Head underground to the next town

Yesterday was, by all accounts, a crappy day.

It was raining and the temperatures were in the upper 40s, lower 50s. I biked to work and everything was fine: I had a pleasant ride. However, around 12:30, I got a migraine. I experienced a shimmering spot in my left eye that grew steadily over 15 minutes, eventually taking over my vision in that eye and leaving me temporarily blind. It was all over within about an hour, maybe 1.5 hours.

This is nothing new: my migraines always come with visual auras that leave me blind in one eye (and always the left one). The new part came when nothing happened after the aura subsided. That is, no headache. Usually, my migraines come with some head pain but always with a feeling of wanting the floor to swallow me because I just feel like dying or disappearing. Migraines make me feel subhuman because I am rendered useless as I become sensitive to everything: light, sound, motion. Yesterday, that did not happen. The visual aura just went away on its own and I was able to continue working.

Then, when I got home, I got another migraine. Same story: no pain, no sensitivity, just the aura taking over my left eye. A few hours later, yet another of these migraines came on!

All in all, three retinal or ocular migraines in one day. That’s a personal new record.

After doing some research*, I decided I need to see a doctor. First an ophthalmologist to rule out a possible eye disease and then, pending a clean bill of health from the eye doc, a neurologist to see what’s happening in my brain that’s causing this. I have a history of strokes in my family so I want to be safe about these retinal migraines, which can be symptoms or harbingers of worse things to come. Unfortunately, all of this is happening on the eve of Thanksgiving so most doctors are unavailable. I’ll have to make my appointments for next week or later.

Doyle E., Vote, B. J., & Casswell, A. G.. (2004). Retinal migraine: Caught in the act. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 88(2), 301-302. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2003.021808

Hill, D. L., Daroff, R. B., Ducros, A., Newman, N. J., & Biousse, V. (2007). Most cases labeled as “retinal migraine” are not migraine. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, 27(1), 3-8. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0b013e3180335222

Solomon, S., Grosberg, B. M., Friedman, D. I., & Lipton, R. B. (2007). Retinal migraine. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, 27(3), 243-244. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0b013e31814a6243

Swanson, J. W. (2011). Ocular migraine: When to seek help. In Mayo Clinic Expert Answers. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ocular-migraine/AN01681.

Winterkorn, J. M. S. (2007). “Retinal migraine” is an oxymoron. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, 27(1), 1-2. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0b013e3180334dd1





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