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How Long Do Visual Auras Last?

Tracing the anomalous phenomena of visual auras will be helpful in determining the level of care that an individual requires. The visual aura is a neurologic deficit. Visual aura comes before the occurrence of a seizure but not as a symptom or medical condition. There are different terms that the doctors can associate a specific visual aura. When used in the right circumstances, it is possible to find and understand the occurrence of the seizure or the presence of visual deficits in one or both the eyes.

Before the occurrence of a seizure, people can experience aura as visual, sensory, verbal, and motor. However, visual auras are common and have a higher rate of occurrence before a seizure attack. The visual aura is a chemical or electrical wave that moves through the visual cortex in the brain. During an MRI inspection, the yellow and red colors indicate the activation of the visual cortex. As the activation spreads during the aura, it acts as a symptom, and the individual loses visual function.

The commonly occurring visual aura is fortification spectrum. The pattern of the occurrence resembles the wall of a medieval fort. It begins as a small bowl of light and turns into bright geometric lines. It can further expand into objects in the form of sickle or C shapes. Visual auras do not cover the same for every individual.

How Long Do Visual Auras Last?

As the occurrence is different from one person to another, the visual aura, in some cases, accompanied by partial loss of vision can last anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes. The partial loss of vision is scotoma.

Visual auras or scotoma does not occur as blurred vision. The visual aura can be transient or long-standing disturbance experienced by the individual during a migraine attack or before entering the seizure stage. The disturbances origin is from occipital cortex. Many of the patients describe the presentation in a simple word as a blur.

However, it has numerous connotative meanings – positive or negative. Additionally, it can alter the actual visual appearance of the individual. For example, it makes things appear larger than original.

The transient auras last for a few seconds while the long-standing auras, in a few situations, can continue even for months. Furthermore, in these conditions, the individual also suffers from headaches and other types of auras such as numbness, aphasia, vertigo, and tingling.

Who Gets An Aura?

Any individual suffering from a migraine, both an adult and child, can experience an aura. The occurrence can be rare, occasional, or frequent. It is possible for the existence of the visual aura to be present without a headache. The statement is true for those with a recurrent migraine or seizures.

Consulting a doctor

Although it can be frightening at times, visual aura comes and goes without any side effects. However, if the individual is experiencing a continuation in the visual aura for more than an hour, or shows repeated episodes within a short time, then it is preferable to consult a doctor immediately. It is also necessary to seek assistance from a doctor if the occurrence of visual aura is for the first time in a patient who crossed 40 years.

Treatment for Visual Aura

It is not possible to control visual aura during its occurrence. However, one can consume medication at the start of a headache to improve the pain. The doctor will prescribe a preventive treatment based on the frequency of the attacks and considers whether they are occurring with or without a migraine. Topiramate is one of the standard medicines that the doctor describes to prevent the occurrence of visual aura.


  1. International Headache Society. (2018). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition. https://ichd-3.org/1-migraine/1-2-migraine-with-aura/
  2. American Migraine Foundation. (n.d.). Migraine with Aura. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/migraine-aura/

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 8, 2023

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