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When A Migraine Aura Denotes Serious Health Problems


migraineIn some cases, a person that is having a migraine will have visual disturbances called auras.  Some visual disturbances are so out of the ordinary that a person experiencing them may feel inclined to follow up with a doctor.  Unfortunately, there are some signs that the migraine aura might be a true ambulance emergency.

What is a migraine aura?

There are common visual change patterns found in migraine auras.  This includes lights being brighter than usual, losing part of your field of vision, small dots appearing, a hologram effect when you look around the room, visual tracers, and colors appearing more intense than usual.  While light sensitivity is common with migraines, having colors, figures, or patterns appear where they do not normally present in the field of vision is a migraine aura.

The new and different rule

When a person experiences migraines regularly, it can be difficult for the patient to know when a migraine is a bigger problem that a doctor needs to treat immediately.  For chronic migraine sufferers, there is often a symptom pattern.  If the patient notices that their migraine symptom pattern has a “new or different” symptom, this means they should go to the emergency room immediately.  For someone that has had migraines in the past without an aura, having a migraine with aura for the first time could indicate a medical emergency.

Migraine auras because of non-migraine health problems

Migraine auras do not always present when the person has a migraine, and that can be rather disorienting to the person experiencing the vision disturbances.  Along with being part of a normal migraine, aura-type vision issues could mean that you have a brain tumor, the beginning of a neurological disorder, or have had an aneurysm or stroke.  Furthermore, vision issues that mimic migraine auras can be signs that you have preventable and correctable blindness-related issues like a detached retina.

Regular vision checkups protect your overall health

While getting your eyes examined seems like it is only focused on one part of your body, this is not true.  Your eye health can help indicate that you have other issues throughout your body.  In addition to potential health problems related to visual disturbances like migraine aura, an eye doctor can also detect complications due to diabetes, potential cardiac issues, and more.  To get started with your next vision exam, give us a call.  At The Vision Centers, we are happy to answer any of your questions and work with you to improve your overall health.