Scintillating Scotoma: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment 

Overview

When the, part of the visual field becomes almost pixelated, and you may only see a portion of what you are trying to look at. Your vision may appear to be shimmering. It’s called a “scintillating scotoma”. If you slightly turn your head, the absent portion will become visible, but the scotoma (from the Greek word for hole) will still be present there, in a different place.

 Like other types of Scotoma( A blind spot in your vision) Scintillating Scotomas appear as an illusion, dots, or blind spots in your patch of sight. It is induced by cortical spreading depression. There are many times when this is caused by abnormal electrical currents flowing through your brain.

Scintillating Scotoma is an optic aura which is originated from the brain, it may precede a migraine headache, yet can occur acephalgically(without headache). It may look wavy or alternate growing from dark to light again. Often, the edges are craggy.

How Migraine With Aura And Migraine Without Aura Is Different From Each Other?

  • In migraine with aura (MwA), scotomas or scintillating scotomas wax and diminish in 20 to 40 minutes. Cortical Spreading Depression appears to be the cause of these visual auras.
  • Often Migraine without Aura (MwoA) is accompanied by mild blurring of vision.

Consequently, The marking of migraine strike as “with” or “without” aura may be somewhat random. It suspects that the intensity of the Cortical Spreading Depression and its associated visual disruptions may vary over a wide continuum, meaning that many attacks with minor blurring may be mislabeled. There are some similarities between MwA and MwoA. For instance, physiological deficits in habituation to pattern presentations are similar in MwA and MwoA.

Complicating the current classification of Migraineurs into people with aura and people without aura is the heterogeneous genetic underpinnings of Migraine. Many genetic paths lead to Migraines. However, it is unclear so far that the presence or absence of aura represents the best way to identify subgroups of Migraineurs. Therefore, Migraine with and Migraine without Aura may overlap significantly. The optimum way to categorize Migraineurs is likely to be much more complex than the presence or absence of aura.

What Is An Ocular Migraine?

Ocular migraine generally appears as a small blind spot that affects the central vision of one eye. As this blind spot gets bigger, it’s become impossible to drive safely or read with the affected eye for you. 

  1. It starts as a small hole in the vision then grows until it obscures the visual field.
  2. During this time there is a cortical depression or spreading taking place in the brain
  3. The brain is being flooded with sodium and serotonin.
  4. I have seen it referred to as a “rolling blackout” of electrical impulses in the brain.
  5. It can last between 20 and 30 minutes.

Can Anxiety Cause Scintillating Scotoma?

Can Anxiety Cause Scintillating Scotoma

Scotomas can also be caused by lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, stress, and anxiety.

Scintillating scotomas are frequently caused by cortical spreading depression, not panic. During a migraine, the pattern of behavior of nerves in the brain changes. 

Also read: how to overcome anxiety 

 What is Phosphene?

It is generally thought of as a luminosity perceived when non-luminal stimulation is applied to the retina, such as when the lid is closed and pressure is applied to it. The first and simplest hallucination, this “positive” phenomenon takes the form of a burst of stars, sparks, flashes, or simple geometric forms across the visual field quite commonly. Usually, these phosphenes are white but may have a brilliant color spectrum. They may number many hundreds and move rapidly back and forth across the visual field. One phosphene may occasionally dominate before disappearing suddenly, leaving a trail of dazzlement or blindness in its wake. Phosphenes may occupy half or one quadrant of the visual field, but there is often bilaterality, and crossed midlines are not uncommon.

Also read: how to get rid of stress 

International Headache Society (IHS) describes many types of migraine, although the two most common are headache with aura (classic migraine) and headache without aura. As a subcategory of the former, patients may occasionally suffer from migraine auras without headaches resulting from those auras.

Scotoma Diagnosis

Physical examinations are typically used to diagnose this disease’s initial stages. Physicians examine the eyes of sufferers and ask them about their symptoms. As well as any other eye conditions or procedures they may have recently undergone, they are asked.

This disorder can be detected through medical tests such as:

  • Amsler grid
  • Perimetry
  • Visual field test
  • Horizontal eccentricity

Scintillating Scotoma Treatment

 The proper treatment option is developed once the underlying cause of the condition has been identified. In some cases, treatment helps the spot – assuming that there has not been permanent damage to the eye. In other cases, Scotoma persists. To prevent further damage to the eye, it is essential to deal with the underlying cause.

Treatment is not necessary for scintillating scotomas. The blind spots typically resolve themselves within an hour of the scotoma.

Scotoma can only be treated with a few measures. Advanced research on neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to heal and develop throughout adulthood has, however, led to effective rehabilitation methods.

You may be prescribed treatment options if you experience scotomas often due to migraines or another underlying health condition. Options may include:

  • The use of antiepileptic medications can help treat neurological symptoms.
  • antidepressants, can maintain your serotonin levels to reduce migraine risk
  • beta-blockers, which can relax your blood vessels.

Anjali Ved

Anjali ved is an enthusiastic writer in the health & lifestyle-related niche. She has been writing various blogs and articles on medical niches. Apart from this, she also holds a degree in medicine and an experience of two years.

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