Flashing lights and WMD: Two mornings ago... - Macular Society

Macular Society

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Flashing lights and WMD

ANGIEIRISH profile image
11 Replies

Two mornings ago while trying to read the newspaper (I'm addicted to my morning newspaper) I had frightening flashes in one of my eyes (I have WMD in both of them). The best way to describe them was like the star-burst flashes you see in kids' comics with the POW! CRASH! AARGH! signs inside them. I toyed with the idea of calling a taxi and going to A & E but aware of the problems there I tried ringing the hospital first for advice, but couldn't get through. As the flashing lights got worse I decided to lie die in a darkened room for a bit. I did this for about half an hour and they then disappeared. The experience was very frightening however, and when I remembered that I had the phone number of my consultant's secretary I texted her for advice. She got back to me within half an hour, much to my appreciation, and had me describe my symptoms in details. She thinks it was a migraine attack - and I had had a mini-headache that morning when I awoke and I'm not usually a 'headachy' person - and said she had had a word with the consultant and if I had a re-occurance or had any other problems with my eyes to contact her immediately.

Sometimes that's all one needs, just someone to metaphorically hold one's hand and say "It's OK, nothing serious is happening".

11 Replies
springcross profile image

Hi Angieirish. It sounds like an ocular migraine - I get them occasionally and in fact, I had two the week before last which is unusual for me. They always start as flashing zigzag lines - a bit like disco lights - in a half circle shape and after five or ten minutes, it intensifies (although not drastically so) and gets bigger before eventually disappearing, after about 30 minutes or so, as quickly as it came and I usually get a low grade headache afterwards. It was good that you could contact the consultant's secretary and that she was able to put your mind at ease.

ANGIEIRISH profile image
ANGIEIRISH in reply to springcross

It's such a relief to hear of someone else who had this experience. It's not something I've ever read about and I read just about everything I can to do with our complaint. Thank you for taking the time to tell us all about this. I'm sure I'm not the only one to be grateful for the information.

springcross profile image
springcross in reply to ANGIEIRISH

You're very welcome. I was very frightened the first time I experienced it several years ago until I was told what it was. A friend I often chat to on another forum gets them quite bad and hers last a lot longer than mine. I consider myself lucky compared to her but at least we know it's nothing serious. I'm sure you'll hear from others on here who have similar experiences.

cormorin profile image

Hi I get this also. One Doctor put me on Amitrypteline & this does help though still get them + the fuzzy headache & sick feeling. Now only lasts for upto an hour every few weeks or if I get stressed. It is good to know that others get this too as do not feel so alone knowing others get this also. Best of luck with yours.

oldoakowl profile image

I get little tiny slow-moving pinpricks of reddish light in an irregular pattern, usually near the center of my vision. They look like illustrations of constellations of stars. No headache, and they don't last long. What concerns me more are clusters of short, jagged bright white lights around the circumference of my vision. It's like what you see when you press your eyeball for some reason. Again, they go away quickly.

ANGIEIRISH profile image

There seems no end to the oddities that occur with AMD and WMD. It's good that we have this forum and the Macular Society from which to seek advice and help.

Mollydingomurphy profile image

Hi Angierirish, I have gotten these colorful flashes for years. They last about 20 minutes where I can't read all the numbers on the clock or on my phone. After they go away I usually have a slight headache and some nausea. Somedays I get it more than once.

ANGIEIRISH profile image
ANGIEIRISH in reply to Mollydingomurphy

thanks for your input into this conversation. I feel more sure of myself now that i know how frequently it occurs

CocoChannel profile image
CocoChannel in reply to ANGIEIRISH

I’ve had this twice now. Your description was perfect. I saw the cartoon character Lisa Simpson’s spiky hair 🤣

I had a detached retina 20 years ago which was successfully operated on, but the first time I had a retinal/ocular migraine (in 2021), I really thought it was a detachment. This was in one of the big Covid lockdowns on a Saturday, but my optician did a really thorough check with dilations, OCT tests, etc., a couple of hours later and confirmed all was well.

A thorough optician check is (in my opinion) as good as a hospital check up. Maybe make an appointment sometime and mention the recent migraine. The chances are all is well, but an optician will confirm this :)

ANGIEIRISH profile image
ANGIEIRISH in reply to CocoChannel

Thanks for your reply. I have an appt with my optician for new glasses next week and it should be looked at then. As you suggest, I'll tell him what's been happening.

CocoChannel profile image
CocoChannel in reply to ANGIEIRISH

All should be fine.

I wrote a post somewhere on here about opticians in the UK. The smaller non-franchise ones can be better, and the routine checks they do are as thorough and well-equipped as any hospital. As I’m quite short sighted and had a retina op (years ago), I get these checks, but I’m not sure if they’re offered to people without any previous history. It’d be worth asking.

I had my second ever retinal migraine a couple of months ago, but that time I knew what it wad so wasn’t concerned. Saying that, I’m sure if they happen often, it’s best to get advice :)

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