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Migraine Aura

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Updated March 29, 2010

Many times, migraine headaches are preceded by some sort of visual disturbance known as an aura. They usually occur anywhere minutes to hours before the pain of a migraine starts. These symptoms typically last for anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes. The aura may occur without actual pain, and in these cases it is known as a migraine equivalent.

Visual changes can occur in one or both eyes. They can include one or more of the following:

  • Zigzag lines
  • Flashing lights
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Temporary blind spots (scotomas)
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
A migraine may not be accompanied by a classic aura, but a number of other symptoms may signal the onset of a migraine headache.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Increased urination
  • Increased sweating
  • Swelling of the face
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

Sources:

Kantor, Daniel. Migraine with Aura. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Updated 11/21/2006. Retrieved: September 7, 2008. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000721.htm

Olesen, J. “Understanding the Biologic Basis of Migraine.” NEJM. 22 Dec, 1994.

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