A scintillating scotoma or a visual migraine is one of the most wide-spread migraines. Scintillating scotoma without headache is just that the visual interference without having a headache. It shouldn’t be confused with an ocular migraine as it is a different health issue.
The most common symptom of a scintillating scotoma is seeing a flickering or bright spot in the field of vision. The patient can’t see the whole field of vision clearly because of that spot of light. The flickering area is usually not dark. Nevertheless, this condition can affect vision and all related activities. These will include the ability to study, drive, read, write and perhaps engaging in everyday tasks.
How Does Scintillating Scotoma Happen?
In most cases, the patient will see a bright or flickering spot of light that blocks the vision without being too dark. This spot usually expands to cover a bigger area, thus blocking vision furthermore. However, the person will be able to see normally beyond the borders of that spot.
As the time goes by, the scotoma is more likely to grow in size. In the early stages, patients will be able to see objects more clearly by not looking at them directly. Tilting their faces or looking at one side of the object might prove to be more comfortable. This way, the patient will be able to see more details of the object as they adjust the scotoma so that it doesn’t cover the object.
As the condition progresses, the scotoma can cover half the field of vision. The nature of the flickering can change as well. Some patients report seeing arcs or waves of bright light, while others can see different and more uncommon patterns. The color of the light can differ from bright white to other colors.
What are Causes?
The main cause behind scintillating scotoma symptoms is a pattern of changes in the nerves of the brain. This condition is known as cortical spreading depression and is the most important cause of the scotoma. Migraines are usually caused by and can lead to hormonal imbalance. This, in turn, will interfere with the normal functions of the nerve.
Cardiovascular diseases can also trigger scintillating scotoma that can become very severe with time. High blood pressure is also one of the reasons that usually lead to the development of this condition. Brain injuries can lead to the development of scintillating scotomas.
In fact, most patients who suffer from brain injuries are more likely to suffer from a scintillating scotoma later on. Eye problems and diseases are usually linked to scintillating scotoma. Glaucoma and changes in the retina can also be a trigger.
Scintillating Scotoma is not necessarily accompanied by headaches. However, some patients usually report some pain that usually goes away after a while. A typical episode usually resolves within 5 to 20 minutes with no side effects typically. Patients usually start to see objects more clearly as the scotoma disappears.
However, in some severe cases, patients will experience more serious side effects like nausea and dizziness. This usually happens as the condition worsens.