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"What are the wavy bright lights I see when I have a headache?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat are the wavy bright lights I see when I have a headache?


Sometimes, when I get a headache I see these wavy lines that seem to glow. They start out as a little spot and then turn into a sort of ring that expands outward. What does this mean? I'm in my early thirties and an otherwise healthy female.


This sounds a lot like a migraine headache! Migraine headaches are a particular type of headache that is generally characterized by pulsating pain, usually more prominent on one side of the head. The pain may also be associated with nausea and sensitivity to light. Furthermore, an "aura" with the headache, that classically would include wavy bright lights in front of the eyes, is very very common! I suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor. This is because many times migraines do require treatment. If you are having several of these headaches every month, then it might be necessary to start a "prophylactic medication" designed to decrease the frequency and severity of the headaches. This is a medication that you would take every day, regardless of whether or not you have headache. There are several prophylactic medications that are available, and most of them are quite safe and well tolerated. Your doctor will be able to confirm the diagnosis of migraine and help you design which prophylactic medication is right for you. Additionally, there are several medications that are used during a migraine to help control the symptoms, and your doctor will help you decide if you need one of these also.

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