OCULAR MIGRAINES: On top of asthma and... - Lung Conditions C...

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Cornishman1966 profile image
30 Replies

On top of asthma and 'the b word', I suffer from the occasional ocular migraine. What some call 'kaleidoscope vision'. I don't know what causes them. Possibly interrupted oxygen supply to my optic nerves maybe. They used to last about 20 minutes and I used to get them about every 3 or 4 days. But since being diagnosed with bronchiectasis I've noticed them becoming shorter, but more and more frequent. Has anyone else experienced this? And has a doctor given any useful advice about it? They're not painful. Just really annoying as it makes it impossible to read or see anything clearly. Everything seems to jump up and down or goes all neon and zigzaggy.

30 Replies
Littlepom profile image

I have bronchiectasis and have had occasional occular migranes since my 20s. I am now 72. No medic or optical specialist has been able to explain why I get them to me. I can go a couple of years without one and then I will get several in a week or even in a day. The only thing which seems to connect with when I have mine is stress. Usually after I have had a stressful episode and it has eased off. My oxygen levels or blood pressure don't change when I am having a migraine.

mefinder47 profile image
mefinder47 in reply to Littlepom

My first ocular headache was when I was a new RN in 1989, and felt very stressed out. Didn't have another for years, For me they are usually connected to a severe stressor. I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema years later, and to me there doesn't seem to be a connection. I rarely get them now, as I've shifted my circumstances to be pretty non stressful. I kinda enjoy the visuals though with the Ocular HAs.😀

Littlepom profile image
Littlepom in reply to mefinder47

Very interesting

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to Littlepom

It's strange. I used to think it was down to working at a computer all day. But then I'd get one out walking the dog or shopping. One thing that definitely seems to trigger one at this time of year is the low sunlight flickering through trees or through a fence. I suppose it's like a strobe effect. If I don't close my eyes or look away, I'll be having a migraine a couple of minutes later.

CDPO16 profile image

I haven't got bronchiectasis but have had migraine since I was 11. I have never found a trigger. Like Littlepom, I can get several in a month or week and then non for months. I take over the counter Migraleve and these stop the headache developing for me.

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to CDPO16

Mine never involve a headache at all. They're purely to do with my vision. If you can remember those magic eye pictures that were all the rage in the 90s, that's how I end up seeing things. But if you can then imagine all that jumping around and flashing on and off for about 20 minutes.

CDPO16 profile image
CDPO16 in reply to Cornishman1966

That's the aura I get but if I don't take the migraleve the headache develops. My husband just gets the aura but no headache like you.

tomhatha profile image

I have it for years and I found what caused it for me was strip lighting in large shops , a flash of light, etc and it starts with i small movement in the midle of my vision then gets bigger with jaged lines until it disapears. I HAVE NEVER WORRIED ABOUT IT AND AS i get older it has slowed down and almost gone.

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to tomhatha

That's interesting. I've noticed that I always seem to get a migraine at the local Co-op. Not a full blown psychedelic display, but a few minutes of flashing and flickering. My wife suggested it might be down to the lighting in there. So you may be on to something.

tomhatha profile image
tomhatha in reply to Cornishman1966

try using a pair of sun glasses while in there

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to tomhatha

I wear wrap-around sunglasses nearly all the time. Which gets me some odd looks on gloomy days.

BrigidsFire profile image

I get these too, they can last up to a couple of hours from the pin dot start to dissipating fully. Like others the only correlation I’ve found is stress (my first was after an incredibly stressful few months), and/or being really ill/run down (which I guess is also a stress factor).

tomhatha profile image
tomhatha in reply to BrigidsFire

yes stress can start it, many things start it I JUST WAIT UNTILL IT HAS FINISHED,

BrigidsFire profile image
BrigidsFire in reply to BrigidsFire

I will add that the stress doesn’t have to be psychological. It can be physical stress too.

Mine started after a series of physical events. I had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery, a gruelling round of IVF, pregnancy, miscarriage and then scarlet fever.

One event followed the next so it was continuous physical stress for around 7 months. I was diagnosed with lupus not long after and then had covid and ended up in hospital twice. I now have ILD because the lupus went undetected for so many years (despite me begging for tests for many years until I gave up, if it wasn’t for my amazing GP when we moved here I still wouldn’t have a diagnosis). In total it was a year of hell, but the doctor thinks it was the physical toll on my body rather than the mental stress that caused the migraines.

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to BrigidsFire

I don't think there's any one cause for these things. They're just annoying and frustrating.

Tryfan profile image

I have suffered with flashing zig zags. Can see them whether my eyes are open or closed. No headaches, but slight out of body weirdness. Pleased to say haven't had an attack for several years. So they can come and go.As to what causes, I concur that stress is the major contributor. Also i would suggest light, both natural and artificial lights. Try and avoid light hitting your eyes at an oblique angle. When electric light especially strip light hits you from the side i find that could be a trigger.

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to Tryfan

Yours sound exactly like mine. I always feel a bit weird for a few minutes afterwards. As I've mentioned to someone else above, the low sun at this time of year can sometimes set them off, when it flickers through the trees or through a fence at me.

Tykelady profile image

My optician calls it visual migraine and I have had it for many years. I have been on oxygen for almost two years now but have not noticed any increase in the attacks. The best way I can describe it is pixilated.

Mavary profile image

Hi Cornishman. 1966.

I get what I call aura migraines. Which is like zig zag crystals in my vision. I used to get terrific migraines with pain so bad that I could be sick and couldn’t stand any light at all. As I’ve got older they’ve changed to aura migraines. I don’t get them often now. I used to get bad heads all the time. I used to be on a migraine site and I can remember a lady who was on another site for migraine sufferers. She told me if you get aura migraines with no pain you should see a Dr because you may be prone to heart attacks or strokes. I went to the Dr and she prescribed asprin. It might be worth a try.

Mavary profile image
Mavary in reply to Mavary

I phoned the Chemist one day and they said to take an asprin if I get an attack coming on.

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to Mavary

When I learned it might be due to reduced oxygen to my optic nerves, I tried taking my Ventolin when I noticed an attack coming on. The inhaler didn't actually STOP it, but the migraine itself didn't seem to last as long. 10 mins rather than 20. So I really don't know if it's a problem with my eyes or with the oxygen supply to them.

knitter profile image

First noticed mine when I was 15 ….60 years ago now .

Mine have changed over the years …..shorter session of zig zag lights which grow bigger than fade …but faster…no real warning . Much more frequent ….7 in one day last week . I had been eating strong cheese which I bought by mistake though .

Stress, being short of breath ….often coincide with an asthma attack, lights , some cheese not all are my triggers , hunger , ….sometimes even thinking about it , weird .

Strangely enough quite a few members of my art class had them too, men and women .

But my mother suffered , my daughters have had a few .

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to knitter

Mine start with flickering that make words difficult to read. After that, everything just goes all psychedelic and zigzaggy. I find it impossible to focus on anything so either try to stare at a blank wall or close my eyes until it's gone away. No matter how bad they got ... I could NEVER give up cheese. 😁

lilypickle1 profile image

I'm sorry I can't give any advice. I just wanted to say thank you for telling me what these actually are! I had no idea! I don't get them very often but have wondered if they were a 'thing' or just a quirk of me!

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to lilypickle1

Definitely not a quirk. They're not dangerous (as far as I know), but they're certainly not a pleasant thing to have either. It's difficult trying to explain to one's boss at work that you need 20 mins away from your desk to go and stare at a wall somewhere, because the firework display going on inside your head is making it impossible to work.

Jaybird19 profile image

ocular migraines apparently . had these regularly but not lately

/ zigzag flashing lights that travel across field of vision like floaters travel across eyeball but arent on eyeball but the optic nerve as both eyes have same thing .

Patk1 profile image

I get them too but I get the pain as well& last 3-4days ea time.i get thm at varying frequencies,sometimes ea week,sometimes less often.gp says as sumatriptan works for me,it's spasm of blood vessels in brain.what causes that? I don't know but they r more frequent whn im acutely ill. I used to get them as part of pms

Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to Patk1

I'm so glad I don't get the pain as well. I can be having one in the middle of a crowded supermarket and I'll be the only one aware of it.

mefinder47 profile image

Mine only effect the outside of each eye bilaterally. Like each eye is split down the middle, and the wavy oily looking magical effect is on the outside half/edge of each eye. I sometimes get them while driving! Haven't had one in a long time. Last about 20 minutes, give or take.

New Years Greetings.
Cornishman1966 profile image
Cornishman1966 in reply to mefinder47

Thankfully I don't drive. But when I worked as a graphic designer, it used to make getting anything done impossible. I know when it's going away again because it all seems to squeeze towards the outer edge of each eye. It's like seeing a torch light in my peripheral vision for a few minutes. Then it's gone.

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