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Aura without migraine

September 6, 2013 @ 8:26am

Maybe I'm going deaf.
Maybe I'm going blind.
Maybe I'm out of my mind.

We were eating lunch during our Cape Cod vacation last week when my eyes started going nuts. The whole room looked like someone had dragged a paintbrush up and down through a painting, making zig zag lines. I blinked and rubbed my eyes, but these lines wouldn't go away.

This lasted for fifteen minutes.

Towards the end of the episode I wondered if I was having a stroke. I tested doing things with my right and left hands. All good. It seemed to be in both eyes, but maybe it was only in my left. I didn't think to test that.

Niki drove me to the ER. I am smart enough now not to tell doctors what I've already self-diagnosed via Google and WebMD. They hate when you do that. The doctor checked my eyes and said it was most likely an optic migraine — a subject I had just become an expert on via Wikipedia.

Here's the deal. I've never had a migraine headache before. When people get those, sometimes they have strange sensory precursors called an "aura." These are things like blurred lines in your vision or phantom smells and tastes. If you get those and then you get the headache, you just had a "migraine with aura." If you don't have the crazy sensory opening act, just the headache, then you had a "migraine without aura." Or you can be like me and have your eyes go nuts with no headache at all. That's an "aura without migraine," or an optic migraine.

The next day I saw an eye doctor just to be sure that it was not a detaching retina. A good friend of mine just went through surgery for a detached retina a few months ago. It's pretty rare for people our age. I was lucky. Mine was just the aura. In fact, my eye doctor said he gets these optic migraines too and, after the panic of the first one, you get used to them.

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