASE get yourself checked out by a doctor as soon as possible!

    Comment by DANNY NEWEY — December 25, 2009 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  580. Hi,ex. for my english,i from russia.Helping very usefull with this problem is Magnesia,injecting in the muscle

    Comment by Poul — December 27, 2009 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  581. I too suffer from visual auras (as an adolescent and in my 20’s and 30’s they would be associated with a severe migraine). For the most part I know my trigger is light – particularly strong black and white images and horizontal blinds (the initial trigger to my headaches – my middle school was clad with venetian blinds). I also strongly believe there is an association between being exposed to a light trigger and barometric pressure changes as most of my auras occur with weather extremes.

    Comment by lisa — December 29, 2009 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

  582. hello … I also have very visual migraines … they sometimes cause me pain but very rarely…I have been seeing aura’s much like yours but aren’t rainbow like more blue and green and to me its like watching staticky water swirl down a black drain … or they consist of just plain static in a general all over pattern ….. Like you mine start with a very subtle flash of light then the lights ( I call them) or static if you will overcome my vision entirely I can see through it only when I’ve had extreme migrains do I black out…. or go blind. By black out I mean my sight is restricted.
    I take Topamax as well but do not get any visual relief from the medicine. Honestly its like trying to ignore the huge pink elephant in the room that nobody can see but you. I definately feel for you and hope that you and I maybe can
    be treated if not your not alone … I know that I’m not I have you ppl ….

    Comment by Kristi — December 30, 2009 @ 2:31 am | Reply

  583. You nailed what i have been trying to describe to doctors and family! Mine are black and white on the edges like an amoeba that get larger. I usually cannot see what is inside the bubble, even though i know what it is inside the bubble. But at least I have a name for it, and a comfort level that this is what it is. Thank you. I just got done with open heart surgery to repair an aneurysm and replace my aorta artery, and replace a heart valve, and started getting these once every day for 6 days for 15-25 minutes with NO headache afterwards. I agree now with a past doctor that called these occular migrains, but I do not get the headache.

    Comment by Gunny — December 30, 2009 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  584. When I stopped drinking hot chocolate the visual migranes stopped.

    Comment by Bonnie — January 1, 2010 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

  585. I saw a youtube vid that explains about certain types of migraines. We are not only referring to “special effects,” but more on corporal symptoms. When I had a strong attack I went through other changes that may fit into what they call a “Hemiplegic Migraine.” In addition to the raging spiral of rainbow colors I begin to loose coordination on one half of my body from finger to face. I would feel numb, loosing strength quickly and struggling to maintain balance while standing. I would go through some hearing loss and maybe listen to a quiet buzz. At the same time I struggle to control the panic while my heart races, plus the duration gives a lot of suspense. The first 30-45 seconds are the most difficult to overcome as I almost feel like I am going to pass out. But soon afterwards I quickly adapt to the “process” and slowly regain myself. The last step is waiting for the visual aura to go away. The longest torture I experienced was around 5-10 minutes long, depending on the level of stress. I would advise anyone to stop doing anything at all and lie down. In my case any additional stress would invite it back and even worse than before. However, since I had these more than once I know what to expect. I would not try to fight the attack but rather try and take it easy. I heard about other symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Anyone here who go through anything similar, you are not alone in this.

    Comment by Simon Guglielmelli — February 3, 2010 @ 12:41 am | Reply


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