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'Silent migraines' - do you have them?

(99 Posts)
boheminan Tue 14-Mar-23 14:09:45

I've just had a 'Silent Migraine' my first in over 15 years, so three in my lifetime so far.
Silent Migraines (for me) bring no headache but a flashing bright zig-zag aura that obliterates my sight. Thankfully I was able to get in my darkened bedroom before it got too bad.

I find them very frightening, they come unexpectantly, with no warning...they leave me feeling grotty, tired with a dull headache. This one only lasted about 20mins, another, years ago, lasted around an hour.

Does anyone else on GN experience these monsters? How often? How do you cope? Any tips???

soop Tue 14-Mar-23 16:09:30

Yes. I have frequent episodes of distorted vision (zig-zag flashing light) minus pain. They usually last no longer than twenty minutes.

NanaDana Tue 14-Mar-23 16:23:42

Yes. Occasional bouts since my 30's, so getting on for 50 years now. The first one scared me to death! Very few these days, and I believe that the main trigger for me is caffeine, and bright, fluorescent lighting, especially when combined. Mine are purely visual disturbances, which begin with a sparkling light at the periphery of my vision, growing into an ever increasing, luminous zig-zag which spreads across my visual field and produces a large, blind spot. It then retreats, as normal vision is gradually restored. I can almost set my clock as to how long these episodes last, i.e. between 35 and 45 minutes. Fortunately, they are now a very rare occurrence.

Elusivebutterfly Wed 15-Mar-23 14:31:46

I started getting migraine with aura in my 30s, followed by a dreadful headache. I usually got them once a month.
Post menopause, I got minor auras most days at work under fluorescent lights, but no other symptoms.
After several years with nothing, migraines are back with less aura and headache but more frequently than ever and making me feel generally sick and exhausted.

dotpocka Wed 15-Mar-23 17:08:48

300mg ibuprofen
lie down with a cold pack or a water bottle with cold
nestle it in the back of neck 15 minute
usually gone in 10 minutes

Shrub Wed 15-Mar-23 18:21:16

I used to get bad migraines with aura, sickness and vomiting, hated bright lights and bad headaches, from the ages of 10 to 17. They then disappeared fortunately. Then about a year ago I started having just the auras, starting with a blank spot, turning to flashing zig zags, which gradually moved away and disappeared within half an hour, but fortunately with no headache. I have them quite frequently now and I hope they don’t get worse. I put it down to low blood sugar as I struggle to keep my weight up.

Auntieflo Wed 15-Mar-23 18:30:59

I first had an aural migraine in my mid 50's. I was working at the time and going from one building to another, when I realised that I couldn't see a colleagues face. The centre had completely disappeared. Then the zig zag lights began. It went away, but since then I get them occasionally. A lie down, with my eyes closed usually sorts me out in anything from 30-60 minutes. I don't get headaches, thank heavens.

ginny Wed 15-Mar-23 19:12:17

I’ve had them on and off since my teenage years as well as several full blown migraines.
Mine start with blurred vision, something like looking through obscure patterned glass.
I take a couple of paracetamol, drink a large glass of water and then sit quietly and do some deep breathing. Usually goes within 15 /20 minutes.

Suki70 Wed 15-Mar-23 22:02:23

I started to have silent migraines, just as others have described, when in my mid fifties. In my case they follow a period of stress or tiredness or exposure to bright light. Fortunately, since I started wearing reactolite glasses they are much less frequent.

harrigran Thu 16-Mar-23 09:46:15

Yes I get episodes frequently, the first time it happened I thought I was getting a detached retina.

Sparklefizz Thu 16-Mar-23 10:22:09

I had the first one when I was 12, the year I started my periods. I had no headache and was sitting at my desk in school during an English lesson when I looked down at my textbook and half of the page was blank. I whispered to my friend that I'd got a faulty textbook and showed her, and she said "No. It's fine."

I was terrified then that I was going blind. Later the zigzags started and I went to the school sick bay but somehow managed to get myself home on the bus at the end of the day.

They seemed to be hormonal in my case, and also food related. I don't get them now.

Whitewavemark2 Thu 16-Mar-23 11:15:03

I’m sure I read somewhere, or the Harley Street consultant told my sister that migraine is in the same family as epilepsy. The after effects certainly sound similar.

Caleo Thu 16-Mar-23 11:55:22

I used frequently to get visual migraines. They were not at all frightening as I knew they passed after a few minutes of keeping still . If I was in a supermarket I'd pretend to be staring at goods on a shelf until the migraine thing went away. The worst was before the visual effects started when I had a feeling of foreboding.

I have not had an episode since the covid pandemic , as I don't go shopping now.

boheminan Thu 16-Mar-23 13:40:16

The epilepsy theory is interesting Whitewavemark2 as my dad had frequent epileptic fits. I wonder?.....

Deed5y Fri 17-Mar-23 11:19:01

I have these, starting in the middle of my vision and working out to the edges. I get them if I’m dehydrated. I drink a pint of water immediately. I’m then aware of it starting to move to the edges quite quickly. I used to be prone to having them when I worked as I used to make a drink but rarely have time to finish it, hence the dehydration trigger.

Froglady Fri 17-Mar-23 11:23:21

I have these - used to have the headaches as well but now just get the aura. As you say they last about 20.minutes and then I'm all right apart from feeling tired.
I may not have one for weeks and then I'll maybe have 2 or 3 in a week.

WendyBT Fri 17-Mar-23 11:23:53

I take Migraleve asap and it usually passes about 20 minutes later. I had a particularly dramatic one a few years ago which turned out to be a stroke.
I was told I have a migraine personality and they can be connected to strokes.
Ok now though.

biglouis Fri 17-Mar-23 11:30:30

What you describe sounds like so called "kalaidescope vision" where a pattern of moving lights appears and can move across the field of vision. It is often differently coloured lights with a zigzag formation. It usually disappears after 5-10 minutes. I have been getting these for years, never accompanied by any pain.

Nanatoone Fri 17-Mar-23 11:35:03

I have these too. I had my first known one the day my daughter was born and have had severe migraine since. These silent ones can either go away with medication and just leave you as others have described or they can herald a bad migraine for me. Any kind of light disruption will always cause one for me (eg flashing images or light), dehydration or sometimes stress. I get far more now I’m older than I ever did. They are debilitating for sure. I did read that you are more likely to have a stroke if you have these and have been rather concerned about that. However I can’t help them, I take low dose, soluble cocodomol you buy over the counter to try to prevent them becoming a full blown migraine and that works for me often. If not I’ll take a tryptan but they have side effects for me so it’s not my first recourse. I’ve tried various preventative meds and not got on with them so just accept it nowadays.

Nandalot Fri 17-Mar-23 11:36:31

My first experience was when I was 16 and studying for GCEs. I remember losing the sight on the right and like Sparklefizz, thought I was going blind. I remember screaming, making everyone at the breakfast table jump
I have suffered from migraines ever since. Bright zig zag lines mean a headache migraine, a mobile black spot means a stomach migraine. Occasionally it is pain free but I thought that was because I immediately take a zolmitriptan to ward off the worst of it.

CrazyGrandma2 Fri 17-Mar-23 11:40:52

I was told by my optician, that they are optical migraines, which aren't pleasant but also are not dangerous. The advice was to rest while they pass. Mine are also usually in the left eye.

AGAA4 Fri 17-Mar-23 11:42:17

Thank you boheminan for this thread. I have had a few episodes of flashing lights in my peripheral vision. I asked my optician and he said it can't be migraine as there was no pain. If I sit quietly for 10 minutes it settles. Now I know what it is I don't feel as concerned.

Keeper1 Fri 17-Mar-23 11:51:26

I get them they start with what I call sparkles I end up with a tiny pinhole of cleanish vision sometimes I end up vomiting or pain or both.

Afterwards I feel really wrung out

Coco51 Fri 17-Mar-23 12:00:40

I get the flashing lights sometmes, I go to an aspirin or two, preferably coated and taken with milk for stomach protection - I already have paracetamol for other reasons and they do not help.

sundowngirl Fri 17-Mar-23 12:01:57

I get these frequently but if I take a pink Migraleve tablet quickly enough they disappear in about 15 minutes. If I don't take them, then these flashing lights, auras etc usually turn into a full blown migraine attacks which could last for hours or sometimes days. I always carry a pack around with me just in case it happens when I'm out.

Polremy Fri 17-Mar-23 12:09:31

MrPolremy and I both occasionally get 20 minutes of what we call “goofy eyes” (technical term). We see stars, circles, and black spots. Maybe this is connected to your collective experience.