Every eye doctor or eye care practitioner knows how common scintillating scotomas are. A lot of patients suffer from visual disturbance that is caused by visual auras. This condition is not dangerous and is usually not painful. It might not be associated with headaches or seizures but it simply causes a disturbance in the vision that makes patients uncomfortable.
What is A Scintillating Scotoma?
Patients usually suffer from visual disturbance that makes them dizzy or uncomfortable. Some patients see things that are not there or are unable to see things that are there. These are called positive and negative auras respectively. In some cases, patients experience an alteration to the images they see. They might see it larger or out of proportion. The visual aura can last a few seconds or can last for months. It can be accompanied by other painful symptoms like headaches, migraines or seizures.
What Causes Scintillating Scotoma?
There isn’t one known cause known for scintillating scotoma but most cases are triggered by retinal degeneration or problems with the optic nerve. Some problems with the arteries can also lead to the formation of visual auras. Most of the time, visual auras are not considered to be serious. However, migraine with aura usually increases the risk of stroke.
The aura originating in the retina will either be a positive or negative aura and can last for up to one hour every time. The aura might progress across the field of vision or might stay stable. There could be a headache migraine on one side of the head, specifically the side of the aura. This kind of scotoma is very common in older people who suffer from hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases. It could start as a mild and temporary sparkling or twinkling. Some patients start to experience stronger visual disturbance, especially in bright light.
Optic Nerve Causes:
Most optic nerve auras are negative. They could also be related to problems with the central retinal artery. Most of the time the aura will last a few seconds and up to 20 minutes per episode. If patients are suffering from temporal arteritis, they should be kept under medical supervision. Patients should be examined regularly to see if there is something wrong going on with the optic nerve to prevent blindness in the long run.
Can the Scintillating Scotoma be Prevented?
The scintillating scotoma is not dangerous but can cause discomfort. Most of the time, it might happen as a result of stress and pressure. If you tend to experience visual auras after going through a lot of stress, you should start practicing some relaxing techniques. Meditation and yoga can help with managing stress levels. You should also be careful with what you eat. Following a healthy and balanced diet while controlling your caffeine and alcohol intake can help with your visual auras.
Most people experience an improvement in their visual auras with adequate sleep and rest. However, if a migraine usually follows your aura, then you should consult a doctor.