Visual snow. Double & triple vision.They say it is 'optical migraine'

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Visual snow. Double & triple vision.They say it is 'optical migraine'

Post  Pat on Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:32 am

Hi all,

Does anyone else here experience the same symptoms as me? They are a little odd, to say the least.

After having nothing new to report for almost 12 months, I'm back. I first developed migraine headaches after the birth of my daughter over 2 decades ago. I occasionally saw a bright pin head of light over the years now and then, but didn't suffer from migraine aura per se, until last year when my migraines changed. Since April 2010 I've had constant 'visual snow', 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as lightning bright flashes of light, plus both bright and dull spots of light. I have the visual snow with or without migraine. It doesn't seem to make any difference.

Earlier this year I developed diplopia (double vision) when looking at traffic lights! Has anyone else here experienced this???? In my case, it happened in the absence of a migraine, however I was quite vague & fatigued immediately after it happened. Now it happens all the time, so I have got used to it. I wonder if I slightly freaked out the first time it happened, and it was a bit of a shock reaction.

The first time it happened, I saw two lots of green / amber lights - one on top of each other, with a space in between. I also noticed 'ghosting' over the top of lettering on signs. It occurred in both eyes (I checked by shutting my eyes, one at a time). Later in the day, it looked as though the 'second' green / amber light was merging somewhat with the real light. This visual problem (with green lights only) has remained with me since that day - sometimes I see merged green lights, sometimes I see separate green lights. Sometimes the 'second' light is on top of the 'real' light and other times it appears to the side of the real light. Since then I've had triplopia (triple vision) about 4 or 5 times. When this happens I see 3 green lights - one on top of the 'real' green light, and another green light to the left hand side! I'm not sure what it is with me and green lights!

I have seen a neurologist who could not diagnose me & told me my situation was quite unusual. I saw a neuro-ophthamologist in late May who told me I had 'Optical Migraines' and that my symptoms were very common, almost the second that I walked in the door! I asked her whether my diagnosis was based on something she could see or something else. She told me that I don't have anything wrong with my eyes, but that my symptoms were due to Vasospasm. I asked a neurologist about this and asked whether anyone has ever observed vasospasm. He said, to the best of his knowledge, nobody has ever observed it and that it is a theory. Hmmm.... so I've been diagnosed on the basis of a theory, for symptoms that I suffer from 24 hours a day.

Yesterday I had a particularly bad bout and I had triplopia and for the first time ever, I noticed that other things (besides green traffic lights!) were double. I saw major ghosting on all signs & even trees appeared to be slightly double.

If anyone else has experienced anything like this, could you please let me know? Could you also let me know if anything helped? The neuro-ophthamologist suggested drug therapy (I can't remember the drugs right now and am waiting for her to write a letter to my GP so I can discuss it further with him). At the time of the appointment, she said that a number of people choose not to try and treat it with drugs and they put up with the symptoms. She said the drugs don't help everyone. I told her that I don't mind the symptoms, and am quite sensitive to drugs (I am allergic to sulfa [not sulphur] based drugs). She said that it would be fine not to medicate, but she is writing a detailed letter just in case I decide to try a drug trial.

If anyone else out there has experienced anything similar re symptoms or have been told they have 'optical migraines' or if you know ANYTHING about optical migraines (because they weren't explained to me very well) I would be grateful to hear from you.

Thanks

P


Pat

Posts : 9
Join date : 2010-04-07

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Re: Visual snow. Double & triple vision.They say it is 'optical migraine'

Post  Pat on Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:44 am

ps - I forgot to mention that I had a MRI early last year when I developed neurological symptoms (numbness, tingling, fingers 'jamming' together without me being able to control it, etc + one sided headache and 'different' migraines) and the MRI was completely clear. I've had an EEG to check for epilepsy, but it was fine except for some irregular slow wave (theta) activity which they say happens quite commonly in migraine sufferers. Ophthamologist told me last year that he didn't think it was ocular in origin. My neurologist tells me my diplopia and triplopia is not related to activity in my brain. The neuro-ophthamologist seemed very confident that it was all happening due to 'optical migraines'. Trouble is that she didn't even take a full medical history. She came out with the diagnosis literally 5 minutes after I sat down to talk to her!
P

Pat

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Re: Visual snow. Double & triple vision.They say it is 'optical migraine'

Post  stephgood on Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:55 am

I have the occular migraines. I just really have dust specs in my vision. In fact I was diagnosed with the occular migraines when I was 17, but never had a migraine or any of that until I was 25. At that point it was sudden onset and the previous occular thing was of no consequence.

Recently I was re-checked with the Opthomologist and it is the same, nothing is wrong with me. I just deal with the specs. However, your situation sounds pretty intense. You seem to be unsure and uncomfortable with the quick diagnosis, and rightfully so. I suggest getting a second opinion. There is no reason not to, sometimes a second look gives you a second outlook!! Best of luck!
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stephgood

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Re: Visual snow. Double & triple vision.They say it is 'optical migraine'

Post  Annika on Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:47 pm

Hi Pat,

I have had these symptoms my entire life (32 yrs.) I am never without flashing lights snow. I have lost peripheral vision in the left eye several times for as long as a few hours to as long as a few weeks. My ears ring on a continual basis (usually only annoying with pitch changes) and I experience vertigo on an almost daily basis. The double vision was much worse as a child, but traffic lights of all colors are something that triggers that now. After that, I have this black circle, usually in the top right of my vision, that stays for a few hours. I also get this feeling that I'm living in a dream world. That was also far more severe as a child.

I'm not suggesting in any way that your symptoms are nothing to worry about, but I also don't want you to worry (too much) about something being missed. I have been diagnoses with basilar, not occular, migraines.

The lights and snow don't bother me at all when I don't have a migraine. They suck when I do. Especially since I can't close my eyes to avoid them.

When I was on Topamax as a preventative, the lights with my eyes open, the tinnitus and the vertigo went away. The visual snow did not.

I actually feel pretty lucky. Having had these symptoms for as long as I can remember, I've pretty much learned to live with them. None of them really bother me when I don't have a migraine. The vertigo pitch changes are really the only thing that changes with a migraine. I used to think everything got worse during a migraine, but I'm pretty sure now that it's only because I'm far more sensitive to lights and sounds during an attack.

The sudden onset on all of these symptoms must be pretty scary, but it is definitely possible that they are nothing "serious". I'm so sorry you have to experience these.

Annika

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