9 doctors weighed in:

What causes the vision distortions with migraine headaches?

9 doctors weighed in
2 doctors agree

In brief: Spreading depression

We believe that migraine proceeds from the back of brain forwards with a neuronal inhibition starting over the occipital lobe, and mediated by changes in the brain stem, especially locus ceruleus.
The visual process is not retinal, but brain mediated, and the term is called "spreading depression of leao".

In brief: Spreading depression

We believe that migraine proceeds from the back of brain forwards with a neuronal inhibition starting over the occipital lobe, and mediated by changes in the brain stem, especially locus ceruleus.
The visual process is not retinal, but brain mediated, and the term is called "spreading depression of leao".
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Tim Conrad
It is clear that the visual changes are central, not ocular, because they are bilateral and fairly symmetric.
Dr. Idan Sharon
Neurology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Migraine and vision

The visual disturbances are inherent to certain migraine types due to the electrical changes and impulses that occur in the brain as part of the headache complex.
You should see a doctor who specializes in headache (neurologist). The neurologist can perform a wide array of tests including blood-work, imaging tests, and perform a work-up to rule out the cause of the headaches.

In brief: Migraine and vision

The visual disturbances are inherent to certain migraine types due to the electrical changes and impulses that occur in the brain as part of the headache complex.
You should see a doctor who specializes in headache (neurologist). The neurologist can perform a wide array of tests including blood-work, imaging tests, and perform a work-up to rule out the cause of the headaches.
Dr. Idan Sharon
Dr. Idan Sharon
Thank
Dr. Laurence Badgley
General Practice
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Electrical discharge

The visual changes often occur as a central arc of shimmering colored light that gradually expands and then dissipates.
This phenomenon suggests that a pulsating front of neural discharge marches through the brain.

In brief: Electrical discharge

The visual changes often occur as a central arc of shimmering colored light that gradually expands and then dissipates.
This phenomenon suggests that a pulsating front of neural discharge marches through the brain.
Dr. Laurence Badgley
Dr. Laurence Badgley
Thank
Dr. William Goldie
Pediatrics - Neurology

In brief: Brain changes

Visual illusions have been a topic for many decades.
Oliver sacks has written a great deal about them, most recently in his book hallucination. Brain changes occur during migraine that cause the illusions. Lewis carroll had migraines that caused effects he described in his stories to alice. We now call them alice in wonderland effects in migraine. Exact cause is still uncertain.

In brief: Brain changes

Visual illusions have been a topic for many decades.
Oliver sacks has written a great deal about them, most recently in his book hallucination. Brain changes occur during migraine that cause the illusions. Lewis carroll had migraines that caused effects he described in his stories to alice. We now call them alice in wonderland effects in migraine. Exact cause is still uncertain.
Dr. William Goldie
Dr. William Goldie
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
21 years in practice
163K people helped
Continue
111,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors