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If you experience a dark spot in your field of vision, either followed by a migraine or not, you might be suffering from scintillating scotoma, casually called a visual migraine. The term scotoma stands for the loss of vision in a part of your field of vision. A scintillating scotoma stroke usually causes flickering light appearing in the peripheral of your field of vision.

The spot might grow in size or change to shimmering zigzag patterns or arcs of light. It starts with a spot that flickers in your field of vision and prevents vision in this spot. After that, it would expand to cover a big part in your field of vision. In other words, objects can only be seen well by not looking directly at them as they will not be in the center of your vision.

But what is this condition in the first place? This article will explain this kind of ailment as well as why it happens.

Scintillating Scotoma Stroke: Association Explained

It is difficult to read and dangerous to drive when you suffer from scintillating scotoma stroke symptoms. This is because some objects will not be seen or become fused with the background. It is also usually associated with aura migraines due to visual disturbances.

Risk factors

There are some risk factors that make you more prone to suffer from this condition. This condition and migraines are therefore related as they have some common risk factors. These will include tyramine-rich foods, such as processed meats and aged cheese. Other physiological triggers can be hormonal disturbances due to low estrogen levels in menopause or during menstruation.

Other risk factors are also considered migraine triggers, like the high consumption of alcohol and food additives. It is also important to know that some medical conditions would trigger this condition. This includes multiple sclerosis and its associated autoimmune diseases. Thankfully, even despite all of the risk factors, a lot of doctors suggest that this condition can be avoidable by following a healthy lifestyle(1).

How long does it last?

This condition develops in 5 to 20 minutes and lasts for less than 60 minutes. Patients are usually left with no or few symptoms like fatigue and dizziness. There is no known cure for scintillating scotoma stroke symptoms. However, the treatment usually targets the causes of the condition. The doctor will test your visual field to detect problems and test your ability to view objects properly on the sides as well as the center of your field of vision.

In fact, it might sound strange to write about scintillating scotoma and stroke together, but the symptoms are thought to be quite similar, so people who experience these kinds of symptoms could potentially think they are having a stroke when they are not. Since a stroke is a much more life threatening condition, it’s very important to be able to tell the difference between the two.

In other words, this condition is more of a migraine than an actual stroke, as a stroke is the result of a blood clot getting stuck in the brain, and has long-lasting effects.

How Does it Happen?

Sadly migraines with a history of aura can increase the risk of strokes resulting from this condition. With hemorrhagic strokes, the blood vessels usually rupture. In patients with scintillating scotoma stroke triggers, there will be a block that will affect the blood the brain blood supply.

However, the percentage of young individuals without risk factors who suffer migraines and develop strokes is really low so doubling it takes us to less than 20 in every 100,000 people per year.

Moreover, early detection of the problem can surely help patients who are already at high risk. To avoid the side effects, you can go for regular eye scanning whenever any problem occurs to cure it in the early stages. Also, regular Vitamin C intake can improve your vision and the health of the blood vessels.

Since prevention is better than cure, and frontal headaches in teenagers is a problem for a youth, if your children are complaining about scintillating scotoma stroke symptoms, please have them checked out by a professional.


It can be very disturbing to experience scintillating scotoma stroke symptoms, as they affect your field of vision, and can be very destabilising and destressing for sufferers.

While there are many risk factors, such as hormonal disturbances and food additives, leading a healthy lifestyle can help you to strengthen your body and avoid this kind of ailment.

This kind of condition is very uncomfortable, but if you catch it early, you can also get the right treatment in time before it becomes worse. For this reason, it’s very important to consult a medical professional so that you can treat and also prevent further scintillating scotoma stroke conditions.

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