Rose Eye Clinic, Hot Springs, AR - Angela Finley Rose O.D.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Migraines in the News

A reporter covering the Grammys was taken to the hospital because she had apparently suffered a stroke while on the air.  As it turned out, her sudden lapse into incoherent speech was caused by a migraine. One side of her face went numb and this temporarily affected her speech.

About 20 to 30 percent of migraine sufferers experience some type of sensation (or "aura") other than headache pain before or during the attack. The most common of these are visual symptoms such as flashes of light or other visual phenomena.

A patient may also experience what is known as an "Opthalmic Migraine". In this situation visual disturbances are the only symptom. There is no pain and the attack is painless. It can be a scary situation, though - particularly if it is the first time.  A central blind spot may occur that gets larger over the period of the migraine.  One of the more rare but quite fascinating symptoms is
macrosomatognosia, also known as the "Alice in Wonderland" effect. A patient may feel that a body part or the entire body is much larger than it actually is. The opposite, microsomatognosia, or feeling smaller can also occur.

A migraine is much more than just a bad headache. It is a brain event. Because of this, your doctor may prescribe an anti-epileptic drug for migraine prevention such as Topamax. Ironically, Topamax can sometimes cause visual disturbances of its own. They are:
a sudden decrease in vision with or without eye pain and redness;
a blockage of fluid in the eye causing increased pressure in the eye (secondary angle closure glaucoma)

These eye problems can lead to permanent loss of vision if not treated. You should call your healthcare professional right away if you have any new eye symptoms.

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