When are migraine-associated visual symptoms an aura, and when are they not? Most of the time it doesn’t matter, but it becomes of vital importance when assessing a woman’s suitability for oestrogen-containing contraception. Fortunately, the JFPRHC has just published an article with guidance on answering this: the VARS (Visual Aura Rating Scale) score. Characteristics of the abnormal visual symptoms are scored thusly:
- Duration 5 – 60 mins: 3
- Develops gradually over 5 0r more mins: 2
- Blank spot in vision (scotoma): 2
- Zigzag line (fortification spectra): 2
- Homonymous hemianopia: 1
5 or more points diagnoses an aura.
(J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 2016; 42: 280 – 6)