Visual Impairments Associated With Migraine Can Happen With Or Without A Headache
Ocular Migraine is a term that has been used to refer to a number of migraine subtypes that are characterized by a variety of visual disturbances including visual loss, blind spots, zig-zag lines, or seeing stars. Unlike other forms of migraine, they may occur without any accompanying head pain. Its not uncommon for a single patient to experience a wide range of visual symptoms. Heres what you need to know to better understand the migraine subtypes that affect vision.
Headaches Behind The Eye In People Over 40
In particular, people over the age of 40 may begin experiencing headaches behind the eyes more frequently as they get older due to a condition called presbyopia. As the eyes age, it can become more difficult for them to focus on objects up-close, causing them to squint and strain in order to see more clearly. This strain can lead to feelings of pain behind the eyes, alongside soreness and redness.
With other common conditions such as blurry vision, digital eye strain, and difficulty seeing up-close, its best to have your eyesight checked by an optician if youre concerned.
Ocular Migraines Versus Retinal Migraines: Is There A Difference
One of the biggest points of confusion concerning ocular migraines is whether they are the same thing as retinal migraines. In most cases, these conditions are referred to separately and are distinct. Most ocular migraines include some sort of aurabe it a blind spot, a sensation of seeing shimmering lights, or other odd visual disturbances.
Retinal migraines typically occur in one eye after the onset of a migraine headache. A retinal migraine may result in the patient seeing twinkling lights or other auras similar to ocular migraine symptoms.However, retinal migraines more often result in severely decreased vision, even sometimes causing temporary blindness in one eye. Retinal migraines are much rarer than ocular migraines and much more serious. If you experience this type of severe vision loss in one eye during a migraine attack, you should consult an eye doctor immediately. Retinal migraines can sometimes result in permanent vision loss, so its important not to ignore the issue.
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Symptoms Of Ocular Migraine
You should look out for temporary vision problems whenever you witness an ocular migraine attack. After half an hour or so, cover the non-impacted eye to check if the vision has been retained in the affected eye.
Here are the other ocular migraine symptoms that you should be looking for when experiencing a headache:
Constant headache that lasts close to 24 to 72 hours
Frequent dizziness in the head
Constant vomiting sensation
Sensitiveness to light and/or sound
If you witness any of these ocular migraine symptoms, revisit your sleeping patterns and emotional stress levels since they can trigger frequent migraine attacks.
What Causes A Retinal Migraine
Unfortunately, no one is certain about the cause. Some believe its due to a problem with the blood supply to the retina, which is the part of the eye that is most responsible for vision. But some retinal migraines might be caused by a problem in the nerves in the eye or brain, not the retina. Therefore, some experts believe they should be called ocular migraines, which is obviously confusing. Clearly more research is needed.
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Not All Auras Are Visual
Less frequently, sufferers endure “motor auras” including numbness, speech or language difficulty, and muscle weakness symptoms that 52-year-old Tiffany Clements, who worked as a drug counselor in Arkansas before having to leave work due to her condition, knows all too well.
“My face droops, my speech becomes very slurred, and I can’t speak well enough to form a sentence,” she told me. “I can’t find words that I know very well … honestly, I come across as someone with a brain injury.”
Clements said that like my visual auras, her motor auras tend to come on very quickly, and with no warning.
“If it happens during a meal, I ask whomever I’m with to speak for me,” she added. “It’s such a struggle to speak. It has a tremendous impact on my life.”
What Are The Acute Treatments For Migraine
An isolated visual migraine, without headache, typically does not require any acute treatment, since the visual symptoms resolve on their own fairly quickly. The first few times someone experiences a visual migraine it usually causes a lot of anxiety. Once someone has become familiar with the symptoms of a visual migraine, new episodes no longer cause the same level of anxiety.
It can be helpful to try to rest during the episode. Some patients benefit from other strategies, including eating something, having caffeine, or taking an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
Patients in whom the visual symptoms are accompanied by a severe headache often benefit from additional therapies. The goal of these medications is to try to cut short the headache before it becomes too severe. Some patients find naproxen , which is a stronger anti-inflammatory medication, to be helpful. Other patients try a class of medications known as triptans.
Triptans are specially designed to work on receptors on blood vessels and brain cells in order to halt a migraine at an early stage. Although there are a number of different triptans, made by several different pharmaceutical companies, each of these is approximately equally effective. Triptans are often taken orally, but also come as injections and nasal sprays. These medicines are generally not considered safe in patients with a history of strokes, heart attacks, or other vascular diseases.
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Temporary Partial Vision Loss
If you have partial vision loss, the causes include:
Migraines: These are, by far, the most common cause of short-term, partial vision loss. When you get a migraine, you may have âauraâ that affects the vision in both of your eyes. You may see flashing lights, shimmering spots, or blind spots.
A retinal migraine affects only one eye. This rare condition causes partial or total blindness for a short period, usually 10 to 30 minutes. It typically comes before or during a headache. It is totally harmless to you and your vision.
Retinal vasospasm: Like migraine, this condition can cause temporary vision loss. Treatment can fully restore your sight.
When a blood vessel in your retina tightens, it causes a vasospasm. This cuts down on blood flow, which can bring on temporary vision loss in one eye. Various conditions can lead to a vasospasm. These include a retinal migraine, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
If you have a retinal vasospasm, your doctor may recommend aspirin or a type of medicine called a calcium-channel blocker to relieve it. Youâll also work with your doctor to manage whatever caused the retinal vasospasm in the first place.
This disease causes inflammation in the linings of your arteries, particularly those in your head. Symptoms include head pain, scalp tenderness, jaw pain, fever, and fatigue. Giant cell arteritis also triggers vision loss, usually in one eye. Without treatment, it can result in permanent blindness in a week or two.
Causes Of Ocular Migraine
There are two major causes of ocular migraine:
Spasms in the blood vessels in the retina.
Changes in the nerve cells across the retina
You should look out for common triggers that cause migraines. It could either be related to certain categories of food or certain additives of food like artificial sweeteners, Monosodium Glutamate, etc.
Though the after-effects of ocular migraine last less than an hour, it is recommended to visit a doctor and discuss the ocular migraine symptoms and treatments if you are having regular headaches followed by blind spots.
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All You Need To Know About Ocular Migraine
Headaches are common due to frequent lack of sleep, tight headwear, wearing incorrect eyeglass prescription , and other such reasons that can cause a heavy head feeling. However, headaches should not happen in a recurring manner. Intense and frequent headaches are termed migraines, a neurological condition that can cause a sense of spinning and intense dizziness. As per reports, migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world.
Ocular migraine, a form of migraine, is a rare condition that can cause temporary blindness in one eye for a duration that lasts less than an hour. The feeling of temporary blindness normally happens before or after an intense migraine headache.
Ocular migraine differs from a normal migraine attack where you temporarily experience blind spots in both eyes. What are the major causes of ocular migraine? How can you get yourself treated for the same?
In this blog, we answer all the questions related to an ocular migraine.
What Type Of Doctor Do You See For Ocular Migraines
If you have ocular migraines, you can see an ophthalmologist oran optometrist.
Optometrists are eye care specialists who offer primary vision care services, including:
- Vision testing
- Correction of visual problems
- Treatment and management of visual issues and eye diseases
On the other hand, ophthalmologists are medical practitioners who specialize in eye and vision care. They differ from optometrists in their degrees of schooling as well as what they can diagnose and cure.
An ophthalmologist is a healthcare professional who has finished college and has at least eight years of further medical studies. He or she is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. Ophthalmologists hold a Doctor of Medicine degree.
Optometrists are healthcare professionals who complete four additional years of school after finishing undergraduate studies. They hold a Doctor of Optometry degree.
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Types Of Ocular Migraines
- Migraine With Aura
Ocular migraine with aura is a recurring headache that typically starts at the same time or after sensory disturbances known as an aura. These disturbances include visual changes such as blind spots, tingling in your face or hands. At times, the aura can occur without having a headache.
- Retinal Migraine
These migraines typically refer to symptoms that manifest only in one eye during or before the headache phase of the migraine episode. Retinal migraines tend to happen repetitively and are short-lasting accompanied by blindness or diminished vision.
The loss of vision is not related to migraines. A more severe underlying condition causes the loss of vision. You might need to see a doctor immediately to get your eyes checked.
Whats An Ocular Migraine
The termocular migraine can be confusing. It generally means a headache thats accompanied by changes in vision which may include blind spots, changes in light perception, wiggly lines and flashing lights. As many as 20 percent of migraine sufferers may experience these aura symptoms.
It is generally accepted that there are two types of ocular migraines:
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What Do Ocular Migraines Indicate Types Causes Symptoms
While an ocular migraine may be alarming, vision changes are temporary and normal vision generally returns as the blood vessels relax. While there are risks of damage to the retina or blood vessels, severe complications are very rare.
Amaurosis Fugax: Temporary Blindness By Another Name
Some doctors prefer amaurosis fugax as a catch-all term to describe temporary vision loss in one or both eyes. Others only use this term when loss of vision is caused by blood vessel issues, such as stroke or blood clots.
You may see the terms amaurosis fugax,temporary blindness and transient vision loss used interchangeably. Dont hesitate to ask why your doctor uses one or the other when describing your condition.
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Causes Of Temporary Blindness: Sudden Temporary Loss Of Vision
Temporary blindness is a condition of sudden loss of vision which when corrected reverses to normal vision. There are many conditions leading to temporary blindness, such as cataract, glaucoma, optic nerve problem, foreign body in eye and some systemic causes such as hypertension, transient ischemic attacks, blood occlusion, tumor in brain etc and psychological causes.
Temporary blindness patients should consult an ophthalmologist in such a situation, to rule out any deeper causes.
The Causes Of Ocular Migraines
Another frustration with ocular migraines is even experts arent totally sure what causes them. Some health professionals think ocular migraines have the same basic cause as regular migraines: someone whose parents and family members have struggled with migraines is more likely to experience ocular migraines. More specifically, ocular migraines could have to do with spasms in the blood vessels of the retina or unusual electrical activity throughout the cortex of the brain.
Regardless of the specific genetic or chemical causes of ocular migraines, health professionals do have a better idea of what triggers these occurrences. As with regular migraines, ocular migraines can be triggered by harsh light or, especially, electronic screens. Someone who spends the whole day looking at a computer screen, for instance, is at higher risk for experiencing ocular migraines than someone whose job does not involve much screen time.
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What Causes Partial Blindness In One Eye
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Consequently, can you only see half out of one eye?
With hemianopsia, you can see only part of the visual field of each eye. Hemianopsia is classified by the part of your visual field that’s missing: bitemporal: outer half of each visual field. homonymous: the same half of each visual field.
Also, what does it mean if you go blind for a few seconds? Episodic blindness, or amaurosis fugax, is temporary blindness caused by a lack of blood flow to the eye. The loss of vision is usually in just one eye and lasts from seconds to minutes. Episodic blindness may be a warning of something more serious, such as decreased blood flow to the brain, which could cause a stroke.
Also to know is, what can cause a blind spot in one eye?
Some blind spots can be caused by a simple migraine, while others can be caused by glaucoma, macular degeneration, or retinal detachment. A retinal detachment is a disorder in which the retina separates from the layer underneath. See your eye care professional quickly if think you have a blind spot in your vision.
What does it mean when you temporarily lose peripheral vision in one eye?
Damage to the optic nerve, the retina or the regions of the brain that process visual stimuli can all contribute to or be the primary cause of peripheral vision loss. Also known as tunnel vision, the effect may be temporary, and reversible with timely treatment. Yet some causes of peripheral vision loss are permanent.
What Are Some Symptoms Of An Ocular Migraine
Typically, you will see small blind spots referred to as scotoma that appears enlarge your central eyesight just before an ocular migraine strikes. The blind spots may occur as flashing lights with sparkles moving in zigzag lines close to the developed blind spot. The broadened blind spot may obstruct your eyesight and render you visionless for some time. The entire occurrence may end within few minutes, but the ocular migraine condition may last for up to 30 minutes.
The other symptoms that you may incur include:
- Moderate to excruciating headaches that may last for up to 72 hours
- Headaches may worsen when engaging in physical activities
- A feeling of numbness may also come in just before a migraine starts
- Unusual eye sensitivity to light
- Sudden and unexplained mood changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling tired for days or weeks preceding the attack
- Craving for certain types of foods
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Is There A Connection Between Strokes And Ocular Migraines
Currently, there isnt a definitive answer. But some researchers believe that ocular migraine and stroke have a connection. The connection, they believe, has to do with damage to the cells lining your blood vessels. The inflammation of the cells can cause them to become stiff and hence increase the risk of suffering a stroke.
Also, people who have migraine with aura are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as those who have no migraines.
What Causes A Migraine
Although migraines are extremely common, their exact cause remains unknown. It appears likely that the visual aura relates to a phenomenon called cortical spreading depression which temporarily affects electrical impulses in the brain. The pain of a migraine headache probably relates to spasm or irritability of blood vessels in the brain, which are sensitive to pain . Beyond these hypotheses, however, the exact mechanism that triggers a migraine remains unknown.
It is often possible to identify certain risk factors that increase the chance of having migraines. A positive family history is very common, so the doctor will often ask about headaches in ones parents or siblings. Overall, migraines are more common in women than in men. In addition, a persons hormonal status can affect the pattern of migraines they experience therefore, it is natural for a woman to notice a change in headaches and other migraine symptoms in adolescence or around the time of menopause.
Many individuals can identify specific triggers for their migraines. These triggers include fatigue, skipping a meal, caffeine withdrawal, stress, and certain foods . For many patients with isolated visual migraines, however, the events can be very infrequent and no definite trigger can be determined.
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