Scintillating Scotoma

Scintillating Scotoma is a visual phenomenon characterized by the presence of a flickering, shimmering, or flashing area of partial blindness in the visual field. This condition typically manifests as a jagged, zigzagging, or wavy line that gradually expands and moves across the field of vision.


Individuals experiencing scintillating scotoma may encounter the following symptoms:

  • Perception of an irregular, shimmering blind spot that obstructs part of the visual field.
  • Appearance of a dazzling or flashing light, often described as similar to the zigzag pattern.
  • Gradual expansion of the scotoma, moving from one side of the visual field to the other.
  • Temporary visual disturbances and difficulty focusing.
  • Headache or migraine accompanying the scintillating scotoma.


Scintillating Scotoma is commonly associated with:

  • Migraines: A significant number of people experiencing migraines also encounter scintillating scotoma before or during the headache phase.
  • Retinal or ocular conditions: Certain eye-related issues such as retinal detachment or vitreous detachment can result in scintillating scotoma.
  • Visual cortex disturbances: Disorders affecting the visual cortex, such as cortical spreading depression or other neurological conditions, might cause scintillating scotoma.


There is no specific treatment for scintillating scotoma as it generally resolves on its own once the underlying cause, such as a migraine, diminishes. However, individuals experiencing scintillating scotoma or related symptoms are advised to:

  • Find a quiet, dimly-lit environment to rest and wait for the visual disturbances to subside.
  • Apply a cold or warm compress to the head or neck area to alleviate associated pain or discomfort.
  • Seek medical attention if the scintillating scotoma is accompanied by severe headache, inability to speak or move, or any other unusual symptoms.
  • Take prescribed medications as advised by a healthcare professional to manage migraines or underlying conditions.