Posted 10/28/2009 9:34 PM (GMT -6)
feelinghelpless and others,
Visual auras happen for different reasons in different people and at different levels of severity. Some auras are related to migraines, some are considered a form of epilepsy. LdyJane above gives good advice: Whatever the cause, depending on the severity, frequency and problems they cause in your life, visual auras do not necessarily need to be treated or, if treated, entirely eliminated. Personally, I've been diagnosed with epilepsy, and my doctors treat my auras with meds becase my auras have occasionally been the trigger to more severe seizures (don't panic--that's just me). I still experience some auras--sometimes they last just a few seconds--but they're at a level where I'd rather live with them than increase my medications and suffer increased side effects (my doctors agree). Helpless: I'd be careful about just telling a neurologist exactly what medication you want your stepdaughter to be put on. First, he/she is going to want to do his own diagnosis (Palinopsia etiology might not be his explanation). Second, making choices between the various drugs you mention (all of which are sometimes used for seizures)--and there are more--can be very complex, and the side effects can be different for each individual. (The only one I'd comment on for sure is Tegretol, which is very effective but somewhat outdated, as its side effects are pretty strong (then again, I was on a helluva lot of it when I tried it years ago).) Also, he might even recommend that meds are not the right way to go. Finally--and I hope I'm not being presumptuous here--make sure to focus on the fears and needs of your stepdaughter, rather than your own fears. I know when I was her age, my dad found my auras to be a lot more frightening than I did. For me, the side effects of the medications changed my life more than the auras themselves did. So I had to find a balance between reducing the auras with meds and minimizing side effects. But this balance was something that my father couldn't simply find for me--these auras were a strange, mysterious thing for him, and, understandably, he just wanted them to go away! Hopefully, too, you will find a neurologist that will listen to her. Unfortunately, neurologists are a specialty not known for their people skills, so it may be difficult--and you do want someone smart, not just nice. If all you can find is someone smart, just make sure that your daughter always speaks her mind and insists that her subjective point of view be considered when decisions are made about her medication treatment, if that's the way it ends up going. Good luck!