Shore Eye Associates

Latest news and promotions from Shore Eye Associates with offices in Monmouth and Ocean County.

I'm seeing jagged lines in my vision, what is it?

Ocular Migraine

Have you ever seen a temporary black spot in your vision?  How about jagged white lines?  Something that looks like heat waves shimmering in your peripheral vision?

If you have, you may have been experiencing what is known as an ocular migraine. Ocular migraines occur when blood vessels spasm in the visual center of the brain (the occipital lobe) or the retina.

They can take on several different symptoms but typically last from a few minutes to an hour.  They can take on either positive or negative visual symptoms meaning they can produce what looks like a black blocked out area in your vision (negative symptom) or they can produce visual symptoms that you see but know aren’t really there like heat waves or jagged white lines that look almost like lightning streaks (positive symptoms).

Some people do get a headache after the visual symptoms but most people do not.  They get the visual symptoms which resolve on their own in under an hour and then generally just feel slightly out of sorts after the episode but don’t get a significant headache. The majority of episodes last about 20 minutes but can go on for an hour.  The hallmark of this problem is that once the visual phenomenon resolves the vision returns completely back to normal with no residual change or defect.

If you have this happen for the first time it can be fairly scary and it is a good idea to have a thorough eye exam by your ophthalmologist or optometrist soon after the episode to be sure there is nothing else causing the problem.

There are other things besides an ocular migraine that can cause similar symptoms.  Flashing lights and new floating spots in your vision could be the sign of a retinal tear or detachment (see I'm seeing new floating spots in my vision, what should I do?).


Many people who get ocular migraines tend to have them occur in clusters.  They will get three or four episodes within a week and then may not have another one for several months or even years.

There are some characteristics that raise your risk for ocular migraines.  The biggest one is a personal history of having migraine headaches.  Having a family history of migraines also raises your risk as does a history of motion sickness.

Although the symptoms can cause a great deal of anxiety, especially on the first occurrence, ocular migraines rarely cause any long term problems and almost never require treatment as long as they are not accompanied by significant headaches.

So if symptoms like this suddenly occur in your vision try to remain calm, pull over if you are driving, and just wait for them to go away.  If they persist for longer than an hour, then you should seek immediate medical attention. For more on Ocular Migraine click on the video below.
View Video
I've been told there is blood in the back of my ey...
Every red eye is not "pink eye"

Comments 61

 
Guest - Maria on Tuesday, 10 March 2020 00:32
Zigzag

Hi ,I’ve just had an attack of the zigzag vision but it’s wasn’t my first experience and it is scary but I was glad to read other comment about the complaint.It might help in saying I think I have been a little dehydrated so I went and had two glasses of water !!!and it went away it lasted about 10 minutes and I don’t really know if it was going to go anyway and that was just a coincidence but it slowly just left you sight .Anything is worth a try ,I did have migraines when I was younger with the vision on one side of my eyes was completely blocked out ,not a nice experience,my neck and head feel a little thick just now but no bad headache.Well I hope this email helps some people out

Hi ,I’ve just had an attack of the zigzag vision but it’s wasn’t my first experience and it is scary but I was glad to read other comment about the complaint.It might help in saying I think I have been a little dehydrated so I went and had two glasses of water !!!and it went away it lasted about 10 minutes and I don’t really know if it was going to go anyway and that was just a coincidence but it slowly just left you sight .Anything is worth a try ,I did have migraines when I was younger with the vision on one side of my eyes was completely blocked out ,not a nice experience,my neck and head feel a little thick just now but no bad headache.Well I hope this email helps some people out
Guest - Sam on Friday, 17 April 2020 20:40
First Time

Hi
I experienced this for the first time about an hour ago. I was just at the Ophthalmologist 3 weeks ago and was given a clean bill of health. I also did not get a headache. I am wondering if it had anything to do with my new glasses? Very weird feeling to say the least....

Hi I experienced this for the first time about an hour ago. I was just at the Ophthalmologist 3 weeks ago and was given a clean bill of health. I also did not get a headache. I am wondering if it had anything to do with my new glasses? Very weird feeling to say the least....
Dr. Wnorowski on Friday, 17 April 2020 21:11
first time

Not likely to be at all related to your new glasses.

Not likely to be at all related to your new glasses.
Guest - Ap on Sunday, 04 October 2020 16:38
Waves in peripheral vision

I experienced this for first time, it started as a wave at peripheral vision and lasted for few seconds
The frequency of these episodes is 3-4 tines a day.

I experienced this for first time, it started as a wave at peripheral vision and lasted for few seconds The frequency of these episodes is 3-4 tines a day.
Guest - Kenda on Wednesday, 28 October 2020 11:33
Thanks for this

Thank you for this informative page. This morning I woke up and within an hour, I had zigzag lines that were bright in the edges of my vision and what looked kinda of hazy, what you refer to as the heatwave. That is what it was. Kinda like the blurred part you see on the highway when it is super hot outside. Anyway, I was in a panic. I have gotten cluster headaches, and migraines without auras, but cause me to get really sick. I was on Emgality and recently stopped it because it raised my BP really, really high. As a trasplant patient , that is not a good thing... so we stopped it. This is the first time I have had this thing with the zig zags. I don't feel as worried now. I can work on getting to my eye doctor and know how to describe it and what it appears to be.

Thank you for this informative page. This morning I woke up and within an hour, I had zigzag lines that were bright in the edges of my vision and what looked kinda of hazy, what you refer to as the heatwave. That is what it was. Kinda like the blurred part you see on the highway when it is super hot outside. Anyway, I was in a panic. I have gotten cluster headaches, and migraines without auras, but cause me to get really sick. I was on Emgality and recently stopped it because it raised my BP really, really high. As a trasplant patient , that is not a good thing... so we stopped it. This is the first time I have had this thing with the zig zags. I don't feel as worried now. I can work on getting to my eye doctor and know how to describe it and what it appears to be.
Guest - Jillian G on Monday, 18 January 2021 20:45
Thank you for this advice

I have experienced this twice in two days. I do have migraines and have had them for around 20 years but I have never had effects to my vision. I was really scarred when it happened but it passed after about 15 mins and I had a slight headache (like a heaviness on the top of my head) and nausea afterwards. This article has calmed me down though as I was in a panic wondering what it could be. Thank you.

I have experienced this twice in two days. I do have migraines and have had them for around 20 years but I have never had effects to my vision. I was really scarred when it happened but it passed after about 15 mins and I had a slight headache (like a heaviness on the top of my head) and nausea afterwards. This article has calmed me down though as I was in a panic wondering what it could be. Thank you.
Guest - phil on Friday, 22 January 2021 15:59
Excellent simple and reassuiring explantion for my 1st episode

Excellent simple and reassuiring explantion for my 1st episode. Video was particularly useful. Thank you

Excellent simple and reassuiring explantion for my 1st episode. Video was particularly useful. Thank you
Guest - Annette Thompson on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 20:52
Strange Wavy Thingie

Recently, I have been taking walks outside when it is pretty cold - like below 30. When I first come back into the house, along the bottom of my eye sight, it is sort of like wavy lines. It goes away in about 5-10 min. depending on how cold it was outside. The colder it was, the longer it takes for them to go away.

I have ocular migraines several times a year, which can lead to a dull headache for a day or so (sometimes I have another event the second day). But this isn't like that, and it is definitely triggered by the cold air then back into the warm house. Anything to be worried about? Thanks.

Recently, I have been taking walks outside when it is pretty cold - like below 30. When I first come back into the house, along the bottom of my eye sight, it is sort of like wavy lines. It goes away in about 5-10 min. depending on how cold it was outside. The colder it was, the longer it takes for them to go away. I have ocular migraines several times a year, which can lead to a dull headache for a day or so (sometimes I have another event the second day). But this isn't like that, and it is definitely triggered by the cold air then back into the warm house. Anything to be worried about? Thanks.
Dr. Wnorowski on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 23:29
Cold

Doesn't sound like anything to worry about as long as the issue completely goes away every time

Doesn't sound like anything to worry about as long as the issue completely goes away every time
Guest - Brittany on Saturday, 06 March 2021 06:02
Question about possible similar issues

I know this is an older post but I need some help. Sometimes, a few times a day, I see a faint white line next to openings of doorways and above stairway railings. If I do a double take it instantly goes away but if I don't pay attention to it I can see it for a while. I do have some dark spots on the back of my eye but was told it shouldn't change anything. Maybe they're wrong but it's not really something I want to be seeing. Scared it'll happen while I'm driving or something.

I know this is an older post but I need some help. Sometimes, a few times a day, I see a faint white line next to openings of doorways and above stairway railings. If I do a double take it instantly goes away but if I don't pay attention to it I can see it for a while. I do have some dark spots on the back of my eye but was told it shouldn't change anything. Maybe they're wrong but it's not really something I want to be seeing. Scared it'll happen while I'm driving or something.
Dr. Wnorowski on Saturday, 06 March 2021 16:24
White line

Doesn't sound like it's anything to worry about. If you've had your retina looked at and there wasn't anything significant there just try to ignore it.

Doesn't sound like it's anything to worry about. If you've had your retina looked at and there wasn't anything significant there just try to ignore it.
Guest - Alice on Thursday, 25 March 2021 13:15
post lazer treatment

I'm experiencing this, for the second time in as many days. Two weeks ago, I had lazer treatment to both eyes (fluid wasn't draining away). Is this experience purely co-incidental, do you feel, could it be connected, should I make contact with the hospital. Thank you, Doctor, for your explannation - calmed me down no end! x x

I'm experiencing this, for the second time in as many days. Two weeks ago, I had lazer treatment to both eyes (fluid wasn't draining away). Is this experience purely co-incidental, do you feel, could it be connected, should I make contact with the hospital. Thank you, Doctor, for your explannation - calmed me down no end! x x
Dr. Wnorowski on Friday, 26 March 2021 15:14
laser

probably just coincidence

probably just coincidence
Guest - Danielle on Monday, 10 May 2021 10:53
2nd Time, little Different

Wow! Awesome information! I cannot commend you enough Dr. Wnorowski for taking the time to read & respond to everyone’s posts! As you can see, even just a one sentence response can save a ton of stress & anxiety. Here’s my “quick question” if you get a chance to respond! So about a month ago I was working (from home, on the computer) when all the sudden what looked like a bright area appeared in my direct vision (not peripheral), almost as I’d id been staring at a bright light for too long, or came into a dark room after experiencing very brought sunlight & it was just imprinted there with my eyes open, one eye open, or both closed. It was extremely frustrating, as it made it so hard to read anything up close - lasted about 30 minutes, no changes, just went away. Then mor recently, 2 days ago, I was printing photos from my cell phone, when all the sudden I was unable to to read the instructions on the photo paper box because I had this streak of..”bluriness?” I guess it the only way to describe it? Similar to the episode with the bright light, there was an area of direct sight where it was just a squiggly line of blurred vision. In a frustrated attempt to look at anything & have this disappear, I looked outside, through a screen door, & shape became very apparent & the screen blurred in that one squiggly line spot. Again, it lasted 20, maybe 30 mins? No changes, just resolved on it’s owns. In addition to these 2 episodes, I’ve also had a handful of instances in the last few months where I began to see “stars” (like camera flashes) in my peripheral vision & the only reason I’ve really paid attention to it is because it’s been happening upon no exertion. Not when changing positions, just randomly, like sitting & eating dinner! None of the episodes I’ve described produce any sort of headache or pain, either before nor after. I do have high blood pressure (controlled w/medication) & get “regular-type” migraines frequently. So I’m wondering if there could be a correlation in my symptoms? Or a correlation with already getting migraines? Planning to call the Ophthalmologist this AM, how hard should I push to get seen ASAP? If at all? I apologize in advance that this post is long & thank you for taking the time to read!

Wow! Awesome information! I cannot commend you enough Dr. Wnorowski for taking the time to read & respond to everyone’s posts! As you can see, even just a one sentence response can save a ton of stress & anxiety. Here’s my “quick question” if you get a chance to respond! So about a month ago I was working (from home, on the computer) when all the sudden what looked like a bright area appeared in my direct vision (not peripheral), almost as I’d id been staring at a bright light for too long, or came into a dark room after experiencing very brought sunlight & it was just imprinted there with my eyes open, one eye open, or both closed. It was extremely frustrating, as it made it so hard to read anything up close - lasted about 30 minutes, no changes, just went away. Then mor recently, 2 days ago, I was printing photos from my cell phone, when all the sudden I was unable to to read the instructions on the photo paper box because I had this streak of..”bluriness?” I guess it the only way to describe it? Similar to the episode with the bright light, there was an area of direct sight where it was just a squiggly line of blurred vision. In a frustrated attempt to look at anything & have this disappear, I looked outside, through a screen door, & shape became very apparent & the screen blurred in that one squiggly line spot. Again, it lasted 20, maybe 30 mins? No changes, just resolved on it’s owns. In addition to these 2 episodes, I’ve also had a handful of instances in the last few months where I began to see “stars” (like camera flashes) in my peripheral vision & the only reason I’ve really paid attention to it is because it’s been happening upon no exertion. Not when changing positions, just randomly, like sitting & eating dinner! None of the episodes I’ve described produce any sort of headache or pain, either before nor after. I do have high blood pressure (controlled w/medication) & get “regular-type” migraines frequently. So I’m wondering if there could be a correlation in my symptoms? Or a correlation with already getting migraines? Planning to call the Ophthalmologist this AM, how hard should I push to get seen ASAP? If at all? I apologize in advance that this post is long & thank you for taking the time to read!
Dr. Wnorowski on Monday, 10 May 2021 14:03
2nd time

Doth "kinds" of your episodes sound like an ocular migraine. These happen more frequently in people with a history of migraine headaches. If you haven't had an eye exam in a while probably a good idea to have one but don't think you need to press to get it dome immediately.

Doth "kinds" of your episodes sound like an ocular migraine. These happen more frequently in people with a history of migraine headaches. If you haven't had an eye exam in a while probably a good idea to have one but don't think you need to press to get it dome immediately.
Guest - Danielle on Tuesday, 11 May 2021 17:02
Thank you!

Yep, I was thinking the same, coming up on 2 year mark, so time to go regardless! Very much appreciate you taking the time to read & respond, thank you!

Yep, I was thinking the same, coming up on 2 year mark, so time to go regardless! Very much appreciate you taking the time to read & respond, thank you!
Guest - Mel on Monday, 24 May 2021 13:36
Misdiagnosis

I now know that I have ocular migraines and not complex partial seizures.

Thank you

I now know that I have ocular migraines and not complex partial seizures. Thank you
Guest - Guest 501 on Friday, 23 July 2021 13:31
I know I'm a bit late to this conversation. But this has some similarities to VSS. Visual Snow Syndrome

I was diagnosed with VSS in 2017, had it since 2015/16. I've been to & talked with doctors from throughout the country about that to no avail. And I've done a lot of research over the years in an effort to find a cure for that. Anyways there's a couple connections here, I experience positive visual symptoms listed here with the jagged/waves that are clear shaky disturbances, sometimes clear or with a hint of yellow to it. This happens maybe about twice a year to me, but its so intense to the point where I have to immediately stop what I'm doing for the duration because it takes up such a large portion of my vision (usually the right side of my vision).

The lines that I see from VSS, the flashes, the large stars when I occasionally sneeze, I would describe to be extremely similar to some of this (disturbances, clear & or yellow lines, possible migraine/headache). The only main difference is one is temporary, the other is permanent & never goes away.

The other similarity I should mention, with VSS, for me it gets twice as bad if I close one eye and keep the other open, or I can still see it all with both eyes closed. Once again, similar to the positive vision disturbances here.

I was diagnosed with VSS in 2017, had it since 2015/16. I've been to & talked with doctors from throughout the country about that to no avail. And I've done a lot of research over the years in an effort to find a cure for that. Anyways there's a couple connections here, I experience positive visual symptoms listed here with the jagged/waves that are clear shaky disturbances, sometimes clear or with a hint of yellow to it. This happens maybe about twice a year to me, but its so intense to the point where I have to immediately stop what I'm doing for the duration because it takes up such a large portion of my vision (usually the right side of my vision). The lines that I see from VSS, the flashes, the large stars when I occasionally sneeze, I would describe to be extremely similar to some of this (disturbances, clear & or yellow lines, possible migraine/headache). The only main difference is one is temporary, the other is permanent & never goes away. The other similarity I should mention, with VSS, for me it gets twice as bad if I close one eye and keep the other open, or I can still see it all with both eyes closed. Once again, similar to the positive vision disturbances here.
Guest - Michelle on Saturday, 21 August 2021 04:48
Recent Vision disturbance

I googled this as I just finished having a first experience with it. I also get sensory and normal migraines, and have diagnosed cervical spondylosis, which I recently noticed is causing me dizzy spells a feeling of danger threat as if at any second life could snap out of me , usually whenever my neck happens to be in a certain position .
Hard to pinpoint exactly the angle, it is infrequent so I’m concerned it might be a pinched nerve at the base of my skull. Where I often get most of my headaches.

I googled this as I just finished having a first experience with it. I also get sensory and normal migraines, and have diagnosed cervical spondylosis, which I recently noticed is causing me dizzy spells a feeling of danger threat as if at any second life could snap out of me , usually whenever my neck happens to be in a certain position . Hard to pinpoint exactly the angle, it is infrequent so I’m concerned it might be a pinched nerve at the base of my skull. Where I often get most of my headaches.
Guest - Joe on Saturday, 28 August 2021 15:57
My experience

This has been happening to me on and off for years now.
They generally last anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
I've seen and optometrist, ophthalmologist and even a retina specialist.
After the exam, the retina specialist said my eyes were fine and whatever is causing it is happening in my brain.
Mine typically happen when I experience rapid changes in light contrast, like when waking up in the morning and looking out the window
or glare on my computer, phone, TV or some other shiny object. I don't get headaches or any other sensitivity issues.
They seem to occur more frequently if I don't get enough sleep or staring at the screen too long.

This has been happening to me on and off for years now. They generally last anywhere from 20-30 minutes. I've seen and optometrist, ophthalmologist and even a retina specialist. After the exam, the retina specialist said my eyes were fine and whatever is causing it is happening in my brain. Mine typically happen when I experience rapid changes in light contrast, like when waking up in the morning and looking out the window or glare on my computer, phone, TV or some other shiny object. I don't get headaches or any other sensitivity issues. They seem to occur more frequently if I don't get enough sleep or staring at the screen too long.
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Sunday, 17 October 2021

Captcha Image