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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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Are ocular migraine in eyes a symptom of spurts?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3650 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 23 Jul 2016 in Headache and Migraines
Question: I have had ocular migraines on and off for a few years. They usually are in one eye and will come in spurts - sometimes it will be a year before I have another. This time around I had one yesterday in my right eye and then today I had one in my right eye followed by another in my left eye two hours later. I am really worried this is something more serious. Should I be concerned? Each time these past two days has been the same patterns - flashing lights and vision blurry in one eye for 20-30 minutes.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 37 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Regarding the description of the visual changes I would say that they look typical for ocular migraine. The duration of symptoms for 20-30 minutes also does correspond to the typical duration of ocular migraine.

So based on that description alone I would not say that there is any cause for concern. Remember that in another eye or brain condition, symptoms should be persistent shouldn't be coming and going, shouldn't be switching sides really. Only if they became persistent for over an hour would there be an indication to be seen by an ophthalmologist.
I remain at your disposal for other question.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 21 minutes later
Can these happen in spurts like this? Does this warrant a trip to a neurologist?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 9 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
Yes it can happen in closely repeating episodes, especially when there are triggering factors such as lack of sleep, fatigue etc (but also in the lack of).

If they persist than a trip may be advised to be safe, but rather than to a neurologist I would go first to a ophthalmologist to exclude an issue such as retinal detachment. Neurological conditions like stroke (which I suppose you must be thinking of) are less likely, would be persistent and wouldn't be switching sides like this.

I hope to have been of help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 15 minutes later
Yes one final question and thank you for making me feel better. Someone said this is a sign of MS - is that true? Thank you
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 18 minutes later
Brief Answer:
No, not typical for MS

Detailed Answer:
No this is not a sign of MS. MS may manifest with visual symptoms in the case of optic neuritis which is damage to the optic nerve which causes visual loss which progresses over hours and days in one eye. It doesn't disappear in 20 minutes and switch sides like that.

So no I wouldn't be thinking about MS really.

The one neurological cause which I forgot to mention before which can cause visual disturbances lasting minutes would be transient ischemic attacks due to emboli from a carotid vessel atherosclerotic plaque, but they are in the form of vision loss, not positive phenomena like flashing lights, last less than 20-30 minutes typically and are in the same eye (same artery with plaque), as we said before wouldn't be switching sides.
Other than that brain lesions would cause persistent symptom, so wouldn't be thinking about a brain lesion whether it is MS or a stroke, tumor etc.

Hope you'll feel better soon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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