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Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

Hi Everybody,

About three years ago I had my first ocular migraine.  It started out as a small blank spot in the front of my vision and then spread out to my peripheral vision.  I had a blind spot and sparkling lights for about 20 minutes.  During this time I also had trouble reading, which scared me, so I went to the hospital.  They told me I had experienced an ocular migraine so they sent me home.

 After about 6 months I had another similar experience and then went another year before having another.  Althogether, I have only had 3 of these migraines.

After my first migraine, however, I started noticing that almost daily I would see a single black dot in the center of my vision when I'd blink.  It lasts about 10 seconds and then disappears.  Eventually, I got nervous enough to go to the neuro about it and she tested me for epilepsy.

My EEGs (30 min and 24 hour ambulatory) came back slightly abnormal, but other tests (MRI, corotid artery) were totally fine.  I am currently taking 500 mg of Keppra 2x day but am still seeing the black dots.  They seemed to disappear when I wasn't stressed out during the summer, but have reappeared this year (I'm in a one year Master's program and am job hunting, etc. so I'm really stressed!!)

Does anyone have anything similar to this? I'm going to call my neuro today to see if it's strange that the dots haven't disappeared.  She said that it could only be simple partial seizures or migraines.  Any similar stories would be appreciated!

-April

Comments

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I've had several of these ocular migraines too.  I never get a headache with them, but the first time I had one it scared me so much because I had no idea what it was and I thought I was having a stroke.  I also see black dots in my vision, that are different from floaters which I see all the time.  It never occurred to me that they could be a seizure.

I was diagnosed with TLE about a year ago, but I've probably had it most of my life.  I suppose the ocular migraines might actually be seizures, but they could be just migraines, too.  I actually had a small one the other morning, where my vision started breaking up into semi-circular areas that made it hard to read.  They usually last about 20 minutes to a half hour.

I take 1000 mg of Keppra twice a day, and it helps with the seizure related stuff, but the fact that I still had an ocular migraine the other day makes me think that it's different from the seizures and doesn't respond to the Keppra.  At least I hope that's what's happening and not that the Keppra isn't working any more!

Deb 

 

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I too see this Black, sometimes dark gray spot, floating around in my eye before and during my severe Migraines. I have had Migraines so bad that I end up in the ER, confused, overwhelmed, dissy and vomitting. Recently they have been getting worse, lasting up to 3-4 days, and having a day of "after math" where I am totally out of it and just feels like my brain is not working properly. Also, I have been suffering more and more Memory Loss, it's so bad that I get lost or forget what I just said or did. The only way to explain it, is that I just blank-out, or space out. Almost like a Day Dreaming affect but afterwards, Im confused and dont remember what just happend. These moments last anywhere from 5-10 seconds to several minutes. I haven't seen a specialist yet, I am geting blood work this week and then off to the Neurologist. My Grandmother suffered from Epilepsy from age 5 until her death at age 76. I never even gave Epilepsy a thought until I started typing in my symptoms and searching info on the web. If I do have some sort of Epilepsy, it's not as bad as what my Grandmother had, she suffered from Grandmal Seizures. I'm sure the Neurologist will schedule me for an MRI, and Im curious to see what shows up, because the migraines I suffer are anything from normal!

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I've had some similar to these expeieines except it was not a black spot it was always a white light type thing that blocked out the top part of the rt of my vision then it would go away eventualy but I always had a seizure sooner or later more like sooner that latter

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

Hello,

I suffer from a migraine daily, and 40% of the time a migraine is followed by a seizure. My whole life has been comsumed by seizures lately, and I think it's because I am in school. I am getting my Associates, and if school is the cause of my increased seizures, I doubt I will make it to my planned goal. However, let me share my symptoms with you, because not only am I still confused, but so is my Dr, and everyone around me. I will wake up in the morning numb. My brain is literally numb. Within an hour my head will start to burn either on the right side or in the back part. Through the day the burning will migrate, after the burning progresses to a point, the migraine will start. This intense pressure will start at the back of my skull. Then by night time I will be having a seizure if not 2 or 3. Once I have the seizure the pressure and the burning is gone for a while. It's like the seizure gets rid of the burning and the pressure. It's odd. Now, I am experiencing blackouts while walking in the store, I am falling all over the place, my vision goes in and out, I have facial tics that weren't always there, my right eye feels like it's going to twitch out of its socket some times. And I get so stupid at times people look at me like I am on drugs. I lose days at a time on my memory because of all of this. My school isn't effected YET thank goodness. I am in search of a new Neuro. Funny thing is, there are none in my area! If anyone  has symptoms even remotely close to these it would be good to know that I am not alone or going crazy.

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

A few years ago I suffered a hemorrhagic stroke centered in the visual (brain) cortex.  The source of the bleed was repaired surgically, but the surgery left me with migraines and epilepsy.  The migraines are just as you describe; usally starting with the little black spots, graduating into a blazing white light in the center of my vision.  If it gets really bad, it turns patriotic (red, white and blue), then on comes an epileptic seizure. 

However, the fix is easy ... Topomax (Topiramate) ... an anti-epileptic, but also a well known migraine preventative medicine.  At the first black spot I take a 25 mg Topomax tab, and 15-30 min later, I'm fine.  I still use other anti-epileptics (Lamictal & Dilantin) for the epilepsy, but the Topomax controls the migraines [I'm told it does nothing for pain, just "visual" migraines].  Don't take too much of the Topomax on a regular basis, otherwise you'll find out why they nickname it "stupa-max" (it makes you a little confused at higher doses).  But, at 25 mg a day its not a problem.

Good luck.

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

Over the past 15 years, I have had 3 similiar episodes as follows:

  • I get a flashing light way over to the side of my left eye.  It is accomanied by a terrible, not-right feeling.  It is the worst feeling I've ever experienced.  It continues, starting with slow flashes turning to ever-quicker flashes until all I can see everywhere are flashing stars of light (this can be 20 - 30ish minutes??).  Pure extended torment.  My eyelids start twitching in time with the flashes.  When the flashing stars overtake my entire vision, I pass out and have a "grand mal" or secondary generalized seizure.  All three instances occurred after physical trauma (roller coaster, car accident, then car accident & broken arm).  A fourth time I had the flashing lights for at least 30 if not 40 minutes without a seizure.  In this case, my sister took me to an emergency care clinic at my insistance & they injected me with a sedative.  I then slept the remainder of the day.  When I was around 10 or 12 (can't remember exactly), I started having the flashing lights, but usually only for a few minutes (2 - 10 maybe?), then would have tunnel vision for a couple of hours.  This happened a few times a year, but never with an ensuing seizure.  Sometimes my head hurt, sometimes not.
  • I now take Effezor for anxiety & started taking Lamictal two years ago.  Since beginning Lamictal, I have frequent "auras" or maybe simple-partial seizures???  This never happened before.  I do not see flashing lights (thank God), but when they occur, they last a few seconds to a couple of minutes & result in me having to curl up.  They will continue over and over again that day until I finally take a nap or go to sleep.  Often times they come on when I'm eating or drinking something.  It's awful.  I get this feeling like I'm outside my reality looking in on "normal" reality which looks quite unfamiliar to me.  I usually only see singular objects from my "normal" reality & when I try to focus these objects, I get a nagging, fuzzy feeling that I've just been somewhere, just had a substantial experience that I can't quite put my finger on.  At that point (of trying hard to remember or pinpoint this feeling), my blood "runs cold", I get nauseous & a really horrible "icky" feeling  in my stomach (but not physical).  It makes my skin crawl & I feel very frightened and overwhelmed & have to curl up and ovoid stimulation, less it occur again immediately.  I wonder if I'm remembering a dream or an experience from childhood, or from a time when hospitalized & sedated...It's so sublime.  I hate it.  Again, I never had these experiences before taking Lamictal.  It's so strange.
  • I have yet to come upon anyone else with such extended auras or simple or complex partial seizures such as the ones before my generalized seizures...

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

You basically just explained my seizures. Reccomendation? Neuroopthamologist (TOTALLY butchered that but it is a neurologist/eye doctor.). The same thing happens to me. I've only had four of the migraines but have vision problems every day, basically twenty four hours a day. My eyes seem to not be able to focus, sort of like on a digital camera screen. It takes a while to focus on the things that are around it. I also have little white spots, not black. Like flashes of light in the corners of my eyes. I am on Keppra XR which has helped somewhat and is nice because there aren't any knock off brands. My eyes are especially worse flourecent lights and when I am stressed. Hope this similiar story helps. :) 

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I have a question as well...I also, have very severe migraines.  I also suffer from fibro myalgia.   Many times a month I can become incapciated from a migraine.   I am on seizure medication, and a grocery list of other medications to try to help control them, even though it doesn't seem to help sometimes.  However, I will have some that I can function with.  It is those that I have a question about. 

Many times, it seems as though, this may sound odd, my vision jumps.  As though my eyes are jerking around.  I usually have to stop what I am doing and move slower because I lose my bearing very easily.  My neurologist simply attributes it to the swelling in my head from the migraine.  It really makes me wonder.  This has become progressively worse over the past year and I really don't know what I should do.

Does anyone else out there experience anything like this?  Or have you heard of something similar to this?  Help!  I need some advice!  A friend told me she heard something called eye seizures, I googled it, and it brought me to this website, I hope I can get some answers.

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I have been having this problem since I was 7 years old, I am now 34. I have had at least 30 of these headaches if not more. When I was a kid they would give me vicodin. It NEVER helped. Last year I had an increase in these headaches and missed a lot of work because of them. I went to a neurologist who prescribed every medication in the migraine world to no avail. Finally she said she gives up on conventional medicine and told me to take a vitamin B complex daily. It worked. The funny lights in your eyes are called an aura. Sometimes I will get an aura, but I will try to ignore it. It will go away now. Someone told me vitamin B helps with stress. I never knew I was stressed, guess I was, cause now I'm ok. I encourage anyone with these symptoms to go to a doctor right away. My symptoms have gotten worse over the years. Most recently I was getting an aura, losing depth perception, vomiting violently, had numbness in my extremities, loss of comprehension, loss of ability to speak. Bad stuff, but also common symptoms of stroke. So take this very seriously. It is better to be cautious and seek help than to try to fix it yourself and have it be something more serious than a headache. My grandmother also get these, and she has been hospitalized twice in the last 5 months because they thought she was having a stroke. Hope this helps.  

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I have been having this problem since I was 7 years old, I am now 34. I have had at least 30 of these headaches if not more. When I was a kid they would give me vicodin. It NEVER helped. Last year I had an increase in these headaches and missed a lot of work because of them. I went to a neurologist who prescribed every medication in the migraine world to no avail. Finally she said she gives up on conventional medicine and told me to take a vitamin B complex daily. It worked. The funny lights in your eyes are called an aura. Sometimes I will get an aura, but I will try to ignore it. It will go away now. Someone told me vitamin B helps with stress. I never knew I was stressed, guess I was, cause now I'm ok. I encourage anyone with these symptoms to go to a doctor right away. My symptoms have gotten worse over the years. Most recently I was getting an aura, losing depth perception, vomiting violently, had numbness in my extremities, loss of comprehension, loss of ability to speak. Bad stuff, but also common symptoms of stroke. So take this very seriously. It is better to be cautious and seek help than to try to fix it yourself and have it be something more serious than a headache. My grandmother also get these, and she has been hospitalized twice in the last 5 months because they thought she was having a stroke. Hope this helps.  

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I just sort of came across this and was shocked.  I have intractable Epilepsy. I take 5000mg Keppra a day, 900mg Lamictal a day, and 550 Zonagran a day.  But a few years ago I started having what the neuro-eye doctor called occular migraines.  I dont have any pain when I get them.  But I get double vision and lose my balance; definately cant drive home from where Im at.  They are worse in the summer when its brighter.  Riding in a car triggers it a lot of time.  If I turn my head too fast it triggers it.  I wear sunglasses as much as possible.  Once it starts to get less sunny they seem to ease up.  I was recently put on some medicine that helps, strangely it is a blood pressure medicine.  I take 80mg Propranolol ER in the morning and 40mg Propranolol in the evening.  I also have Maxalt to take when I actually feel one coming on and if I get one ASAP Im good if I wait too long the rest of the day is spent sitting or laying in the dark.  I have been told these have nothing to do with my Epilepsy but I have my doubts.  It seems to me they might be connected to some photosensitive seizures... Hope this helps someone.

Re: Ocular Migraines and Simple Partial Seizures

I get ocular migraines from time to time.  The most important thing for me is to always carry around two 200 mg ibuprofen tablets.  AS SOON as I see a blindspot, I take both tablets with a full glass of water.  This will prevent the migraine from turning into a headache later.  If I don't take the pills immediately, the blind spot gets more noticable, then I see the bright neon-type lights (kind of like the neon glass lights on a Ferris wheel) but more sparkly.  It can continue into partial numbness of my fingers/hand, and possibly into slurred/scrambled speech.  I've only had the scrambled speech a couple times.  I also seem to feel some strange heart fluttering, especially if I take a deep breathe and exhale slowly, but that could just be related my anxiety over getting a migraine.  So, after you take your two ibuprofen, try to lie down in a dim room and just breathe and relax.  You need to make sure your clothes are a bit loose as well.  I've noticed I seem to get migraines when I am hunched over for a period of time and I'm not taking in full breaths.  I haven't found any food triggers, but I seem to get them after a really lousey night's sleep, or perhaps a couple nights in a row.  Also, if I go too long without eating, I am more likely to get one.  Of course, if I have all my triggers together, it is almost definite that I will get one.  As far as the two 200 mg dose of ibuprofen, I'm not sure how ibuprofen works to halt the progression of my ocular migraines, but that is what works for me.  I never get headaches or take medicine so I might be able to get by with less than that.