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AAFlight52 12-20-2006 04:37 AM

Migraine Headaches and Flying...
In the coming months as I prepare for lessons to receive my PPL, I have an issue which troubles me. Although I do not get migraine headaches often, when I do get them they come in full force and often times they start out with vision loss. If I was flying solo while this happened would I be good as dead or are there preventative measures which I can take before and during flights?

Puppyz 12-20-2006 02:34 PM

vision loss?? hmm you should prob seek the advice of a doctor on that one. I used to get killer migranes but as I got older they eventually went away. (they stopped happening by age 16 - 17 , started when I was in grade school) How old are you??

AAFlight52 12-20-2006 03:58 PM

Im 16. It's not complete vision loss but partial loss. They call them Auras and they usually last 10-40 minutes before the actual headache sets in. I would hate to scrap plans for a potential career/hobby just because of something that happens once every year or so.

GotheriK 12-20-2006 05:48 PM

Wow, how bad is the loss? Do you think you'd still be able to see well enough to keep the aircraft flying?

flyerNy 12-21-2006 10:38 AM

I don't think migraine auras are that rare. I have friends who get them and I have had them, but only twice ever in my life. If it is a rare occurance I am sure it won't be an issue. Though there may be many causes, you may be able to find the reason for the aura and try to avoid it. I was on the computer all day once and got an aura. I sucks when it happens. Second time it happened I ran to the Eye Doctor (being a pilot drives major concern about vision). With a thorough evaluation he said my eyes are fine 20/20, nothing wrong with them and what I described was a migrainal aura. He said that it is not an issue with me and flying because they are so rare (twice in 6 years). He used to be an Aviation Examiner. He did not seem concerned about it. If it happens often it maybe be an issue though.
For those that don't know, the aura is annoying and is slightly off-center of the vision(looks like psychedelic flickering). It lingers for about 10 to 15 minutes in both eyes as the migraine messes with your central nervous system. Shortly after you get the headache and aura is gone.
No human is perfect. Everyone has some sort of issue with regards to aviation medicals, and if they haven't they will. It is largely up to the Pilot to determine when they are not safe flying, you know your own body.
From what I experienced, I did not think they were bad enough to interfere with flying duties and it only lasted a few minutes (though I was not flying at the time).
I did think about what actions I would take if it happened in flight and did interfere with flying. The only portion of flight where I think it would be most critical is approach and landing. If it were to happen at that segment of flight I would simply wait the few minutes for it to go away before beginning that segment of flight. From my experience they do not seem to just appear but rather grow in size slowly, further they don't seem to be that large that you are blinded, they simply restrict a small area of visual field. Therefore it is not like you will be flaring and then suddenly get blinded and crash. By the time you first experience it coming on during an approach, you will already be at the car when it is full scale aura. Though if it were an issue during approach, go missed and go around. By the time you come back it will be gone, though the headache may suck. If I were you and was this concerned about the aura's I would first speak with a regular doctor. From there go to an AME. See what they think. Then when you make it past them in approval, think about what you will do and actions you will take, should it happen in flight. Talk to a good CFI.

Remember, nobody is perfect.

AAFlight52 12-21-2006 05:06 PM

Thanks for the insight, it gives me a little more relief about the prospect of flying with the migraines I get. I am just hoping it is something that I can outgrow and that it doesn't become too serious. It seems like your auras are a bit milder than mine though.

cgdaddy1 07-10-2008 11:30 AM

Migraines and your medical.
I'm a major airline pilot 40 years old. What started out as what I thought was as simple headache I'm concerned is growing into much more.

Out of the blue I will see spots. I mean this in all seriousness it looks like germs floating around (something you see when you look in a microscope for example of the microscopic life.) It's actually maddening to see, it's hard to focus on anything else because you can't see correctly. This can last for a couple hours to all day. So far none have happened when flying.

Along with that I get a naseous feeling and headache with it. It's a strong headache but not put me flat on the floor but it does hurt. But the vision trouble and nausea with it I'm wondering if it's a form of migraine?

And it comes on randomly. Inside, outside, watching TV, whatever, no specific trigger.

In the last 3 months I've had I'd guess one a week.

To boot my Mother has suffered from migraines her whole adult life and I have read it's genetic.

I fear I have some sort of migraine issue. Any and all opinions appreciated in terms of losing my medical to fly.

rickair7777 07-10-2008 01:41 PM

I think you need to get some help. Migraines can be treated, but I'm not sure about the aviation medical implications. You might want to contact an aviation medicine consultant BEFORE you see your doc about getting treated. That way you will know the implications or creating a paper trail, and if treatments are better than others as far as certification.

I have used these guys, and there others too: Virtual Flight Surgeons Inc. -- Your One Source for FAA Medical Certification Waiver Assistance!

But get some treatment in any case.

kimmy 12-24-2017 10:47 PM

Deferred due to the migraine
First of all, Merry Christmas!
I currently living in Seoul, Korea and I got my first FAA medical certificate on this 14/Oct. Before that, I checked 'headache or migraine' box. After that, upon my doctor's request, I sent my migraine diagnosis report to OKC.
And I got a letter, which requests they need more detailed report, including history, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment plan, current medication, and prognosis, within 60 days.
So I request to my neurologist who had issued my report for migraine, and here it is :

1. Sx. headache
2. History ; from last fall, starting with headache, nausea for 3 times(rt. pariety, occipital area, throbbing nature, once every few months, persist for half a day. VAS 4. Aura ; none)
3. Diagnosis(Conclusion):Nerologic exam ; no abnormal feature. Brain MRI exam ; normal
4.Treatment : none(no P.O medication). Life style modification recommended.

5. Duration of Treatment(Done) : Oct.16.2017 ~ Oct.18.2017

And additionally, I'm thinking about submit my MRI result report with this migraine report. Will it be helpful to get a medical certificate?
The letter says 'submit aforegead information in one mailing'. Is this means it has to be submitted by mail, not a fax or smth?

Actually, I'm going to go to Phoenix,AZ on Jan.30, which means maybe I don't have enough time to prepare new doc,and get a mail from FAA, if FAA requests more things to me.

I hope you guys help me to overcome this situation......!

TiredSoul 12-25-2017 12:22 AM

FAA is a pretty prehistor organization and anmot of communications still go by regular mail.
Donít hold me to it but I thought you had to be symptom free for a year after migraine.
Others with more knowledge will be along.

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