I have recently had several patients come in to the office who have observed bizarre changes in their vision. Typically these changes involve wavy, colorful lights that change in shape over time and last about 15 to 20 minutes. As you can imagine, the first time someone experiences this, it can be very unsettling. And as unusual as it seems, this is actually quite a common experience for people that suffer from migraine headaches.
Not everybody who has migraines sees the visual component (known as an aura) and not everybody who has the aura gets a headache. But people who get them over and over again for long periods of time get to know their aura quite well. It can be very interesting to see how different people experience and describe migraine auras.
The famous neurologist and author Oliver Sacks has recently published a brief article on migraine auras and his perception of his own migraine auras. It also includes interested descriptions that others have written. For those like myself who do not experience these auras it is a fascinating description of the experience.
It is important to remember that, should you experience something like this, you should discuss this with your doctor. Although migraines with auras are very common, and they can at times be serious, there are other conditions that can cause similar experiences that can be significant medical problems.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.