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Distorted wavy vision
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Distorted wavy vision

Occassionally, my vision get distorted as if I am trying to look thru water.  I can only focus on one specific thing.  My perifial vision is gone and everything around it appears wavy (similar to water).  I usually do not get a headache when this happens, but I cannot function for sometimes 30 minutes.  I have no warning when this will happen.  Is it a form of migraine, problem with my eyes, or neurological?  I have had my eyes examined, with no explanation.  I do not get dizzy, I just loose my perifial vision.......what is happening?
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Jacki:

I am sorry that your having difficulities.  There is an entity called aura without headache.  Periodic neurological dysfunction, which may be part of the migraine aura, can occur in isolation without a headache.  Usually, these patients have some of the auras followed by true migraine headaches.  There is something called migrainous accoumpaniments, which are tansient neurological phenomena frequently not associated with headache.  These patients are usually over 40.  This type of headache can occur for the first time, usually after 45 years of age or earlier and must be differentiated from cerebral thrombosis, embolism and dissection, epilepsy, thrombocythemia, TIA, polycytehemia.  I would suggest that you see a neurologist and rule out the worrisome things and then see if you have this disorder.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
11 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I am not a doctor and you should follow the advice given by RPS. I would comment, however, that what you are experiencing may be something called "scintillating scotoma", an aura like precursor to the classic migraine headache. I have been getting them for years WITHOUT the accompanying migraine which I have learned, can be quite common. The "looking through water" description is quite accurate as is the peripheral involvement. These episodes usually last approximately 20 to 30 minutes and can be quite distressing if you don't know what they are. Just a thought.
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By all means get a check up from a neurologist to rule out the bad things. Although its hard to rule out TIA BECAUSE IT DOES NOT SHOW IN A ct OR mri UNLESS ITS HAPPENING AT THE TIME AND EVEN THEN ITS ????.  But a good neuro can rule out mostly everything and check your caritoid arteries,
I have the exact same visual disturbance and I have been told by my neuro that it is Migriane syndrome without headache, Or just the auras. I also get dizzy and even pass out sometime. I also get tingles in my fingers and weakness..And my face will tingle. What has helped to rule out TIA according to my doc is the fact that the symptoms move from side to side and can present on both sides at the same time and that the visual disturbance associated with TIA is usually very blurred vision or loss of vision. My MRI was normal all 3 times as was a CT scan and my BP is good I do not smoke or drink. My only real risk factor for Stroke or TIA is hereditary which I guess counts for a big part of the risk ratio.
But just know you are not alone as there are many that have this strange type of migraine...
Take Care   Betty
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Avatar_n_tn
I have this too!  It's scary as anything, but I also was told by my doc that it was a "silent" migraine -- aura without pain.  Good luck!
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I am so glad to see your comments. I just got out of the hospital yesterday. I was told I probably had a "silent migraine". I had never heard of this. My experience was a loss of vision wherever I tried to focus. It was like a big sun spot was there. I did have perifial vision. This lasted for about 5-10 minutes and then cleared up. Within minutes I started having wavy vision at the edge of my left perifial sight. I thought I was having a stroke and went to the hospital. I had all of the tests, includung an MRI, and nothing was wrong. I am 53 years old and my family has a history of strokes. Reading your comments has helped to ease my mind.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have this too.  It is terrifying!!!  Sometimes I get a headache
after the aura, and sometimes I don't.  Light definetly makes it worse.  I can't function at all until the aura goes away, because
I can't see clearly.  It's scary everytime it happens.  I don't think I'll ever get used to it.  Fortunately, it doesn't happen too often.  Seems to be worse during mentrual period and after my
children were born.  I love excedrin!  Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
The reply by the MD was very astute.  I had my first "aura without a headache" almost exactly one month after I turned 46 in December of 2000.  Rather than wavy or looking thru water I would describe mine as "prism vision"  A sort of jagged line creeps thru my field of vision that is broken up  - i.e. prismatic.  It is not just in one eye.

The first time it occured I too was scared to death as I had never heard of such a thing and I was traveling on business and afraid it was permanent.  It has happened maybe 3 times since, lasting from 5 to maybe 20 minutes - no rhyme or reason.  The last was the worst - during an important meeting.  Because I tried to keep my concentration and hide the problem I felt nauseous.

I have not seen a neuro to rule anything else out.  My diagnosis was actually over the phone passing info to my opthamologist thu his office assistant.  I had rk surgery a few years back and was certain that was the culprit.

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Avatar_n_tn
I too have "silent migraines."  This didn't begin with me until about 4 years ago, after I had my first (and only) migraine.  Until this time, I "thought" I was having migraines, only to realize what a migraine really is!  Turns out those were only severe headaches.  I describe this "phenomenon" as though a camera has just flashed or I've looked at the sun.  I have difficulty focusing on anything and only have peripheral vision.  Then it seems to change to "waves", like looking through water, and "moves" out of the center of vision, affecting my peripheral vision until it finally, about 20-40 minutes later goes away.  I too have noticed that bright lights will seem to make it worse.  I rarely have a headache follow this, which is good, I suppose.  I have to agree with Penny... Excedrin is a life saver!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
This phenomena that y'all are talking about also sounds very familiar to me.  Except I have it all the time!  Light definitely makes it worse.  I usually see a haziness or mirage-like image indoors and then outside it intensifies to wavy sparkling lights.  Floating in water is a good description of the distortion.  I have had 2 MRI's that have shown two lesions, but not in the occipital lobe regions.  In fact I am 28 and my doctor told me only 5% of people my age have lesions at all.  I have never used drugs, had a serious infection or accident that would have otherwise caused the lesions.  My lumbar puncture and visual evoked response were normal.  My doctor is leading toward MS.  But he also says my symptoms are not typical of MS.  Is it possible to have an ongoing ophthalmic migraine.  I have never had any pain, and it is definitely worse when I am tired.  Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thank You
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 62 years old. About a month ago, I got wavy vision around the outside, especially in my left eye. I thought it was a reaction to an auditorium lighting for a long period.  I had a hard time focusing. It lasted about 15 minutes. I had to put on my sunglasses to see to get back to my room.  It was followed by the feeling that my scalp was tight and tender. And my temples sore. This only lasted about a half hour.  Last friday the same thing happened while I was at home watching tv.  Early this morning (6:30 AM) it happened again, shortly after I got up, and was checking my email. It was so bad I could not read, this time it lasted a long time, after an hour I went back to bed, and closed my eyes, falling asleep. When I awoke it was gone, but my scalp feels tight and has been tender all day and I feel a pressure in my temples and light headed. It is now 11 PM, and my scalp and temples are still tight, and I "feel funny" Several years ago I blew the orbit in my left eye to the back wall, and had a plastic one put in at the Pacific Eye Center in SF. I have had double vision ever since, but usually see fine with my persim lens. My sinus are tender, I I did have the flu before going to the meeting in the city.. And have had broncial ashmea every since. Can sinusitis cause these symptons?
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I am having wavy vision, after reading this forum, will see my doctor.
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