Constant migraines, hospital trip and referral from optician

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I’ve been having migraines now for four weeks - I’m 27 years old. Initially was having them every day, but last two weeks has been every two days. I have a four month old baby so finding it hard. 

I get the aura and then the pain, although last few attacks, the pain has been considerably less. Maybe due to taking sumatriptan and beta blockers (as GP put me on these to help control the migraines). A few weeks ago I was rushed into hospital and was in resus for five hours. I had a migraine which was so painful, my body decided to rest what it didn’t need. So I forgot who my husband and son were, was unconscious a lot of the time and couldn’t speak. The doctors rushed me into a CT scan (to check for bleed on brain) and gave me a lumbar puncture (to check for meningitis). All came back clear. They were even getting ready to send me to the neurosurgeons at a larger hospital close by. Once tests came back clear, they discharged me. I went to GP following the hospital trip, where he gave me the beta blockers and sumatriptan to help the migraines. 

I decided to go to the opticians to check whether I needed stronger lenses (I wear glasses and contact lenses daily). It only increased a little. The optician shone the light in my eyes and found swelling at the back of my left eye. She wrote a letter to my GP asking whether I needed a referral to an opthomologist. GP said she should have referred me straight there. He sent the letter on to the opthomologists. 

So I’m now waiting for this appointment with the opthomologist. But I’m so worried. Has anyone had anything similar? Or know what could be wrong? 

I’ve been having difficulty reading since the migraines, but not sure if that’s due to the migraine hangover effect, which I’m constantly getting due to the regularity of them. My eyes have also felt like they’re going crossed eye but I can’t control it and the room spins. Only lasts a minute or two though. 

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you. 

1 like, 15 replies

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi. There are different potential causes of such an eye swelling and clearly needs an expert opinion. I hope you have been given a speedy follow up because clearly you are feeling quite unwell. But I would say if your symptoms continue to take a trip back to a and e or ...even better...if you have an eye casualty unit close by go there. I live in London so know of 2 really good eye casualty centres at St Thomas's and Moorfields. Not knowing where you are in the world I have no idea if you have such a facility nearby but I would check that out. Best of luck.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Margaret. My GP sent the letter to the specialist last Wednesday, I haven’t heard anything yet. I’ve booked to see my GP again tomorrow as the migraines suddenly got worse again over the weekend. I live in South Wales, UK not far from Cardiff. So will have to look into an eye casualty unit. Hopefully they have one around here. 
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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Yes your GP was right the optician should have done the referal directly as this would have saved time waiting to see the specialist.

    Sounds like you really need an MRI scan, this will be much more detailed and will show up more. 

    This swelling at the back of your eye could be whats causing the migraines, or it coulld be something else going on.

    I think you need to go back to your GP and not only get him to speed up your referal, but you should also see a neurologist as well and get this MRI scan.

    This is my suggestion as all the symptoms you have they are not normal really.

    Do let us know how you get on and good luck.

    Take care and best wishes

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    • Posted

      That’s quite annoying that the optician didn’t do it directly then. I didn’t realise it would have made the process quicker. The GP sent the opticians letter onto the specialist last Wednesday. I haven’t yet heard anything so goodness knows how long it will take. My migraines were worse over the weekend so booked to see GP again tomorrow. 

      Can the GP refer me to the neurologist and MRI if I ask him? 

      Thanks for your help. I’ll keep you updated. 

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Yes, your GP can refer you to a neurologist and MRI and bearing in mind what you have been through, he should!  Its a good idea to be persistant about it though and say it will really put your mind at rest and reduce your worrying too much.  Sometimes with drs you have to nag a bit, I have had to become quite skilled at it as they dont always take us migraine sufferers seriously.

      Good luck and yes keep us posted,

      Take care and best wishes

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    • Posted

      Ok great, I’ll get on to him tomorrow about referring me. It really is getting me down and I get quite upset about it - the worry about what’s causing the migraines as well as the fact I’m in bed most days because of the pain. Not much of a life, especially when I’m meant to be enjoying maternity leave. Thank you again, will keep you posted. 
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  • Posted

    Your hospital visit must have been terrible(but if you are ever unsure, go in, thats why they are there)...I am so sorry you have these problems(it sounds like your Migraine caused a lot of terrible symptoms...did you have an anxiety attack?It sounds similar to that too....I lost my vision twice (from Migraines)and it triggered an anxiety attack, my blood pressure went high, my husband called an ambulance...all NEW I thought I was REALLY BAD, the doctor (who knows me)was worried too....turns out MORE Migraine issues(I felt like an idiot, but Dr. said even HE wasnt sure)I have an idea what youre going through.It sounds like your eye issue may be optical neuritis, fancy for inflammed eye(optical) nerve(in addition to or causing)your migraines(only your eye doctor can know for sure)....take the triptan meds as soon as you feel symptoms, it can prevent it from progressing...has your doctor talked about TRIGGERS? If you can find a CAUSE(S), it can really help....if you can fall asleep once a Migraine starts(avoid smells, lights,sounds,it can actually get it to go away)stress, lack of sleep, bright lights(esp. new style light bulbs or flourescents...they flash/pulse & can cause migraines) certain foods, dehydration(water is best as caffeine makes you pee lots making dehydration worse and even though there is caffeine in some migraine meds, quitting, cutting back, or too much can cause headaches)...its a good idea to journal and see if theres anything in your diet, lifestyle, environment that could be triggers. Be sure to get into your eye doctor, it is IMPORTANT....you need to be sure its not an eye issue & why theres swelling....I have eye issues from Migraines too like hard to focus, bluriness & I also have the HANGOVER for a few days...the spinning sounds like vertigo(you arent moving but the room is and its not black dots like passing out) it has many causes lots not bad but be sure to tell eye doctor ALL your symptoms...have you tried heat or cold on the side of your head in pain? Be careful not to fall asleep w/heating pad on(to avoid burns) or ice packs(dont use them directly on your eye) gel ice packs from the fridge are lifesavers for me...also if you get bad nausea there are meds for that...I wish I could be more helpful, feel free to message me ANYTIME...Good Luck at eye appt. Best Wishes hope you get some answers

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    • Posted

      Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. My hospital visit was awful, particularly for my husband. He broke down in tears a few times as docs didn’t know what was wrong and were treating it quite serious. I don’t think I had a anxiety attack, although could be possible. Definitely sounds like you went through something similar to me! 

      I’ve put an update below since my docs appointment this morning if you want to read that smile quite concerned it’s going to take three months for the eye specialist appointment.  

      I do take the sumatriptan and paracetamol as soon as I get the visual disturbances. This sometimes helps, although over the weekend didn’t help as much as before. 

      I find that cheese makes migraines worse, although not necessarily THE trigger.  

      Definitely sounds like vertigo, because I’ve had fainting spells before and it wasn’t like that. With the fainting I get black outs in my vision, but with these, the room was spinning and my eyes were going cross-eyed, or so it felt. 

      What is your experience with migraines? How do you deal and cope with your migraines? 

      Thank you so much for your help! 

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    • Posted

      I'm 13, have had migraines for as long as I remember, have had chronic pain and sleep issues since last year. I take Betablockers and have tried Migraleve and Pizotifen. I take 4 Betablockers and Amitriptyline for sleep. I also take Vitamin D tablets. Have you had the bloodtests? Sorry if I'm asking questions that have already been answer, I 'm a scatterbrain. I had a brief period of Vertigo and I get eye disturbances when I have a migraine. Good Luck

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  • Posted

    Hi All, an update from my docs appointment this morning....

    I asked for an MRI, but apparently, according to the GP, it’s the same as a CT scan, which I had about a month ago. Is this true? 

    He’s doubled my beta blockers, so now on two in the morning and two at night. Not what I wanted to be honest, as with painkillers and migraine tablet sumatriptan, I’m taking nearly 10 tablets a day! 

    Eye specialist appointment could take up to three months he said. He doesn’t really seem that concerned to be honest - don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing. So seeing him again now on the 11th April. I hate that it feels almost like I’m making a fuss of nothing, or so it seems he thinks!

    Don’t know what to do now.....

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      First of all an MRI is not the same as a CT scan.  I found this from the internet below.

      Unlike CT scans, which use X-rays, MRI scans use powerful magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and other internal body structures. Differences between normal and abnormal tissue is often clearer on an MRI image than a CT.

      Drs often dont care about headaches, they try to fob you off and make it seem trivial.  You are NOT making a fuss about nothing, remember you was really ill not so long ago.

      If you get no where with this dr insist on seeing another one.

      Good luck and let us know how you get on

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    • Posted

      It seems he is trying to fob me off with tablets. He said he suffers from migraines himself, but not everyone’s experience is the same as his. 

      Thank you for the description of CT vs MRI. Clearly they are different and it’s worth me having an MRI. It’s terrible as we are meant to trust doctors. 

      I’m thinking of paying for a private consultation. I’ve heard that you can do this and then chose to have any treatment following this consultation back with the NHS. Is this true do you know? 

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    • Posted

      Yes that is true you can pay for a private consultation but I'd be careful where I went with that. Are you talking about an eye consultation?? I also would say if you are in the uk which I think you might be, there should be a triage system with a local optician who can review your eyes and see if there is anything more serious going on. That is a system which was introduced a while ago to prevent too many people turning up at a and e when it was something minor. I have used this facility a couple of times instead of going to eye hospital ( I have suffered from uveitis in the past so have to be careful of eye changes). 

      And I have to say, I understand why people talk about triggers in migraine, but all migraines don't have the same causes. I was plagued with them with vertigo and very extreme aura and it turned out - after going round different sorts of speciaslists who had no answers - that I have a form of vasculitis and that's what caused the migraine. Cutting out caffeine, sugar whatever, doesn't affect that. The root cause is inflammation. Getting my illness diagnosed and controlling it sorted it out. I am not saying that's what you have. I really don't know what is causing your migraine. But I think that getting the eye problem seen to is important and you may find it is linked to that. I would want to start there and would want to be seen more urgently than that. Again I'm not saying you have anything to majorly worry about but I don't like to hear of anyone waiting too long with troubling eye symptoms. If you did the triage system I suggested, or even had a routine eye examination, they could refer you on more quickly if there was anything to be concerned about. 

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Yes, you can still have treatment on the NHS while seeeing private consultant.  But do check as not or Neurologists are the same either.  Some are specialists in headaches.  I go to the National Neurological Hosptial in London and see a specialist there and he is dedicated to dealing with headache/migraine sufferers.  You can tell him about your history and he will certainly offer an MRI with contrast I imagine to check all over in detail.

      If you wanted his secretary's number I can private message you to let you have it, dont like give numbers out on here.

      Yes you should be able to trust drs, but as you have said they do try and fob you off sometimes.

      Best wishes

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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I live in UK. I saw neurologist privately as waiting list in my area was (south west) 22 weeks.She diagnosed migraine without aura . She prescribed 400mg B2 daily plus Atenolol. She gave me no guidance as to how to manage the pain which I have every day, apart from the number of days you can safely take the pain killers (Ibuprofen, etc). I ended up taking Triptans everyday. Now I am on detox through overuse. I am really disappointed with the neurologist. Yes you are entitled to have NHS treatment if you have private treatment initially.

    Good luck with it.

    Chris

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