National Migraine Centre
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Visual Disturbances 24/7

Hi, I started getting visual disturbances last year, they appear as black cloud outlines and are in my central vision when they occur, there are usually several each inside one another and they expand and decrease rapidly. The first time I experienced these, I was terrified of such things as glaucoma and macular degeneration etc... which have all been ruled out and my diagnosis is ocular/visual migraines. I feel panicky and nervous when the symptoms are more visual which is usually in bright light and so I avoid going out much. I feel light headed most of the time and also get the occasional migraine and the eye problems first started with sore red bloodshot and burning eyes followed by light flashes in the corner of my eyes. I also have a low thyroid recently diagnosed. Has anyone else experienced this and my doctor recommended sunglasses when out side to which I was disappointed more couldn't be done to help with the visual disturbances. Does this sound typical of migraine or occular symptoms? My doctor and optician don't see any need to refer me to eye or neuro specialists?

Any help advice reassurance would be most welcome.


3 Replies

Hello. I see flashes of (mostly blue) light almost every day. This has been going on for several years and I initially put it down to side effects from chronic pain medication, but even off the medication I still see them. I've seen an opthalmologist at the eye hospital who simply said it was migraine and as that wasn't his department he couldn't help. I was also referred there with a dry, bloodshot eye which a pain consultant said was related to facial pain and migraine, and an eye surgeon was caused by a tiny harmless growth on my eyelid and he disagreed quite strongly and said it couldn't possibly be migraine-related. So I had the growth removed and my eye remains bloodshot, and gets very bad just before and during a migraine, becoming very watery (and my left nostril blocks up too) - so I have concluded that it's migraine to blame again!

So visual disturbances are often related to migraine, and if you've had eye tests and investigations and they are saying everything is healthy inside your eye, then it's probably migraine.It's also possible to have symptoms like these without the headache, and light-headedness can also be a part of it.

It is frustrating when you're told to try sunglasses and get on with it. But lots of people do find sunglasses helpful during an attack, or dimmer lighting indoors.

I hope you get your thyroid sorted out and start to feel better. It's a shame that you don't feel up to going outside much because you feel anxious about it - have you talked to your doctor about this - they may be able to give you some information about dealing with your anxiety, which in itself can make visual problems and light-headedness worse.

Good luck.



So sorry to hear you are having such a bad time. I do sympathise with you regarding feeling frightened when you get the visual disturbances. Although I have had them for many years and have been told that it is migraine, I still get anxious when I can't see.

I just keep telling myself that it will pass, that's the only way I cope. I too hate bright sunlight but have invested in a good pair of sunglasses. They give me confidence.

I'm sorry I can't be more help, but it helped me to know that people on this site do care!

Good luck


Thanks to all for replying! I do wonder if I should ask to see a neurologist or migraine specialist to put me at ease?


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