Migraine is a common neurological condition occurring in at least 15 to 20 percent of the population and in up to 50 percent of women.
Classic migraine starts with visual symptoms (often zigzag lines, colored lights or flashes of light expanding to one side of your vision over 10 to 30 minutes), followed by a single-sided pounding, severe headache. Along with the headache, you may have nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity.
Common migraine may cause only a headache felt on both sides of the head. Many people who thought their headaches were due to stress, tension or sinus pain may actually have this form of migraine.
Some people experience flashes of light that look like jagged lines or “heat waves” in both eyes, often lasting 10 to 20 minutes. These types of flashes are usually caused by a spasm of blood vessels in the brain. If a headache follows the flashes, it is called a migraine headache.
However, you can experience the jagged lines or heat wave flashes and not have a headache. In this case, the light flashes are called ophthalmic migraine, or migraine without headache. Contact your ophthalmologist if you experience these symptoms.
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