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Can Ocular Migraines Cause Numbness

What Anxiety Disorders Are Most Often Associated With Migraine

 Dresler, T., Caratozzolo, S., Guldolf, K. et al. Understanding the nature of psychiatric comorbidity in migraine: a systematic review focused on interactions and treatment implications. J Headache Pain 20, 51 .

 Dresler, T., Caratozzolo, S., Guldolf, K. et al. Understanding the nature of psychiatric comorbidity in migraine: a systematic review focused on interactions and treatment implications. J Headache Pain 20, 51 .

What Does An Ocular Migraine Feel Like

An ocular migraine begins with a sparkling and shimmering area that has a jagged border and that gradually spreads outward. It causes a small blinding spot that enlarges and blocks your vision temporarily. The brightness begins at the edge of your field of vision and gradually spreads to your line of vision. Zigzag lines or stars may also be seen. It is almost like looking through a broken window. Scotoma is the area where vision is disrupted and the whole episode is called a positive aura.

An ocular migraine is often referred to differently by different experts. While many call it a visual migraine or a typical aura without headache, the International Headache Society classifies such a migraine as a silent or acephalgic migraine.

Though it seems serious since you lose your vision partially, the condition is usually harmless and will resolve on its own within 2030 minutes without any medical intervention. Complete visual darkness, or a negative aura, is not a symptom of an ocular migraine, but of some other underlying condition that needs to be investigated.

The Anatomy Of The Nerve

It was mentioned earlier that this nerve has three branches. If only one branch is affected, only one part of the face will experience numbness, pain, or some other nerve-related condition. In almost all cases, only one side of the face will be affected because there are two of them, one branching out from each sides of the central nervous system.

The upper branch is called the ophthalmic branch. This branch supplies sensation to the forehead, most of the scalp, and parts of the front of the face. The middle, or maxillary, branch services the cheek, the top lip, the upper jaw and gums, and the side of the nose. The lower, or mandibular, branch supplies sensation to the lower lip, jaw, teeth, and gums. One of the more unusual types of numbness in the facial area affects only the chin, in which case it is the mandibular branch that has been adversely affected by some condition.

There are approximately 12 primary causes of facial numbness plus the catch-all idiopathic cause where the face can become numb but the cause or causes remain unknown. Some of these causes will result in temporary numbness or face tingling, some will cause a permanent loss of sensation, and others can result in alternating periods of numbness or partial numbness together with periods during which normal sensations are felt.

What Is A Migraine

A migraine is a type of headache with symptoms like a severe and throbbing headache on one side of the head accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances, numbness or tingling in the extremities or face, sensitivity to light and sound, touch and smell.

Some people with migraines experience an aura before the head pain starts. Migraine aura symptoms include visual disturbances ocular migraine), water retention, problems sleeping, appetite changes, and irritability.

Whats A Migraine Journal

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  • Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
  • The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
  • What are your symptoms? Be specific.
  • Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
  • Note the weather.
  • Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
  • Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
  • Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
  • List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
  • How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
  • Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?

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.

Treating And Coping With Migraines

Even if the migraines exist alone and are not a symptom of an underlying condition, they can still be debilitating and impact your life. If youre experiencing blind spots or vision disturbances, for example, you will want to wait until they pass before driving.

Ocular migraines will typically go away on their own within 30 minutes. You should rest and avoid triggers such as bright lights until the vision disturbances are gone.

There are both over the counter treatments and prescription medications that can be used to treat recurring migraines. Over-the-counter drugs like or can be used to reduce the symptoms of a migraine once you already have them. Your doctor can prescribe you:

Some of these prescription medications will be taken on a regular basis instead of an as-needed basis when you get the migraines.

If youre experiencing ocular migraine pain, you can:

  • lie down or sit in a dark, quiet room
  • massage your scalp with a lot of pressure
  • put pressure on your temples
  • put a damp towel over your forehead

Can Eye Strain Cause Headaches

Eye strain is a common condition that is one of many possible causes of headaches. Other types of eye problems can also lead to a headache.

However, the American Migraine Association explains that eye strain is commonly overrated as a cause of headache. Eye problems can cause discomfort in the eye that reflect referred pain from a headache.

Eye problems associated with headaches include:

  • Injury to the cornea.
  • Degenerative disease of the cornea.
  • Eye infection.
  • Acute attack of angle-closure glaucoma.
  • Optic nerve conditions.
  • Giant cell arteritis .
  • Ocular ischemic syndrome.
  • Uncorrected nearsightedness or farsightedness.

According to AMA, most people with headaches do not have an eye condition that causes their headaches. Most headaches are caused by a primary headache disorder, such as a migraine or tension-type headache.

It is possible for headaches to be caused by any of the above eye conditions. Further medical attention from an ophthalmologist is warranted if this is suspected.


Possible Causes Of Leftside Body Numbness

At some point in life, most individuals are likely to experience some sort of temporary numbness. In fact, every time we experience legs or arms falling asleep we are experiencing minor numbness in one region of the body. Unfortunately there are also more severe cases where numbness can occur on the left side of the body and may last for long periods of time. The number of medical reasons for this occurrence is substantial. Many conditions can cause the symptoms. Any individual who feels numbness on the left side of their body often or even persistent tingling should seek medical attention from their primary care physician.

What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine

There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.

Medical Tests To Diagnose

Get emergency medical help right away if you have any of these symptoms. Do not assume that you are having a hemiplegic migraine. It could be a stroke.

A CT scan or an MRI of your head can show signs of a stroke. Tests of your heart and the blood vessels in your neck can rule out symptoms caused by blood clots.

If you have a family member with similar symptoms, your doctor may want to do genetic testing. Familial hemiplegic migraine means it runs in your family, and you could pass it on to your children. People who don’t have problems with those four genes have sporadic hemiplegic migraine .

Can You Have An Aura Without A Headache

Its possible for an aura to occur without a migraine headache. This is called silent migraine. Although the migraine pain doesnt occur, the aura symptoms themselves can still be disruptive to daily activities.

Ocular migraine, a type of migraine attack characterized by visual symptoms, can sometimes occur without pain. Migraine with aura and retinal migraine are sometimes considered types of ocular migraine.

Migraine attacks that occur without pain may sometimes be diagnosed as transient ischemic attacks or seizures due to the symptoms being so similar.

What Is The Connection Between Ocular Migraines And Stroke

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Ischemic strokes, or strokes caused by a blockage to the brain, account for the majority of all stroke cases in the United States todaynearly87 percent, in factand individuals suffering from migraines with aura are 2.4 times more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those who have migraines without aura, according to the American Heart Association. Recent studies have identified a direct correlation between migraines and the eventual development of certain cardiovascular diseases,. Although the exact underlying cause is not fully understood, one thing remains very clear: individuals experiencing migraines with aura have agreater risk of stroke than individuals who do not.

Souvik Sen, M.D., M.P.H., study author and neurologist at theUniversity of South Carolina School of Medicine has said, Since migraines alter the blood vessels in the brain, the greater incidence of strokes caused by blood clots in the heart or the brains blood vessels suggests that migraine also affects blood vessels in the heart and neck. Thats what possibly leads to these specific subtypes of stroke.

Experts are now advising individuals suffering from ocular migraines to be vigilant about their symptoms, as typical migraine symptoms could signify something much more serious.

Numbness And Tingling Symptoms

During a migraine attack, you may experience a variety of symptoms that can interfere with your senses such as aura.1 Auras are not experienced by every person with migraine. It is estimated that only about 20-30 percent of people with migraine experience aura.2 Along with light flashes or other odd visual changes, tingling or numbness can occur and may involve:

  • Numb fingers
  • Numbness in the lips, tongue or legs
  • Numbness on one side of the body

What Is An Ocular Migraine

Ocular migraines are migraine-related vision changes that may occur with or without an accompanying or subsequent migraine headache. 

Migraine with aura. About 25% to 30% of Americans with migraines experience an “aura” phase that can happen before or during their headache. An aura causes disturbances in your senses, making you see or feel things that aren’t really there. 

In most cases, the aura is visual, and you may see bright, zigzag lines or colorful patterns moving across your view. “This usually occurs right before the headache phase of the migraine and can last anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes,” says Nada Hindiyeh, MD, a professor of neurology at Stanford University.

Rarely, a visual aura may be a manifestation of other disorders, including, but not limited to a seizure disorder, circulatory disorder, inflammatory disorder, or even a brain tumor, so it is advisable to discuss your aura with your physician.

Retinal migraine.Retinal migraines also affect your vision before or during a migraine headache, but they only cause symptoms in one of your eyes. Retinal migraine symptoms tend to be more severe than regular aura symptoms during a retinal migraine, you may partially lose vision or even go temporarily blind in one eye. In other cases, you may just see twinkling lights in one eye.

It’s important to see a doctor to determine which type of migraine you’re experiencing. If you have a retinal migraine, it’s possible for your vision loss to become permanent. 

What Causes Ocular Migraines: Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment

Ocular migraines are rare conditions that approximately affect about 1 per 200 individuals who suffer from migraine headaches. It is also referred to as an aura migraine, ophthalmic migraine, or a retinal migraine. This condition leads to vision loss or blindness in one eye for a short period . Normally, retinal migraines dont trigger any damage and are not indicators of a major problem. However, there may be some risk of retinal damage due to reduced flow of blood. It is therefore advisable to go for a medical checkup if you experience these types of migraines.

Migraine With Aura In Children

Migraine is common in children. The prevalence is 3% in children aged 37 years, 4%11% in those 711 years, and 8%23% in teenagers. One quarter of patients with migraine experience aura. Aura is thought to be based on cortical spreading depression; a wave of depolarization followed by hyperpolarization spreads across the cortex, precipitating neurologic dysfunction. Prognostically, 50%60% of adolescents with migraine with aura are still symptomatic at 5- to 7-year follow-up.

In migraine with typical aura, visual, sensory, or dysphasic symptoms develop over 520 minutes, and resolve within 60 minutes. Headache typically occurs with the aura, or follows within 60 minutes. The headache may be ipsilateral or contralateral to the aura symptoms, usually contralateral. Visual auras are most common, followed by sensory, then language. Motor aura is least common and is a defining feature of hemiplegic migraine.

Ocular Migraines And Stroke

Henry HoffmanThursday, September 27th, 2018

Today, migraines are considered the most common neurological disorder according to the Journal of Stroke, and, in the United States alone, about people suffer from these debilitating headaches. Research has determined that all migraineurs are at a higher risk of suffering a stroke, and this risk factor is potentiallydoubled or tripled for individuals who suffer from migraines with visual disturbances collectively known as aura.

Unfortunately, migraines with aura exhibit similar symptoms to those associated with certain life-threatening conditions, namelytransient ischemic attacks and strokes. For this reason, many migraineurs may mistake early stroke warning signs for classic migraine symptoms. Telling the difference and recognizing a medical emergency for what it is can be difficult, but isnt impossible.

Warning Signs To Watch Out For

Deciphering whether numbness on left side of body is something minor or an indication of a more serious medical condition requires patience to be in tune with their own body. Be aware of any type of tingling or numbness that seems to recur or go on for long periods of time. As the most common cause of numbness is stroke, there are several warning signs that should be watched out for:

  • Rapid onset of numbness in face, legs, or arm on one side of the body
  • Confusion, lack of understanding, or difficulty speaking
  • Inability to see with both eyes
  • Loss of balance or coordination, difficulty walking or standing
  • Severe headache that does not go away
  • Double vision, extreme fatigue, vomiting

Any individual who seeks some or all of these warning signs should seek medical attention. Many strokes happen every day and are left untreated leading to larger medical problems. Diagnosing conditions like a stroke when they happen is the key to preventing serious damage.

What To Know About Migraine With Aura

Doctors and patients alike have been fascinated and puzzled by how migraine and aura go hand in hand. In fact, when diagnosing an individual with migraine, people may fall into the category of migraine with aura or migraine without aura, or both. Often described as a warning sign, the aura stage of migraine is unique because it is only experienced by 25 to 30% of people with migraine.

Causes Of Migraine Aura

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Migraines generally have four phases: prodrome, aura, headache attack, and postdrome. Not everyone with migraines experiences all four phases. The aura phase, which usually lasts an hour or less, is when visual disturbances are experienced. It can also coincide with headache and other migraine symptoms.

Different types of brain activity have been measured during migraines with aura. They show changes in blood flow and metabolism in the occipital cortex, an area of the brain that affects vision. Cortical spreading depression is a slowly spreading wave of changing brain activity. It has been associated with visual aura in migraines. The slow spread of brain disturbance is believed to correspond with the gradual onset and duration of aura.

Common Symptoms Of A Migraine

The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on 1 side of the head.

The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you carrying out normal activities.

In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.

How Are Migraines Treated

Migraine headaches are chronic. They cant be cured, but they can be managed and possibly improved. There are two main treatment approaches that use medications: abortive and preventive.

  • Abortive medications are most effective when you use them at the first sign of a migraine. Take them while the pain is mild. By possibly stopping the headache process, abortive medications help stop or decrease your migraine symptoms, including pain, nausea, light sensitivity, etc. Some abortive medications work by constricting your blood vessels, bringing them back to normal and relieving the throbbing pain.
  • Preventive medications may be prescribed when your headaches are severe, occur more than four times a month and are significantly interfering with your normal activities. Preventive medications reduce the frequency and severity of the headaches. Medications are generally taken on a regular, daily basis to help prevent migraines.

What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline

The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.

The phases are:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

    Join A Supportive Community

    At MyMigraineTeam, you can join a community of more than 65,000 people who are sharing experiences with migraine. More than 17,000 members have reported having migraine with aura, and another 5,800 members report having retinal migraine. Ask questions, share tips, and learn how others are managing ocular migraine.

    Add your comment below, or go to MyMigraineTeam now and start a new conversation today.

    What Causes Visual Migraines

    While the exact cause of visual migraines are still uncertain, some researchers believe that they are caused by spasms or changes in the retinal blood vessels or nerves.

    However, most doctors believe that they are caused by the same factors that lead to the classic migraine, including:

    • Family history of migraines
    • Foods containing nitrates, MSG, or tyramine

    Ocular Migraine Treatment And Prevention

    Because they generally are harmless and typically resolve on their own within a half hour, ocular migraines usually require no treatment.

    If you are driving or performing other tasks that require good vision when an ocular migraine occurs, stop what you are doing and relax until your vision returns to normal.

    If you experience visual disturbances that are part of a migraine with aura, or you want to prevent future ophthalmic migraines or migraine headache attacks, it’s a good idea to see your general physician for an exam and advice.

     Also, you should consider having a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist whenever you experience unusual vision symptoms to rule out sight-threatening conditions such as a detached retina, which requires immediate attention.

    Your doctor can advise you of the latest medicines for treating migraines, including medicines designed to prevent future attacks. People who experience migraines that last longer than 24 hours or who have more than two migraines per month generally are good candidates for preventive medical treatment.

    It’s also a good idea to keep a journal of your diet and activities just prior to your episodes of ocular migraine or migraine with aura to see if you can identify possible migraine triggers that you can avoid in the future.

    What Can Trigger A Migraine

    For many migraine sufferers, symptoms are often triggered by various stimuli or situations. These triggers can vary among migraineurs, but there are many common culprits.

    Women between the ages of 20 and 45 are the demographic most likely to suffer from migraines, and women overall arethree times more likely to experience migraine headaches than men. This discrepancy between the sexes was once erroneously attributed to a perceived inability of women to cope with stress. Interestingly enough, in youth, boys are actually more likely to experience migraines than young girls. However, per theNashville Neuroscience Group, once menstruation begins, the fluctuation of hormones in women causes asubstantial increase in migraines. Stress can also play a substantial part in triggering symptoms; in a recent study, nearly 60 percent of participants listed stress as aprecipitating influence.

    Other common migraine triggers are diet-related and may be avoided by employing restrictions. Migraines are routinely reported to betriggered by dairy, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruits, and nuts, as well as by fasting. Certain types ofodors  may trigger migraines for some sufferers.Meteorological triggers related to low temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure are also important to note, although these stimuli are less frequently reported as triggers than the aforementioned factors.

    Treatment Of Migraine With Aura

    zigzag flashing lights in eyes

    A comprehensive treatment plan is required for migraine with aura to help take control and reduce your attacks.

    Reducing migraine is especially important for migraine with aura due to the potential risks from frequent and severe auras over an extended period of time. Studies have shown an association between migraine with aura and stroke. If you experience migraine with aura and take oral contraceptives your risk may be even higher. This is something to speak to your doctor or specialist about.

    Unfortunately good treatment results can be difficult to achieve in severe cases of migraine. Migraine globally is undertreated and poorly managed.

    Rarely does a miracle solution present itself as a miracle pill or cure. More often it is the result of an educated partnership between patient and doctor which results in a comprehensive evaluation and adjustment of behavioral, dietary and lifestyle factors which are supported where appropriate with acute and preventative treatments.

    Let me know your aura symptoms in the comments below.


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