An anatomical eye shows paths of vision and aura.

What Do My Migraine Auras Feel Like?

Learning that not everyone who lived with migraine experienced aura baffled me. Did I just have to "luck" out? I’ve never won any sweepstakes or lotteries in my life, so it felt wild experiencing something that not many others do. Lucky meeeee...

Though I will say, it was the most telling sign that I lived with migraine.

Head and stomach pain came first

I had grown up with head and stomach pain all my life. It was triggered, mainly thanks to light sensitivity and anxiety, growing up. I hated the feeling of being trapped, feeling stuck, and without a get-around. Going to school and feeling pain was, thus, my greatest fear. That fear would become realized time and time again thanks to migraine. My parents had such a difficult time, bless them, trying to figure out what I was struggling through. They knew I was in pain, but the doctors didn’t know from what. My pediatrician would give me a clean bill of health after checking me out physiologically.

Then came aura

I was sitting in Calculus class in my senior year of high school, minding my own business, doing some equations and math stuff, when I realized something just wasn’t right. All of a sudden, with seemingly no warning, my vision was distorted. Auras, for me, blur my central vision, favoring the right side. Details will become unable to be read, and if I’m looking at a person at a close distance, it will engulf the left side of their face, from their hairline to mouth. This whole region is fuzzy like it’s hidden in plain sight.

It feels much like you’ve stared at a light for too long. You, know, that pulsing visual dizziness? That feeling, but it will eventually move. It’ll migrate to the right side of my field of view, to my periphery, then disappear over my visual horizon. I’ve found that a handful of triggers will give me an aura. They go from screaming and over-exertion to just standing up. It’s been hard navigating life when activity from the intense to the mundane will both trigger migraines without prejudice.

A telltale sign of pain to come

For me, auras are like migraine fuses. I’ve experienced migraine sans aura, like no joke, but the attacks with aura are telltale signs that pain is on its way. At this point, I find it IMPERATIVE to either sleep or take rescue medications.

My medication experiences

Naproxen sodium is my go-to and has had mixed success. It can help take the edge off enough to resume being a human being with obligations that I simply cannot shy away from. Sumatriptan, on the other hand, was garbage from a toilet.

Everybody reacts to medication differently, and you should not take my word for it. But rather, talk to your doctor before making any medication decisions for yourself. It’s a thought I can understand now, not in pain. But man, oh MAN, it was so frustrating finding out, during an attack, that it wasn’t a relief for me. I put all my eggs in one basket!

Describing migraine's aura

Describing aura has been a tricky and difficult experience. People just don’t understand how you can just not see things anymore, how it moves. Some people have tried comparing it with eye-floaters or even head rush. It’s wicked none of these things, but hey, at least they’re trying to understand! Lived-through experiences will always be the most reliable source, but I’m never gonna say no to a lil dash of empathy.

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