Last night while I was reading, my eyesight began changing..It was like I couldn't see the first letter of the words I was reading and when I looked away it looked like I couldn't see completely out of my eyes, like when you look directly at a bright light and then look away and your vision is affected. The whole episode lasted about 20 minutes and I went to ER. They didn't find any vessel damage behind my eyes, but my blood pressure was severely elevated. They did a CAT scan of brain and blood work and couldn't find any signs of a stroke, but my question is... do TIAs always show up in tests and exams?
It sounds like you may have had what they call an "ophthalmologic migraine"!
This is indeed an actual migraine headache but it manifests itself with visual disturbances only and no pain.
I've had this happen to me several times.. It really alarmed me too.
Mine was exactly as you descibed: It was as if I had looked at a bright light or into the sun and had the "after-effects" of it for about 1/2 hour. Like a little blind spot right in my field of vision.
If this was your only symptom I would not be too concerned.
The doctors at the hospital sound like they acted appropriately. I assume they took a detailed patient history from you and performed a neuro exam.
They were extra vigilent in sending you for a CT scan. In most cases this, in theory, would have shown if you'd had a mini-stroke.
TIAs usually present with more than just a visual issue. More often they are accompanied by anything from a sensation of numbness and heaviness in a limb to a temporary inability to move one side of the body. They can also affect the face and cause difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or making facial expressions. If a TIA affects the retinal vasculature, the doctor would probably have seen this when he examined your eyes.
I am not surprised your BP was slightly elevated. You were SCARED!
Sounds like a "migraine aura" to me. After a while one begins to recognize it and take quick action to avert the headache. I'm surprised you didn;t get a cracking headache within 15 minutes.
But you were right to seek immediate medical attention since it was new to you and because of the similarity to stroke symptoms where every MOMENT is of the essense.
You two are deadly accurate. I had this once to and it scared the heck out of me. My eyes actually went what seemed a little crosseyed, and it felt funny and strange. I lowered my head and covered my eyes and within several minutes it went away.
I went to an eye specialist who checked the retina, optic nerve, lenz and everything else and he said it was in excellent condition. He said I had a jump in BP more than likely and called it a "eye migraine". He said that it is "in the eye" as opposed to the head.
Thanks for your comments...they were a big help. I am taking my bp medicine on the clock and I'm making an appointment for a cardiologist this week. Now that you mention it, I have been taking an antibiotic for a sinus infection and have had a mild but annoying aching around my eyes the last two weeks. Who knows, maybe the high bp was causing the eye aches or maybe the sinus infection. It's so hard to say...I've also been experiencing some aching in my left arm now and then and this has been going to for months. It's never accompanied by pain in my chest though. It seems to be more noticeable when my blood pressure is in a controlled state???!!