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July 1981

Migrainous Visual Symptoms in a Woman Without Eyes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Charing Cross Hospital, London.

Arch Neurol. 1981;38(7):466. doi:10.1001/archneur.1981.00510070100024

A woman whose eyes were enucleated in early childhood had symptoms of classic migraine soon afterwards. The attacks included formed visual hallucinations and an apparent "hemianopsia," as well as disturbances of motor and sensory function, balance, memory, and speech. The development of these visual phenomena in this patient provides incontrovertible evidence that they could not originate in the retina.

REPORT OF A CASE  A 38-year-old left-handed woman had had both eyes removed at the age of 2 years because of bilateral retinoblastoma. She had been separated from her parents at birth, so no family history was available; however, the patient's daughter also has retinoblastoma.The patient recalled episodes of vomiting and headaches associated with loss of consciousness from the age of 8 years, and visual disturbance since age 9 years. The attacks gradually increased in frequency over the years and, by the time of referral, were occurring twice a week.

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