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Urgent eye help, flashing lights

(30 Posts)
RollerCola Sun 09-Feb-14 22:40:26

Can anyone help, I've just settled down to read mumsnet and noticed a small circle of flashing lights in front of my eyes. At first it was small but in the last 10mins it's got bigger and bigger and now I can't see the edges.

I know I should get off my phone but I'm panicking it's something serious. I've just googled and it mentions optical migraines but not sure if it's the sage thing.

I actually had my annual eye test yesterday - there's a history of sudden onset glaucoma in my family so I'm always a little nervous about my eyes. There's no pain at all. I do suffer from normal migraines but have no headache.

Any idea what this could be? Do I need to get it looked at?

FuckyNell Sun 09-Feb-14 22:43:15

Aura migraine. Take a couple of painkillers - some people get this with no pain after but i am not one of them!

NaffOrf Sun 09-Feb-14 22:47:19

Silent migraine. I get them all the time. Takes about 20 minutes to clear. Doc says it's my age. Or stress!

BakingBad Sun 09-Feb-14 22:47:28

Sounds like my migraine symptoms which last half an hour and I don't get a headache. I sometimes lose half my field of vision for a little while too.

It is scary but shouldn't last long.

Obviously see a doc or optician if you're worried.

Thegoatprophecy Sun 09-Feb-14 22:47:46

Yeah sounds like optical migraines. I had a couple when I was stressed/tired. If you are on the combined pill you will need to come off it as this is contra-indicated with visual migraines. I haven't had one since changing to the mini pill.

sanssoleil Sun 09-Feb-14 22:47:46

Hey just a civilian here

I have migraines like this,you need to rest and not do anything visually stimulating

Don't worry overly[easier said than done] and may be worth an eye check just to eliminate your fears.

Plumpcious Sun 09-Feb-14 22:51:30

Could be a migraine aura. I had one a couple of years ago, even though I don't suffer from migraines. It subsided after about 30 minutes (by which time I was at an opticians asking for an emergency appointment).

If it's not getting better try calling the NHS Direct number (or whatever they're called now) and ask for advice.

What is dangerous is loss of vision - what I think is described as a curtain partially falling over one eye - because that could be a detached retina and it needs surgery to prevent permanent loss of sight. But that doesn't sound like your symptoms.

RollerCola Sun 09-Feb-14 22:52:00

Ok phew, thanks. Seems like it's some kind of migraine. I've had a million migraines before but only ever head pain. I've never had the lights before, and I have no headache at all. Weird.

TheNunsOfGavarone Sun 09-Feb-14 22:52:23

It does sound very like a visual migraine. I get those from time to time, so does my sister, and they aren't usually a cause for concern. Can you see the flashing lights in both eyes or just one eye? If it's just one eye it could be something different that you'd need to check out. Whatever the symptoms it might be an idea to phone the NHS 24 hour line to talk them through with someone to help put your mind at rest. www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/About/CallingNHSDirect

HelpTheSnailsAreComingToGetMe Sun 09-Feb-14 22:53:01

Or it could be a retinal detachment. I'm at high risk so if it were me I would be straight to A&E as advised by my optician. If you are very shortsighted or have any other risk factors for retinal detachment you may need to act immediately to save your sight.

RollerCola Sun 09-Feb-14 22:53:15

I think it's easing off already. The circle got bigger & bigger and now I can barely see the edges. Going to get off my phone. Thanks

MartyrStewart Sun 09-Feb-14 22:53:37

I get this and find that if I have something really sugary when the vision problems start I don't get the headache.

A can of coke works for me.

RollerCola Sun 09-Feb-14 22:53:44

It's both eyes

silversmith Sun 09-Feb-14 22:55:23

I had exactly this happen last week. And like you I googled, and what I read suggested that if it continued for more than about 30 mins I should start to be concerned. It cleared in about 25 mins, during which time I also had a cup of tea & slice of cake, as one website suggested that low blood sugar can cause it, and I had just done an intensive exercise class then walked home, on not much breakfast!

I've had one migraine in my life, which lasted a couple of days, I thought this might be the start of number 2, but it was just a slightly panicky 25 mins! Hope yours clears quickly too.

HelpTheSnailsAreComingToGetMe Sun 09-Feb-14 22:56:16

Retinal detachment is rare so it's still much more likely to be migraine, but here's the RNIB's page on retinal detachment

www.rnib.org.uk/eyehealth/eyeconditions/eyeconditionsoz/Pages/retinal_detachment.aspx

HelpTheSnailsAreComingToGetMe Sun 09-Feb-14 22:56:42

Ah both eyes - not detachment then.

RollerCola Sun 09-Feb-14 22:59:08

It's almost gone now. I played a game of netball at 8.30 and hadn't had a huge amount to eat today - maybe that was it. A bit scary!

FunInTheSunD Sun 09-Feb-14 23:01:48

I've come on to say migraine as well as I get these and mine last about half an hour at the most. I often feel a bit vague or not with it after mine subside.
its interesting that people are asking if its in both eyes as mine always seems worse in one.

TheNunsOfGavarone Sun 09-Feb-14 23:02:26

Glad it was both eyes and that it's on its way out - it can be quite unsettling when it first happens. My sis started getting them before I did so when it happened to me I recognised it from her description, but the first time it happened to her she'd no idea what it was and thought she was having a stroke.

Was going to say the same. I'm in my mid 40s and think it's age related as only started with me last year. Was so scary! I ended up in hospital as went into huge panic and my vision got even worse. I've only had another 2 but am totally calm about them now as know what they are.

2kidsintow Sun 09-Feb-14 23:07:25

I've had these. At the most inconvenient times. Like parents' evenings when I've got 15 sets of parents to see. smile

If you are on the standard contraceptive pill you need to mention it to your GP as I've had to swap pills after mine found out.

theQuibbler Sun 09-Feb-14 23:09:00

They are very unsettling the first time you have one. I used to get regular migraines with auras, but since having children I get those far less, but am more prone to these silent migraines - especially if I stare at a screen for too long. I'm always on edge, waiting for the pain to kick in, but thankfully, it doesn't!

FoodieToo Sun 09-Feb-14 23:16:54

I get these. Mine also have a kind of hologram that moves through my field of vision.
Called ophthalmic migraine without headache .

I don't get the headache but am tired after an episode. Mine also appears to be triggered by low sugars.

The first time it happened was so scary. Now I know what it is it's not so bad.

BillyBanter Sun 09-Feb-14 23:18:45

visual migraine or the more exciting sounding scintillating scotoma. I get these once in a while. No pain. Distracting. then after about half an hour or so I realise it's gone.

No medical professional I've mentioned it to seems bothered so I don't.

mellicauli Sun 09-Feb-14 23:26:13

Third option is "floaters"..sign of the eye jelly getting old. Both mother and MIL have had this. They both went to a&be and we're told this was the right thing to do. It could have been retinal detachment as stated upthread.

RollerCola Mon 10-Feb-14 07:04:54

Thank you all so much for your replies last night. I panicked a bit because it was quite disorientating. The flashing lights disappeared fairly quickly but I could feel a slight headache starting right in the back of my head. I took some painkillers & went to bed.

I felt really odd though as well, really clumsy. I couldn't walk in a straight line down the hall & bumped into the wall, and then when I went upstairs I tried to walk up an 'extra' stair at the top and nearly fell over. Thankfully I seem to be ok this morning.

Don't fancy having one of those again hmm.

TheNunsOfGavarone Mon 10-Feb-14 10:28:31

Hi RollerCola, I am glad you are feeling better this morning. You may want to check this out with your GP or the NHS helpline though - I don't want to cause undue worry but I have not experienced the accompanying sense of disorientation you describe or the headache (could be because I was at my desk or otherwise just slobbing around at home the three times it's happened to me). What you describe may be normal too particularly if you have a history of "real" migraines too, but I just don't know enough about it.

Honeysweet Mon 10-Feb-14 10:33:05

Glad that HelpTheSnails mentioned detached retina, as that needs very urgent attention.

juneybean Mon 10-Feb-14 10:33:15

I had my first optical migraine a couple of weeks ago and asked my optician about it and just made a note but said to see the doctor if it happens often. I had no pain either which made it all the more confusing, I'm used to writhing in pain with my migraines!

RollerCola Mon 10-Feb-14 10:55:10

Yes the lack of pain confused me as I'm so used to having the traditional head pain that I couldn't associate it with being a migraine.

I've got a drs appt this morning as it did scare me a bit. I'm recently separated so live alone with my 2 children now and I think I panicked as I wasn't sure what to do if my sight went. It made me nervous about what I'd really do in an emergency.

I feel very very tired this morning a still a little disorientated. Ds is poorly too so I'd already decided to take the day off work to look after him. Going to dr in a bit.

Thanks for all your help.

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