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Suddenly Changing Visual Aura

  • By Melissa

    I’ve suffered with migraines for let’s see now… I’m coming up on my 20th anniversary on March 8th. I only know that because I had my first one within a couple of hours of giving birth to my 2nd child. I’ve consistently had the same visual aura. I describe it as “clear swimming worms or squiggles all over my eyes” if that makes sense and they are always there (as are the migraines, unfortunately). However, in the last couple of weeks, in addition to the squiggles, I have noticed periodical “fire bombs” dropping in the outside corners of my eyes, 1 fireball at a time, 1 eye at a time. If I had to guess, maybe 4-8 times a day. Anyone ever had this, know anything about this or have any suggestions? Should I be concerned? I have my next neuro appt on 3/14/14.

    Thanks everyone and here’s hoping that everyone is miraculously cured of this HORRIBLE disease!!!!!!!!

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    It is definitely possible for your auras to change over time. When I was a kid, they were in the shape of a dragon, but as an adult I would describe them as a crescent moon shape.

    I do think it’s a good idea to discuss this with your neuro, especially since you are now getting auras so frequently throughout the day. Were you getting them that frequently before? Your doctor may want to run some tests to rule out any other possible changes, but most likely it’s just an unfortunate progression of your Migraine symptoms.
    -Katie

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  • By Woody

    I have had aura-only, off and on, for my entire adult life (The very first occurrence was in my senior year of high school. Scared me half to death, but it didn’t recur for several years…).

    My aura has always been of the form of the slowly expanding shimmering ring of fire. Last fall, that changed. I was experiencing severe abdominal pain, and given an emergency appendectomy. I am told I had an agitated emergence from the general anesthesia. Since then, however, I have regularly had bouts of blurry vision across my field, as well as photophobia. It has occurred to me that the anesthesia may have “transformed” the nature of my migraine aura, as I haven’t experienced my classic symptoms at all since my surgery.

    Is this possible? Is it likely? Has anyone else had a similar experience? Is this something I should bring up with a specialist?

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    • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

      ObviPseudo,
      I am not sure if the anesthesia is directly related to the change in your aura and vision. I have read that women can have change in their Migraines and auras after receiving epidurals for childbirth. But that is directly linked to the fact that an epidural is administered in the spinal cord and if a leak in the spinal fluid occurs it will cause headaches. And I doubt that with your appendectomy the anesthesia was administered in the spinal cord.

      However, this doesn’t mean that your experience didn’t change your Migraines and aura symptoms. This was just the only example I had come across related to anesthesia and a change in auras. You should absolutely talk to your specialist about this. It’s common for auras to change over time, but anytime your symptoms change it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor. Let us know how it goes!
      -Katie

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  • By Woody

    Thanks, Katie!

    You’re right, This was NOT Spinal Tap. 🙂 Still, I didn’t make the migraine association right away. This was my first time under a general, and I had never had a vision blur symptom before (except when taking off my glasses… 😉 ). I originally thought it might be some independent side effect of the anesthesia. Recently, my wife pointed out to me that I’ve been squinting a lot lately, and was suggesting that I get a new eye exam. But I knew my prescription hadn’t changed because normally I could see just fine. It was only after that when I realized that the blurriness was intermittent, I thought about my migraines.

    On the plus side, the frequency and duration of the episodes does seem to be decreasing. Still more often and longer than my classic auras, but definitely more tolerable than at first. I’m on the road right now, so I won’t be able to talk to any doctor until the end of May, but at least now I’ve got something specific that I can discuss.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    ObviPseudo

    Blurry vision is a very non-specific symptom and can be the result of many, many potential causes. In my case, I now have blurry vision that is intermittent, but mine is related to my dry eye. I had punctal plugs put into my tear ducts and am doing better. Unfortunately, one plug fell out and I need to have it replaced, so I have one eye that gets blurry frequently, and the other is more rare.

    The point is that Migraineurs often have one or even several comorbidities, and it can be really difficult to distinguish if it’s a comorbid issue, or a change in your Migraine pattern. All changes are reason to see your physician and initiate a frank conversation. You know you better than anyone else, so stick to your guns and get this figured out, in case it is something that is as easily treated as my problem was. 🙂

    ~Ellen

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