Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Amaurosis Fugax - A Tale of An Occular Migraine ...

That's "am-uh-row-sis few-gax," which is, I think, Greek and Latin for "fleeting blindness." Kind of a catch-all term, but what it means is more or less that -- all of a sudden, you get a visual disturbance which, after a few seconds or a few minutes, goes away.

Got that this morning. 

Looking at the computer screen, and of a moment, there was what seemed like a big floater just to the left of center in my left eye. I blinked. Rubbed my eyeball. 

It didn't go away.

This was not a happy event. 

After a few seconds, the spot grew and the vision through it was gray and fuzzy. 

Really not happy with this.

After another minute, it got bigger still, expanding from an oval that occupied maybe an eighth of my visual field to a quarter, then half. 

Kept on expanding, but as it did, the perimeter developed a kind of iridescent sheen and the middle of the spot cleared somewhat.

Five minutes, plus or minus a bit, and the thing expanded away, disappeared, leaving my vision what it was before.

Spooky, lemme tell you.

I am pretty sure I know what it was -- off to the opthamologist in a bit to see if we can figure out what caused it. Most of the potential reasons I'm pretty sure I can rule out, and what is most likely is benign. If it is what I think, I'm already doing what needs to be done to treat it. Still, it's like the Viagra commercial -- if you suddenly go blind? Good idea to call your doctor.

If you don't see a posting after this one in a few days? Might be something else ...


Yep. What I thought. And the cause is most likely a phenomenon known as "occular migraine," or, more properly "opthalmic migraine." Doesn't do the pain thing, like the   headache, but the aura effects. Neurological in origin, since, if you close your eyes, it doesn't go away. Cause is unknown for certain, though there are triggers -- lights, sudden acceleration, like in a jet, and some others -- that seem to be common. 

Nothing about which to worry. As my doctor said, if it happens and you are at home, sit back and enjoy the show.

The colors, man, the colors -- !

My eyes are still dilated, and I'm getting rainbows all over my blog, so, I'll check you later.

Look into my eye ...


Master Plan said...

Ocular migraine?

Dan Moran said...

I have floaters you could block out the sun with. In the good eye.

Let us know you're OK.

Ed said...

I knew those Mini Coopers were peppy. Hope you don't get it again. Hurry - finish the books. Just kidding, glad your ok.

steve-vh said...

Definitely a post title I'll never use. Just a bit terrifying I would say. Glad all is well.

Black Bart said...

I had one of those at age 29. It Completely freaked me out.

It was a nice self-reflective period of "OMG am I dying"

Scott Masterton said...

I get those now and again. They usually precede a migraine. scintillating scotoma a doctor friend of mine called those "northern light" visuals. Sort of a tunnel vision combined with a vast amount of "space fleas".

Usually no big deal.

Steve Perry said...

Fortunately, my doctor says, simple opthalmic migraines don't progress into neurological version that features nausea and major pain.

Happy to hear that.

The advantage to those headache sufferers in getting the precursor optical show is that the sooner you start medication for an impending migraine, the better.

Stan said...

I have had several of those "events." The first couple of times I really thought I was going blind. Glad to learn that it isn't "just me."

Glad you're okay, M. Perry!

Anonymous said...

I've had two of those, was about 4 years ago. Seriously freaked me out at the time, but my eye doctor had the perfect calming bedside manner in describing it.
For me it was like looking up through an aquarium.