Posted 5/5/2008 4:28 PM (GMT -7)
I think a lot of us really can relate to that, so know that you're not alone. My normal behavior does sometimes resemble that of a drunkard, though without the merriment. Personally, cognitive aura and constant pain + heavy medication cause this effect in me, but I have, on occasion, had the blurry aura without pain, like you wrote about. I think that a lot of people (doctors and migraineurs alike) would be quick to "diagnose" your problems as "silent migraine" or something of the sort. Generally this means that you experience a migraine without the symptom of pain. However, although the problem you're having sounds somewhat like the more common visual type of aura that many migraine sufferers go through, your lack of other migraine-like symptoms makes me a little hesitant to jump to that conclusion.
As I understand things, visual aura is thought to be caused by constriction of blood vessels that are in or lead to the occipital lobe. The lack of blood flow (read: reduced O2) in that area of the brain causes disturbances in its functionality (vision). Now, when someone is experiencing a migraine, a significant imbalance of certain neurotransmitters and neuropeptides can be the cause of the fluctuation between blood vessel constriction (which occurs first in the migraine cycle and causes aura--the type of aura depends on where the blood flow has dropped). The next step in a traditional migraine is the homeostatic response (the drive in the other direction to attempt to correct the imbalance that ends up going to far) that causes supervasodilation and then pain. So, it seems like you just get stuck at the first step.
This could be partial neural and neurovascular overexcitation--a partial migraine if you will. Or it could be any number of other things that can alter the function of the occipital lobe. This could be something that blocks blood flow on the visual cortex, it could be localized neurotransmitter imbalances, it could even be an extracranial problem, at the level of the optic nerve, in the eye, or anywhere in between. Please remember, of course, that these ideas are just my own speculation based on the situation that you described. I am in no way a doctor, I simply have an undergraduate level understanding of biochemistry and neuroscience.
A good neurologist will know what to look for to figure out the problem that you are experiencing. This may involve regular neurological exams (of the "follow my finger with your eyes only" and "close your eyes and touch your nose with each hand" variety), closer optical examinations, blood tests, etc. From the very limited information that I have, I could imagine you being put on some sort of cardiovascular medication (like a beta or calcium channel blocker) or possibly an antidepressant of one type or another if your medical team feels that there is a neurochemical imbalance. Overall, as I said earlier, there are a ton of us that experience this kind of problem every day. Most of us have (often severe) pain accompanying the visual or other sensory distortions. In the large majority of these cases, there's really nothing to be worried about other than the way that the symptoms affect our lives. For example, I've had severe pain every second of every day for nearly six years with some aura-like symptoms and stuff like nausea. I've had all sorts of testing and we've found nothing unusual (other than the constant pain). So, if the symptoms disappeared one day, even though I'd likely still have something wrong with me that modern medicine is presently unable to understand, I would be fine then. I imagine (and hope) that this is the case with your condition--relieve the symptoms and you're home-free. So, with a fair degree of confidence I'll say, continue to see your medical specialists and you'll be feeling better in no time. And I'm sure that you make a great dad even if you take things a little slower for a while.
Best regards, and keep us updated!