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Flickering in eye - optical migrane(migraine)?
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Flickering in eye - optical migrane(migraine)?

About once a week, I have a vision disturbance, which starts as a tiny flickering dot that gets larger and larger and turns into an irregular type of circle.  The edges of the semi-circle are like jagged "saw-type" sharp edges in brilliant colors. At first it seemed that I was seeing this in both eyes, but recently I have been able to pin it down to my left eye only. When I close my eyes I can still see the visual disturbance, only the colors are more vibrant. The semi-circle gets larger and larger until it is out of my peripheral vision, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes.  During this episode, I am unable to focus on anything (can
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, I used to get these a lot too (when I stared at the computer for too long)  Mine was a square in my left eye with a lot of different colors.  It's just a visual migrane (migraine), even if you don't get any pain after.  I used to get a very bad headache after the square went away, but some people don't feel any pain after.  I don't really know how its treated other than laying down, drinking some water, and probably some pain killer (asprin, tylenol, etc.)  I'm no doctor but I've been told its nothing to worry about, so you probably shouldn't worry about it, as long as they don't last a wicked long time.  Mine only lasted a half hour or so..
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Avatar_n_tn
I get them too. Same exact thing...circle, jagged edge, in one eye, can't focus.  It was very scary the first time it happened, but I have been assured by a number of doctors that it is, in fact, an optical migrane (migraine). I never get a headache with it either. I actually read an article about this in a medical journal which had 100's of people describing the exact same thing as both you and I are, confirming that this is what it is. Try not to worry too much about it!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I get this infrequently - I actually have it right now which is why I am researching it.

I tend to get it only following (fairly strenuous) exercise - usually about 30 minutes afterwards and it then lasts for 30-60 minutes.

Should I see a doctor?

Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
i see white spots last about a couple of minutes... I have a lump smaller than a dime size on the back of my head... and pain in my neck.... the eye doctor said it's an opitcal migrane (migraine) but i'm worried that it could be something else... just wondering if anyone had any advice for me...
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm glad to know it's nothing serious.  I was about to run to the eye doctor thinking I had a tumor pressing on my optic nerve.   It started yesterday with a jagged colorful lightning bolt in my left eye and right now it's a jagged circle.  It reminds me of the eye test they do at the doctor office.  No pain so I'm thankful for that.  It probably is from staring at a computer screen for 8-10 hrs a day.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just spent the several hours in the ER last night because the doctor wanted to make sure I was not having a stroke. My CTscans were clear and I was relieved. I also had no pain but was somewhat concerned because I knew nothing about optical migranes (migraines), or stroke symptems. I called a friend this morn and she is the one who said I was having an optical migrane (migraine). I came to this site to look for info and found this chat group. I am relieved to know that so many of us have the same symptoms. I have all of mine in my right eye, but I am left handed so don't know if that makes a difference, since all of the other people commenting have had them on the left eye. Just wanted to share so maybe it will help save someone the time and money to not have to go to the hospital. I have been told there is nothing to be done to prevent them, so guess we just deal with them when they come...Could be worse that's what I'm talking about.....Better a eye trip than a ambulance.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi I am glad I am not alone - I have recently started seeing zig-zag flashing/flickering light in what I think is my right eye - it lasts about 5 minutes and then goes away.   I also find it difficult to read anything as my eyes can't focus properly on one side of my sight.  I don't have any headaches but I am experiencing neck ache so I was thinking it might be related to that?   The eye doctors seems to think there is nothing wrong with me so I am just hoping it is nothing too serious and I am hoping it will go away once my neck ache goes!
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had my first two of these. I had one yesterday and thought I had stared into a light. Then I had one this afternoon at work. It started out as just a small arc and then expanded to a almost a complete circle. Bright and flashing with zigzagged lines in the flashing part. I went outside for a few minutes and that seemed to help. It lasted for a total of half an hour. It seems to be in my left eye (right handed). Hope I don’t get any more.

It really scared me. I mentioned it to a co-worker and she mentioned this Optic Migraine  - so here I am researching it. It is nice to know that I am not alone.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just experianced an optical migrane (migraine) today. I wasn't sure what it was and it really scared me as it did others. I started to notice bright blurred zig zag lines in the right eye (I'm also right handed so don't think this has anything to do with it). It lasted not longer than 20 mins, but I did go to the emergency room just to be on the safe side since I didn't know what it was at the time. They too told me it was an optical migrane (migraine). The information they gave me was that they are very rare, people who get headaches often get them and they last about 15-20 mins. He did mention if I started to get them more frequent to go see a neurologist but feels that wasn't necessary now since this was my first one.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have experienced this about 4 times, and have experienced a pattern. Like many, I went to a doctor and she concluded optical migraine. The pattern always is the same. First, I get an area in my vision that I can no longer see - for instance, if I'm looking at a headline of text, maybe the last few letters are invisible - a small black hole. I first noticed it while watching TV, where I was no longer able to see detail in the center of my field of vision. Then, I kept having the sensation that there was something flickering, and I slowly became more aware of what seemed like a jagged blurry line in my vision, with lots of colors in it, that appeared to be flickering. Even with my eyes closed, I could see the line. I freaked out and started walking home, and within about 10 to 15 minutes, everything was back to normal.

Now I can predict them. I work on the computer a lot, and when I notice the inability to see a small part of whatever I'm looking at, I know it's starting, and sure enough, within about 10 minutes, the flickering line shows up. 10 to 15 minutes later, it is gone, and everything is back to normal.

I wonder what triggers it. Last night I got a tiny bit drunk (I rarely drink, so this is uncommon), so that is the only thing I can pinpoint as a trigger.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi,
I also have this and have for 5 yrs. it looks like your seeing through a colidascope that gets brighter and bigger then statrs to fade ! its scarey
I went to my family Dr. and he even has this and has done tons of research and sent me to the Eye Dr. & found it to be Optical nerve migraine and it starts in the brain, its a small siesure that makes a spasm in the optical nerve and the blood flow and oxigen cant get through to the eye and it gives most a very bad headache after the eyes start to clear up. my last one was really bad lasting for an hour or more till the eyes cleared... so back to the Dr. I went and they put me on anti seisure medication that they said has helped many to never get them again and even children ...so hope it works for me !  Also they said stress can cause them to happen more often.
hope this helps everyone
thanks
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 66 year old retired male (diabetic) who spent the last 25 working years on a computer but have been retired for 4 years.  Two weeks ago I started having optical migraines in my left eye, in fact I had 5 the first day.  I lost total vision in one eye each time.  Very scary.
I have been to my eye doctor (an MD) and then  a neurologist. I have had blood tests and also have had sonograms done on the arteries in the neck and the heart.  A  MRI and MR-A done  on the head and am scheduled to see an optical neurologist at his earliest convenience.  Mine have been triggered by a sneeze of a cough, have happened while laying down in a dark room and the last one was as I typed the first line of this note. I have come through all the tests clean with two exceptions,  my blood sugar, which has been in line for years is now gone up.   My last a1C was 5.7 and six months before it was 5.6. (For you non diabetics out there that is exceptional)  Now out of the blue after a 12 hour fast my Blood Sugar was 182  And my blood pressure which has always been text book ( 120/80)  has fallen   and was 84/40 . For the time being I am on anti migraine drugs ( nasty stuff that) and waiting .
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Avatar_f_tn
I have actually had a few of these episodes myself. The first one that I had was so bad the dr rushed me to the er thinking I had a anerisum however you spell it. But the er said I had opticular migraines. I have had a couple of these over the past year. I am not sure about all the information with them. I just know that my sight is affected, it feels like im looking at the sun and looking away but the glow or light is still in my eyes, even when i close them. and i get dizzy or well it just makes me feel wrong when i go through this.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have the exact same effect, it is really beautiful and scary at the same time, the geometric shapes are amazing, I suspect that it is an interrupted visual signal that is trying to reach the brain or something like that.  I had about 10 of those in 6 months, they stopped for awhile an now they seem to be back, I just 2 today, which is very rare for me, I normally was getting like 1 a week.  So I am trying to figure out what is triggering them like everybody here on the forum.  I had intense gym workout this weekend and right after I had those optical migranes (migraines), I wonder if it is muscle related or some kind of chemical that brain releases that is muscle related.  

I also spend 8-10 hrs on computer so maybe thats the trigger, but then again, I didnt have those for 1 months and now for no reason they are back again, I am really worried now.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had the zigzag rainbow to the left of my eyes, thought it was something more. I did get a headache after, which is rare for me to get any headache at all. Just finished an intense yoga class, with inversions so I'm guessing that's what caused it. I've been doing yoga for 3 years and have never experienced this before. Scared me that I could not see or read, like a blind spot, I hope I never get this again.
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow.  So many people with identical descriptions.  My wife just had one of the Optic Migraines for the first time.  She described it as a Jagged Semi-Circle with bright brilliant colors that vibrated and seemed to flow through the jagged shape.  She also stated the object was more brilliant and could be seen when she closed her eyes.  The episode lasted about an hour for her and she stated she had a head ache the whole time and it got worse after the shape disappeared. She also identified her blood pressure as 156/98 during the episode. She is right-handed and the object appeared in her right eye, so I agree with others that it makes no difference if you are right or left handed. Additional background is that my wife has migrane (migraine) headaches, has siezures, and is currently taking blood thinners due to a clotting disorder.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had this happen to me a couple of months ago, but mine was also accompanied by a strip of black across the top of my left eye (I'm left-handed btw). I had the black strip first.  Because it didn't hurt I didn't think it was anything serious and would right itself, but after getting the kaleidescope lights and patterns I went to the eye clinic the next day.  I actually had a detached retina and was four hours away from losing my sight completely!  I had an op that afternoon to put the retina back.

All has been fine, until 2 weeks ago when I had a small flickering in the centre of my vision which then developed into a white light. It last about 5 minutes.  I went back to the eye clinic and had a scan but it seems to be a mystery.  The consultant said its probably caused by a nerve being damaged by the laser when the repair was being done and will take a while to settle.

It seems the time to worry is if you have any black areas (loss of vision), then get yourself to the eye hospital straight away as its probably a detached retina and needs to be treated asap.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had optical migranes (migraines) since I was sixteen, I'm now 22. I know one is coming on because I can only see half of what I'm looking at when it starts, by that time I can't speak I know what to say but I can't talk. I get really, really dizzy and nauseated. This lasts up to an hour and then I get a blistering migrane (migraine) that follows, it's been so bad at times I had to be rushed to the hospital.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi, the first optical migraine (with the same flickering zig-zags in the visual field) I got 30 years ago when I was about 12. Since then, I had 5-6 more until I hit 20s. In twenties I had it once or twice; in thirties maybe 2-3 times, and now in 40s had it twice... Same length of about 30-45 min, except for one time in my early 30s when it lasted about 4 hours....
Analyzing the situations I was in when I get them, this is what observed and derived from it: Strong physical or mental activity that is accompanied or followed with the about medium (or even lesser) visual straining activity (even the light reading) complemented with not enough rest and/or hydration and always, always with the lower blood sugar (I am not even border line diabetic) that you know is there since your stomach really feels empty and you have passed the over-hungry threshold will cause my optical migraine....
That all makes sense since the condition is caused by the lack of oxygen flow to the eye and the above observation surely triggers that.... Without that over-hungry feel I had never had any optical migraine....
Importantly, in most of those situation I was either going without food and water for at least 5 hours, or I had a strong unusual physical mental activity with almost none (mostly none) hydration and very late food intake of at least 3-4 hours later...
Hope this can help some of you prevent the recurrences by not letting yourself go without food for 5 hours or more and water for 4 hours or more (reduce those hours drastically if you are exercising or doing heavier mental work)..
Thanks and Good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have just had an episode of this as well: A jagged colourful shape to the left of whatever I focus on.  I try to look at it, and it just moves more to the left.  Presently, it is diminishing and seems to have moved out of the center of my vision and into the periphery, but I must say that my head actually feels quite heavy and "full".  I feel like my reaction time is likely very low compared to what is normal for me as well, like it takes a moments for me to process whatever I am viewing.  This is utterly disconcerting; however, I am glad to have found a forum with so many people suffering a similar anomaly of vision.
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Avatar_f_tn
I too have these episodes usually months apart but last week they came 3 days in a row around lunch time and lasted 20 minutes i see it like a far off tiny light and it grows to the size of my whole eye its brilliant white like a circular lightening bolt until it feels like it disappears behind my line of sight my head does not hurt just a funny numb sensation in my eye then like nothing ever happened i thought i was going nuts and it sounds crazy trying to tell people about it.
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Avatar_m_tn
Just experienced this exact C shaped sawtooth blazing flashing light in my eye last night. Came on suddenly. Freaked me out!  A little blue at the bottom and top and a little red , but most was a most brilliant white, and  saw toothed.  Eyesight fuzzy.  I closed my eyes and tried to relax. The image began to fade and got so large that it went off screen (so to speak). After 30 minutes eyesight was OK again. Glad I found this posting! I thought I was in for it!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi There - I am have this very thing as we speak.  I was so worried but thankful it's migraines.  I have been having them very frequently lately.  Mine is in my left eye and I am left handed. No correlation.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have the same thing,it all started about 2 weeks ago,i was sitting in front of the computer next minute my eyes started flashing,really bright like fire work in my eyes,next minute half of my left eye,just went black,i hold my hand right in front of my face and i look not see anything,now i keep getting them almost everyday for two weeks now,went to hospital,got a scan done of my head they could not find anything,they said i have sinus,my right side of the head was hurting as well as my shoulder and neck,my shoulder muscle felt so tight,i found out alcohol and stress and long hours in front of computer does trigger it.got my eyes check as well,my vision is good,dont need glasses,they thought it might be detached retine (retina),so they send me to specialist,he checked and said no,but it is really worrying me,got an appointment with neurologist,hopefully they be able to tell me whats going on???
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Avatar_n_tn
All of you are talking about having the symptoms that I had since the age of 10.  My Opthamologist and I were talking about my history and I suddenly remembered that the original symptoms were severe cluster headaches, vision brown out, and fatigue.  My piano teacher noticed and asked my Mother, who had told me that I was "too young to have headaches".  I had macular edmas behind the eyes.  And, strange coincidence that they retreated and the other symptoms stopped when I changed schools... and no longer stopped by the 7/11 for Tab cola which had artificial sweetener.  Tab name was dropped and became Diet Coke.  
   I began drinking other Diet Colas around the time that Aspartame went on the market.  A few years later, gaining 100 lbs, the headaches started again, fibromyalgia, nerve pain in the extremities -- then I had 7 STROKES which took me off of everything for months - because I couldn't swallow and was tube fed.  
  Today - no fibromyalgia, rarely have headaches, but the circulation on the stroke side is awful and lower level to high level pain if I do not exercise, drink plenty of water, get massages, soak in Epson salt baths, and reverse the nerve damage with r-Alpha Lipoic Acid and Borage oil.  At night I use a roll on of CryoDerm gel if the pain if overwhelming.  Arnica gel + Peppermint lotion when I run out of that.
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Avatar_m_tn
HI
Well I have been having these since I was in my 20's I am in my 70s now .  Used to be only once every year or so but I have had 3 in last month  so that has me a bit worried  possibly stress related not sure.  
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Avatar_f_tn
This site has helped me enormously - had my first one today. Was looking at a laptop screen, all the words starting to 'swim' around the page. Saw a zigzag pattern around a circular shape across everything I looked at. When I closed my eyes it was bright white and the zigzag was silvery and spinning around. Got really distressed and teary - very frightening experience.  Wore off after about 20 minutes and other than the worry had no other symptoms yet. Called my opticians who advised to go to A&E which I did. Had the back of my eye looked at and have a consult at hospital in 2 days. This has given me a much needed insight into what happened - thank you all for posting.
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Avatar_f_tn
This site has helped me enormously - had my first one today. Was looking at a laptop screen, all the words starting to 'swim' around the page. Saw a zigzag pattern around a circular shape across everything I looked at. When I closed my eyes it was bright white and the zigzag was silvery and spinning around. Got really distressed and teary - very frightening experience.  Wore off after about 20 minutes and other than the worry had no other symptoms yet. Called my opticians who advised to go to A&E which I did. Had the back of my eye looked at and have a consult at hospital in 2 days. This has given me a much needed insight into what happened - thank you all for posting.
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Avatar_m_tn
Visual phenomenon like this should get checked up properly. It is most likely some sort of migraine symptom but could potentially be very dangerous. Should be checked!
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Avatar_m_tn
I see an OD (optometrist) every year; known him for 35 years. He referred me to an eye MD (ophthalmologist) for detached vitreous (flashes); for the optical migraine he didn't refer me... we just talked about it. Keep in mind that he understands my general health. When I began getting optical migraines there wasn't the wealth of information (good and bad) on the internet. In the early 1990s there was no information about *optical* migraines. For ten years before that I searched chat rooms on Compuserve, the Source, and private dial up services (even ham and CB sites talked about other things). My point is: if you don't have a 35 year history with an OD, or don't know that there are a dozen specialties regarding the eye and don't know much about floaters (I mapped mine), glaucoma and cataracts, visit an eye doctor and establish a relationship.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just had my second episode tonight, three months apart. Both were within 30 minutes of strenuous exercise, and with both I hydrated before, during and after the workout with water and vitamin water — I hope it doesn't contain aspartame.
After the workout, I went straight home, ate protein while watching TV. The small jagged circle, which had total fuzzy vision in the middle, slowly grew larger (then I could see fine through it) until it was gone within 30 minutes. No headache. Still interesting, and a bit disturbing. Beautiful, colorful shards.
Recently had eye checkup and was told my eyes are very healthy.
Think I'll go have an overdue checkup for general health because I wonder if blood pressure affects it.
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I would think blood flow to the retina would be more important than blood pressure, but I don't really know much about the eye.

An opthamologist is a medical doctor trained in the anatomy and physiology of the eye, as well as eye diseases and their treatment, and is your best bet for getting to the bottom of this issue.

Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
Well I'm am busy having these symptoms for the first time as i type this. In both eyes simultaneously, and has grown from taking up about 10% of my visual awareness to now about 50% in a space of a half an hour. No pain or discomfort whatsover. My beautiful rainbow shimmmering jagged eye-shaped anomolies are making 2D images almost appear 3D. The pattern here for most people seems that we all were staring at a contrasting electronic screen for an extended period. For me it was an X-Box game that had me riveted for 4 hours last night. My eyes felt dry when I went to sleep last night.
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Avatar_m_tn
Just experienced my first one of these and thankful to all those that posted before me. Mine looked like a bendy snake made up of flashing multi-colored triangles. Permanently stuck just to the right of my forward looking vision.

The flickering happened regardless of eyes closed or open.

When it first started 20 minutes ago, I was having a really hard time reading because I had to turn my head or wait a second to see the next word. Talk about scary.

My day was like this. Drove into work on a sunny day (hardly any direct sunlight) but had sun glasses on. Drive into a parking garage (that was dim but not dark), put on my 125 cheapo reading glasses and watched a 30 minute tutorial on HTML 5/Canvas on my mobile phablet device inside my truck. The device was propped on my steering wheel. The tutorial had very tiny text that I recall straining a few times to read the lines of code. This was nothing new for me. I did just start wearing reading glass a couple months ago. Anyway, after the tutorial, I left the truck and carred a semi-heavy box to my office which was just a couple elevator rides and very few steps. I did struggle to open a heavy security door with my hands full. I set down the box and logged into my computer. I leaned over to log into my second computer to kick off automation and then when I turned back to my main dev box, I noticed it. I thought it was a flickering sun spot and thought it was from reading in the dark or perhaps the sun sneaking in through my closed blinds but quickly realized it wasn't going away. I went and grabbed coffee and it stuck with me and didn't diminish. I came back to my office and started looking up info and landed here. While typing this, the problem has diminished to nearly nothing (about 30 minutes) just like everyone elses experience. Again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. At my age (42), these types of events can be scary. Couple other quick things. My back is a little sore (bad computer posture all the time), and my neck has had chronic off and on pain for years after a car accident.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am very hypocondriac.  I am 22, and my symptoms are like black spots (like shadows of light) that create kind of irregular flashing patterns, like in a chess game. I especialy see it when my pressure is low or when I am very tired. It looks like an epileptic visual attack, and really scares me, but I have had it for one year or so and nothing happens.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm glad to see I'm not alone with this. My symptoms are somewhat different though. I see the exact same bright jagged lights in the corner of my eye that you described. Usually seems to be the left eye and bottom left corner. I had excellent vision all my life and that seems to be going down hill now (hard time seeing signs I should be able to read clearly). However, I have no vision loss. No black or empty spots. No headaches. No aura. Just this jagged light. I've been afraid to see the eye doctor because I don't want to need eye drops for the rest of my life (my mom has glaucoma) but I'm going to schedule something to make sure this isn't retinal detachment...... For a while now I've been seeing what I thought were floaters. But they are white... They seem more like flashes. Which I read are more serious than  floaters. Anyone here who has any flashes or loss of vision should see a doctor for sure!
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Avatar_m_tn
A flashing or vibrating semi-circle of jagged, colorful lines, like the ones described here, interferes with my vision sometimes.  It's in the right eye and to the right and it doesn't matter if my eyes are closed or not.  These spells come in 15 to 20 minute lengths as I engage in normal everyday activities.  I had several "attacks" years ago following their start on the day of 911 (distress/stress?) and they disappeared within a few months.  I couldn't connect them with any particular behavior or activity.  I've had two recently with the last one showing up yesterday at lunch time. I can still read a newspaper or work on the PC, but they're annoying.  I've never had headaches in my life, and no vision problems according to my optometrist.  It was a comfort to find others describing a similar experience, and without any horror stories of losing vision, etc.. Has anyone ever had other images associated with the flashing?        
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