Migraine aura anyone? Or does the cheese stand alone?

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Active member
Apr 5, 2017
Canada Ontario
I've had migraines since I was 10 and they always started off with the little flashing aura and then ended with a headache behind the eye and vomiting. Very frustrating as a kid, especially when you have a step mom who thinks you'e lying and won't help you. Needless to say, migraines are a topic that I don't discuss with people due to some pretty messed up childhood b.s. lol. Fast forward to the age of 34 and I hardly get them anymore. Maybe 1-2 a month and I can cure them quickly if I pop Ibprofen as soon as the aura shows. With that said, I'm a bit frightened that something may have happened during surgery to make things worse:( No joke, I'm getting these ocular migraines 2-5 times a day since surgery (November 14). I don' eat much at all, so I know it's not triggered by food. In a way I'm hoping I'm the only one as it would make me sad to think anyone else has to go through this, however, on the selfish side, I kinda hope somebody has experienced this too and can assure me that this period of cluster migraines doesn't last long.
LadyChicken;n880342 said:
I'm a bit frightened that something may have happened during surgery to make things worse:( No joke, I'm getting these ocular migraines 2-5 times a day since surgery (November 14). I don' eat much at all, so I know it's not triggered by food. In a way I'm hoping I'm the only one as it would make me sad to think anyone else has to go through this, however, on the selfish side, I kinda hope somebody has experienced this too and can assure me that this period of cluster migraines doesn't last long.
There seem to be quie a few of us get these migraine auras post surgery. The doctor on the cardiac ward told me they happen post cardiac surgery. I started getting them, the aura starting in middle of my vision spreading outwards, but no headache, the day after surgery. Also episodes of double vision and sparkles of light crossing my vision (not floaters). I still get all those things nearly four years since AVR. The auras and double vision are slightly less frequent now, just a couple of times a month, but the sparkles of light are daily. There's whole threads about this happeneing after surgery on the forum, do a search for visual disturbances.
I've been getting these painless optical migraines for about 20 years, starting long before my surgery. I used to get one or two per year. Since the surgery, I get one or two per month. As Paleowoman said, there are many similar anecdotes in the archives.

So they may not go away for you, but there's no reason to think that they will turn into the full type of migraine with headache.
I was very interested to hear others talk about ocular migraines. Like previous posters, I had migraines since adolescence. In my thirties they morphed to ocular migraines with only lights and jagged lines. Rarely got a headache at all. This occurred maybe once every 3 months. Had open aortic valve replacement about 4 years ago they have been occurring much more often and I frequently have a slight but bothersome headache for hours or a day after. Initially after surgery was having them almost every day or two. Now about every week or 10 days. Started baby asa at suggestion of neurologist and about that time they began to get less frequent. Also have noted that I have them frequently when I exercise and for that reason I have cut way back on exercise. I am 74 years old and was very proud of my ability to exercise strenuously. Still walking 3 to 4 miles a day but not as fast. I wonder if I should cut back further. All of my doctors (heart surgeon, cardiologist ) say they have never heard of such a thing. I have posted this two or three years ago but no reports from others. I wonder what caused this to occur and is there anything else to do about it. Never got any answers and have given up trying.
For me, it seems like bright lights can trigger these ocular migraines. Avoiding bright light when I'm having the ocular migraines usually helps to reduce the apparent severity.
Your doctors are probably content with the license that they got decades ago and aren't doing the right continuing medical education. You probably aren't the first to mention this to them, but they're probably not curious enough about them to confirm that yours isn't an isolated incident.
I've just started exercising. I'm not noticing any change in the frequency or duration of these events. If it was me, I probably wouldn't cut back on exercise just to avoid the occasional inconvenience of these ocular migraines -- avoiding the pain may be a different issue. You're probably benefitting considerably more from the exercise than you're potentially reducing your well being by NOT exercising.
When I get the ocular events, it seems to help, sometimes, if I have a piece of chocolate or a caffeinated drink. This may reduce the length of your events from 30 minutes down to a half hour (actually, it may stop the current event almost immediately).
I take an 81 mg aspirin at bedtime - this wasn't specifically to reduce the occurrence of migraines (I don't think I was aware of this theory) but, rather, to make my platelets a bit less sticky.
You can find the longer story in another chain, but in recap: For five years, starting the day after my surgery, I had all the problems described here: Auras throughout the day, vertigo, double vision, and odd bouts of brain fog and deja vu. All of it eventually diagnosed as complex migraines, caused by surgery.

Ultimately, it was resolved by Propranolol, 2x/day. This is commonly used to treat occular migraines, and it did wonders for me. It has the added benefit of being a betablocker, so helps keep the blood pressure down. I rarely have auras anymore, and if I do, they are short-lived. Give it a try.
In my case, I experienced them for several years, one to two a month. It would start with double vision, a bit of brain fog as workmonkey describes; then I'd go totally blind in one eye with what i can only describe as a white film that would block everything for a couple minutes. Then it would slowly open again. No pain. It sucked when it happened while I was driving.
Since my surgery a year and a bit ago, I haven't had one. I have no idea why but I'm thankful.
I have the same issue - ocular migraines starting the week of my surgery 4 years ago. Several times a week after surgery but now maybe one a month. If I take two Tylenol within 5 minutes of seeing the sparkles and visual aura, it goes away and I don’t get sick. If I don’t immediately take Tylenol, then I’m miserable.
A few years after my BAV surgery, my cardiologist told me there no longer a need to take Plavix. Within weeks I’d experience ocular migraines. I went back on Plavix (every other day)...no more ocular migraines.
Interesting. I take 81 mg aspirin at bedtime (aspirin and Plavix are, I think, both NSAIDS) but the aspirin has not reduced the frequency of my ocular migraines (at least, I'm still getting them)
Yep mine got worse after OH surgery. It doesn't even bother me any more. I will feel light headed just before then one of my eyes will go almost blind for a couple of minutes. Headaches have also got worse after surgery. Not sure if it is the warfaran or not. That was the only med that was prescribes post surgery that I didn't take for years. I'm thinking that it may be connected to being on bypass machine for hours during surgery.
Long term migraine sufferer, after my surgery I had multiple migraines a day for at least a week. Frequency dropped off after a couple of weeks back to 'normal'. However, after a couple of months I tried to exercise (previous to surgery I used to run marathons) and had very bad pain in the back of my eyes followed by terrible headaches......had to basically stop running. After eight years I cycle gently but if I have tried too hard a migraine ensues. I keep my pulse relatively low and avoid exercise induced migraine. They still occur for the 'old' reasons.
W. Carter - what you're describing, with vision almost gone in one eye, sounds like a reaction that I get (and I know two others with the same reaction) after taking Zyrtec. One eye goes 'blind', and many times the tongue gets numb, and I sometimes get numbness in the fingers of one hand.
After stopping Zyrtec, these symptoms went away.

If you're taking Zyrtec, STOP, and see if this problem clears up.
I have cut way back on exercise because of ocular migraines. I don't feel well after them. Others have mentioned brain fog which I had never heard of and I think that is what I get. I have not noticed any decrease in frequency since stopping all exercise. Still get them about once a week. I am on a low dose of beta blocker which I was on pre op. I did notice a slight decrease in frequency when I started low dose asa. Since most occurred while exercising outside and decreasing exercise did not help, I thought maybe bright sunlight, but wearing cap and sunglasses don't help. Last week when I had last one it occurred within 2 minutes of when I started my walk in sunlight. Some however occur inside but only very rarely at night. This has been a very frustrating problem for me.
It's a frustrating problem for many of us. For me, these are often triggered by bright light. My latest episode was a few hours ago, while walking to my car after seeing a doctor.

I was wishing that I had a chocolate bar with me - these sometimes help reduce the symptoms from 30 minutes all the way down to a half hour. (Actually, sometimes chocolate can stop them almost immediately). Caffeine sometimes helps, too.

I don't drive when these things flare up, but for me, the aura doesn't interrupt the visual field so much that I can't drive.

It would be nice if someone finds a common thread for cause and relief. But this is probably not on any serious medical research radar.
The last episode I had, I was sitting in living room drinking large glass of water about 30 min after a five mile bike ride on the beach and it was very hot. I just closed my eyes and fell asleep. Slept short time and when I awoke aura was gone and I felt ok. Unfortunately most of the time I am not in a place where I can do this. Will consider a cup of coffee also next time as suggested by protime. Also considering increasing beta blocker for a little while to see if this helps.