When I was a small child, I thought I was performing magic whenever these migraine-auras developed, and I would ask my younger brother if he wanted to see a magic trick. I'd have him close and open his eyes, and I'd say something like, "Viola! Do you see how colorful they are?" He never could. I soon realized that the people around me weren't seeing these blotches of colors (scotoma-blind spots), flashing lights (scintilla migraines), and striking zig-zags (fortification spectra) as I was, and these seemingly "thrilling" light shows were followed by intense pain in my head. It stopped being fun. I was eventually diagnosed with migraines.

As a migraine sufferer since I was a child (now an adult in my early 30's), I have always wondered what migraine auras are exactly. They often accompany my migraines, but not always.

What triggers migraine auras to develop in some migraine episodes, but not others?

What is exactly happening to the field of vision when migraine-auras occur? Is it actually obstructed or is it more of an illusion (like bordering the line of hallucinations)?


1 Answer 1


Migraine auras are in a way similar to epileptic seizures; the most-accepted theory is they're caused by a depression of cortical neurons that spreads throughout the cortex during the attack.

Cortical Spreading Depression

Migraine Aura Pathophysology

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