themighty logo

CNN Anchor Brooke Baldwin Walks Off in the Middle of Show Due to Ocular Migraine


Some folks with chronic illness may experience certain “warning signs” that their symptoms are about to flare, allowing them some time to make preparations. For others, symptoms can come on suddenly and unexpectedly, interrupting their day and forcing them to immediately stop whatever they were doing.

If the latter sounds familiar, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin’s sudden departure during her show may be all too relatable. The host of “CNN Newsroom” confused viewers Thursday when she walked out and was replaced by Brianna Keilar, host of “CNN Right Now,” after a commercial break.

Later that day, Baldwin revealed on Twitter that the reason for her abrupt exit was an ocular migraine attack. Though she gets them about once a year, she explained, this was the first time in her two-decade career it happened on set.

“Ocular migraine. I get ’em about once a year,” she wrote. “And in 20 years of doing live TV… that had never happened on set til today. I suddenly couldn’t see. HUGE props to my girl for hopping in the seat with 2 mins notice. Going home to sit in the dark. Back tomorrow. Xoxo”

Ocular migraine refers to any type of migraine that is characterized by visual disturbances, such as visual loss, blind spots, zig-zag lines or seeing stars. The two most common types of ocular migraine include retinal migraine and migraine with aura. Although migraine is typically associated with head pain, an ocular migraine may not involve any pain at all.

Baldwin’s experience not only sheds light on a type of migraine not often talked about, but on how unpredictable and impactful the symptoms can be.

Though experiencing chronic illness symptoms can be scary under any circumstances, it can be especially jarring when they come on out of the blue. Some people may even experience “flare fear,” a term coined by Mighty contributor C.M., meaning they experience fear and anxiety about the sudden onset of symptoms.

If you often face unexpected health emergencies, check out the 24 items our community recommends keeping in a “crisis kit” and 12 tips that help people cope with “flare fear.”

Lead photo via Brooke Baldwin’s Instagram