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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......!
Thanks!

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.

kimmy 12-25-2017 01:28 AM


Originally Posted by TiredSoul (Post 2489206)
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.

You're saying my report maybe not enough to prove I'm clear to get even special issuance...right?

rickair7777 12-25-2017 07:59 AM


Originally Posted by kimmy (Post 2489211)
You're saying my report maybe not enough to prove I'm clear to get even special issuance...right?

They may want to definitely rule out anything other than migraines. I've seen that with a friend's loss of consciousness episode.

I'd recommend AOPA or one of the aviation medicine consultants.

My best friend was plagued by migraines... much better after he eliminated all booze and caffeine.

cleared2land 12-25-2017 08:11 AM

I have gotten a 60 day letter before. If you got a Medical from your AME you are good. You still Have one!!! They are just saying if you donít provide what they ask within 60 days your Medical is revoked. It may take another six Months after you provide the new info. I actually never heard anything after I submitted the additional info. The FAA doesnít like things that never get a resolution. They may just simply want more info and you never hear from them again. Make sure you provide a stateside address with applicable dates if possible.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Av8tr1 12-25-2017 09:43 AM

Airline pilot here. I have occasional migraines. Cleared by the FAA for years. Shouldn't be an issue if its explainable.

kimmy 12-25-2017 04:34 PM


Originally Posted by cleared2land (Post 2489277)
I have gotten a 60 day letter before. If you got a Medical from your AME you are good. You still Have one!!! They are just saying if you donít provide what they ask within 60 days your Medical is revoked. It may take another six Months after you provide the new info. I actually never heard anything after I submitted the additional info. The FAA doesnít like things that never get a resolution. They may just simply want more info and you never hear from them again. Make sure you provide a stateside address with applicable dates if possible.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks! Helpful to meet a person who experienced same occasion.

kimmy 12-25-2017 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by cleared2land (Post 2489277)
I have gotten a 60 day letter before. If you got a Medical from your AME you are good. You still Have one!!! They are just saying if you donít provide what they ask within 60 days your Medical is revoked. It may take another six Months after you provide the new info. I actually never heard anything after I submitted the additional info. The FAA doesnít like things that never get a resolution. They may just simply want more info and you never hear from them again. Make sure you provide a stateside address with applicable dates if possible.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

6 months?! Is it take so long? That's gonna be a big deal to me.....but thank tou for your reply !! It does helpful

TroutBum 12-27-2017 10:35 AM

Migraines
 
FYI -- the AME can issue a medical after a reported migraine with a report from your treating physician and if certain criteria are met.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...CIMigraine.pdf

kimmy 01-03-2018 09:39 PM

Thanks!
 

Originally Posted by TroutBum (Post 2490157)
FYI -- the AME can issue a medical after a reported migraine with a report from your treating physician and if certain criteria are met.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...CIMigraine.pdf

If situation's going worse, I need to request to my AME! Thanks for the link:)

JohnBurke 01-03-2018 10:00 PM

If you're going to be in Phoenix shortly, contact AME Dr. Burr Ross. Appointments are available online at Home

BDH7 01-13-2019 04:01 PM

Migraines
 
Maybe this is a strange question, but are there any studies about aircraft (instrumentation, radar, etc.) *causing* migraines, and the like?

Excargodog 01-13-2019 05:28 PM

Half the world has common migraines. If they are infrequent and not severe, or controlled by simple medications without side effects they are not a problem.

Classic migraines can also be approved by the AME if they are infrequent and uncomplicated. Migraines affecting vision or balance get far more difficult and typically are very difficult to get FAA approval.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...item46/amd/ha/

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...CIMigraine.pdf

Excargodog 01-13-2019 05:40 PM


Originally Posted by BDH7 (Post 2742290)
Maybe this is a strange question, but are there any studies about aircraft (instrumentation, radar, etc.) *causing* migraines, and the like?

Bright lights - even bright incandescent lights -commonly can provoke migraines but fluorescent lights, CRT tubes, computer monitors, and other lights that flash on and off quickly (even if itís to quick to notice) seem to be even more potent inducers of migraines. Even LED Christmas lights seem to do it more than incandescent. When fatigued, some migraine suffers seem particularly susceptible to light induced migraines.

Depending on who builds it and how, I would suspect some MFD screens would be likely inducers as well.

swaayze 01-14-2019 08:39 AM

Get some professional advice; AMAS in CO or the like.

Now something perhaps worth no more than what youíre paying: I would NOT include anything they donít specifically ask for. If they want it theyíll ask and you can then provide it.

dmac25 08-04-2019 09:33 AM

Are you flying? Or did they deny your medical?

dmac25 08-04-2019 09:34 AM

Was this resolved? Are you allowed to fly still?

dmac25 08-04-2019 09:44 AM

Cant fly anymore?:Migraine with Aura :(
 
Anyone's input would be greatly appreciated.

I started getting migraines with aura, the aura being visual disturbances that look like staticky spider legs through my field of view. I only knew what they were because I used to get them when I was a kid but haven't had them in years. I Just finished my instrument rating, I'm about a 1/3 of the way through my commercial rating and I'm very nervous about talking the AME. I'm almost positive this is going to be a dream killer. Does anyone get these and fly commercially? Has anyone found medications that prevent them from happening? Thanks for the help.

dmac25 08-04-2019 09:47 AM

Has anyone gotten the classic migraines and still got a medical to fly commercially? The migraines with visual aura?

Excargodog 08-04-2019 10:30 PM


Originally Posted by dmac25 (Post 2864659)
Has anyone gotten the classic migraines and still got a medical to fly commercially? The migraines with visual aura?

Yes.


Do not confuse classic migraine which in fact only requires CACI level approval:

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...CIMigraine.pdf

With ocular migraine for which a special issuance is much more difficult or sometimes impossible. They are NOT the same thing:

https://www.allaboutvision.com/condi...r-migraine.htm

Excargodog 08-04-2019 10:40 PM


Originally Posted by dmac25 (Post 2864648)
Are you flying? Or did they deny your medical?

This is a 12 and a half year old thread. You are unlikely to get an answer. Besides, I just replied to you on your other migraine thread.

tomgoodman 08-05-2019 09:31 AM

Moderator note
 
To prevent further confusion, threads on this subject have been merged here.

dmac25 10-24-2019 04:22 PM

Time to hang it up?
 
I have recently reached out to a couple of AME's and apparently the migraines I get are going to cost me this career. I get migraines with what are called scintillating scotoma. If you want to know what they look like just punch it in on google images. Unfortunately they blurr part of my central vision. I'll be seeing a neurologist mid November but from what the AME told me the only way I could get a special issuance is if I went on preventative medications ( either beta blockers or calcium channel blockers) for a year with no migraines and I could get a special issuance 1st class. The catch is that even if the meds work, ANY one recurrence would cost me the medical and I would have to go through the same year long process again. I wanted to see if I could get some opinions on this. I would like to fly as a career but walking on a knife edge the rest of my life, hoping one of these things doesn't happen makes me very nervous. I'm 25 with an engineering degree, maybe I should just paraglide on the weekends? Maybe take the meds for 2 years before investing the remaining money to complete my commercial rating? Any opinions on this would be appreciated.

rickair7777 10-24-2019 05:19 PM


Originally Posted by dmac25 (Post 2912022)
I have recently reached out to a couple of AME's and apparently the migraines I get are going to cost me this career. I get migraines with what are called scintillating scotoma. If you want to know what they look like just punch it in on google images. Unfortunately they blurr part of my central vision. I'll be seeing a neurologist mid November but from what the AME told me the only way I could get a special issuance is if I went on preventative medications ( either beta blockers or calcium channel blockers) for a year with no migraines and I could get a special issuance 1st class. The catch is that even if the meds work, ANY one recurrence would cost me the medical and I would have to go through the same year long process again. I wanted to see if I could get some opinions on this. I would like to fly as a career but walking on a knife edge the rest of my life, hoping one of these things doesn't happen makes me very nervous. I'm 25 with an engineering degree, maybe I should just paraglide on the weekends? Maybe take the meds for 2 years before investing the remaining money to complete my commercial rating? Any opinions on this would be appreciated.

Sounds risky for a career entrant. If you were a 50-year old major CA, then fight it to the hilt but in your shoes I don't know.

At the very least, wait a couple years and see what happens before you commit. Also do some research, get some professional advice as to how likely it is that meds would work for decades with zero lapses.


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