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Keywords:

  • migraine;
  • headache;
  • visual aura;
  • scintillating zigzags

Background.—Episodes of typical scintillating zigzags similar to the visual aura of migraine may occur without headache, especially after the age of 50. There is no record of one individual's long-term experience.

Present Material.—This paper is a personal account of all 41 episodes of scintillating zigzags that occurred between the ages of 59 and 85. Observations were made on several aspects of the visual event itself—evolution, pattern, scotoma, coloration, duration, lateralization, etc. The chronological distribution of spells, circumstances of occurrence, time of day, the season, etc were noted. The study was observational in nature. Documentation of this experience could be of value clinically and scientifically.

Results.—The spells occurred irregularly, unrelated to season, time of day, activity at onset, diet, and temperamental state. The characteristic appearance was a flickering zigzag line that began centrally and migrated to the periphery. The display, which was stereotyped, was achromatic. The average duration was 15 minutes. Both visual fields were equally involved, never at the same time. The details of the scintillating zigzag line are actually complex and an account of the observations of others and of the author is included here.