How To Tell If Its Aura Or Something Else
Two distinguishing factors of migraine aura without headache is that it affects both eyesnot just one eyeand there is a build-up of the aura. The aura will often change during the first five minutes or so, and it can last up to an hour.
When a person experiences aura, it can be difficult to determine whether the visual disturbance is in one or both eyes. Dr. Digre has a simple exercise to help patients pinpoint whats going on: Open a book or something you can look at and read. Cover one eye and look at your book. If you can see the aura covering up the words on the page, you know its in that eye. Then cover the other eye, and if you still see the aura, you know its in that eye as well. I would encourage every person who has an aura to confirm that its in both eyes because that puts it in the occipital lobe and in the brain , she says.
Because many people with migraine experience visual symptoms or light sensitivity, it can be confusing to distinguish or describe exactly whats going on. Contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms and how to best evaluate and diagnose what youre experiencing.
Strategies For Coping With Migraines
As anyone who has ever experienced a migraine knows all too well, once that initial wave hits, the migraine symptoms will only progress over the following minutes and hours, if not days. Fortunately, there are many strategies available to help patients cope with these debilitating episodes.
Stress is one of the main causes of many migraines, therefore, attempts to minimize stress and general anxiety are sound initial steps for many individuals. However, relaxation can mean very different things to different individuals, so each migraineur must devise a relaxation regimen based on his or her preferences. Trigger coping mechanisms might involve measures as basic as taking a nap, reading a book, or soaking in a warm bath.
If these preliminary steps have failed to minimize migraine frequency or offer adequate relief for your migraine symptoms, it may be time to discuss options with your doctor. In fact, many individuals who suffer from migraines are prescribed medication to manage their symptoms. If you are prescribed a migraine medication, you should take your prescribed dose at the first sign of a headache.
Treating Migraine Aura Without Pain
It can be hard to treat migraine aura without pain. Symptoms often go away faster than drugs, such as triptans and NSAIDs, work. However, some people find that migraine symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light get better with treatment.
There are no FDA-approved drugs specifically for migraine aura with pain or silent migraine. Some small studies have tested the use of magnesium, aspirin, lamotrigine , and ketamine.
You May Like: Cream Of Tartar For Migraines
Symptoms Of Ocular Migraine
An ocular migraine can have you seeing stars…literally. Or you might get squiggles, or blind spots, or other visual mayhem that makes it very difficultif not impossibleto see. As you might imagine, this can make it hard to do pretty much anything, so an ocular migraine can really ruin your day.
Here are some of the common visual disturbances that happen with a migraine aura, according to a review article published in the Journal of Headache and Pain5:
- Bright flashes of light
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
The visual cues are hard to ignore: shimmering or flashing lights, zigzagging lines or stars, black spots. All make it difficult to read, write or drive. If you experience these symptoms, youre most likely having an ocular migraine. It can occur with or without the pain of a migraine headache.;
For people prone to migraines, one of every five has this visual aura before the headache pain begins. An ocular migraine by itself lasts anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and isnt considered a serious condition.
Although some doctors think ocular migraines are caused by the same factors that create classic migraines, no one knows for certain. Ocular migraines seem to run in families. They have been linked to estrogen, a female hormone that fluctuates during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, or with use of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapies.
Most ocular and retinal migraines dont require treatment.
Also Check: How Often To Take Excedrin Migraine
Can Stress Cause Vestibular Migraines
It is not completely known what causes a vestibular migraine however they are triggered by a number of factors, such as dehydration, poor sleep, your diet and stress. Changes in the hormone balance of your body can cause you to have a migraine, thats why it is important that you take care of yourself. Make sure that you are taking time out of your day to relax and unwind, as well staying hydrating and getting the right amount of sleep for you.
Truths Of Frequent Ocular Aura Migraines With Images
An ocular migraine with a scintillating scotoma can be very scary.
Its like a small puddle or smudge shows up in your vision and grows until it finally triggers a migraine.
When we want to prevent our brain from triggering this series of symptoms we have to address what is causing the strain on our bodies and stress on our heads.
In this article Im going to talk about ocular migraines as well as 3 truths you need to understand about them
With images along the way.
Recommended Reading: Do Daith Piercings Help With Migraines
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
The diagnosis of retinal migraine is one of exclusion and all other causes of vision loss should;initially;be;considered. All members of the healthcare team;should be vigilant and refer the patient for immediate and emergent assessment for stroke or other thromboembolic causes for their symptoms if the patient presents with visual loss or changes.;;
Why Does An Ocular Migraine Happen
Its believed that ocular migraines have similar causes as a migraine headache. Both may have a genetic link, with those who have a family history of migraines being more susceptible to them.
The cause of ocular migraines can be down to reduced blood flow in the retina. The blood vessels to the eye suddenly narrow, reducing the blood flow to the eye. Many triggers may contribute to the onset of an ocular migraine, and they may differ from person to person.
Triggers can include stress, lack of sleep, smoking and certain foods like caffeine, chocolate or red wine. Ocular migraines are more common in women, and more common amongst those under 40.
Don’t Miss: Amitriptyline 10 Mg Migraine
Why Do I Get Ocular Migraines
Migraines are caused by cortical spreading depression, a medical term used to describe abnormal electrical activity in the brain that typically starts in the occipital lobe and spreads through the rest of the brain at a slow but steady pace. Ocular migraines may be caused by this same phenomenon that takes place in the retina of the eye.
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.
Read Also: How To Beat Migraines Naturally
Causes And Risk Factors
Although the exact physiology of retinal migraine is unknown, one theory is that it may result from vasospasm, a narrowing of vessels that supply blood to the retina or that are part of the ciliary body of the eye.
Whatever the mechanism, like all types of migraine headaches, retinal migraines tend to be brought on by specific triggers such as stress, high blood pressure, smoking, and more.
Retinal migraines, in particular, may be triggered by:
- Staring at a screen for long periods
- Spending time in fluorescent or other harsh lighting
- Driving long distances or participating in other taxing visual activities
People believed to be at increased risk of retinal migraine headaches include those who:
- Are in their 20s or 30sin particular women, due to hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle
- Have a history of other types of migraine
- Have a family history of migraine headache
- Have lupus, atherosclerosis, or sickle cell disease
How Do You Treat Ocular Migraines
Treatment isnt always necessary for ocular migraines as symptoms usually go away own their own after about half an hour. Wed recommend resting your eyes until your symptoms pass, and taking painkillers as recommended if you have an accompanying headache. Otherwise, the best thing you can do is to avoid exposure to common triggers.
However, because ocular migraine symptoms are similar to those caused by a stroke-type event in the eye, its important that you seek medical advice from your GP quickly so that further investigations can be considered.
If you have any concerns about the frequency of your ocular migraines, visit your GP who may also be able to recommend further treatment.
Read Also: What Causes Migraines And Blurred Vision
Visual Disturbance Of Migraine Is Short
The visual disturbances of migraine generally last less than an hour, most commonly 10-30 minutes. Sometimes they only last seconds. They may or may not be associated with a headache, and some individuals only experience the visual symptoms without headaches. The visual symptoms usually start before the headache but may occur during the headache.
To complicate the issue, migraine may change throughout life. The character of the headache may change, and the visual symptoms may change. The most common pattern is for the headaches to become less severe or even go away, with episodes of visual aura persisting. Some people only experience migraine-related visual symptoms, often without headache, starting at age 50 or later.
Donât Miss: Can Citric Acid Cause Migraines
Treatment Options For Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraine is not well understood, and some treatments are supportive in nature, meant only to help deal with symptoms.
Certain medications can also be helpful in preventing an episode. Triptans, which are sometimes used to treat other types of migraines, are not typically used to treat ocular migraines. Some of the medications that may be used to treat ocular migraine include:
Read Also: Can Aspartame Give You Headaches
Ocular Migraines And Aura
There are two types of migraines that are referred to as ocular migraines. Some people refer to migraines with auras as ocular migraines.
Some people experience an aura approximately 10 to 30 minutes before a migraine sets in. Aura symptoms can include:
- numbness or tingling in the hands or face
- feeling mentally foggy or fuzzy
- disrupted sense of touch, taste, or smell
- seeing blind spots, shimmering spots, flashing lights, or zig-zag lines
Not all people with migraines will experience auras.
Ocular migraines may also refer to eye-related migraines that come with visual disturbances that may or may not come with a headache pain. These are known as ophthalmic migraines. Ocular migraines can include some or all of the aura symptoms listed above. Ocular migraines are typically the result of migraine activity in the visual cortex of the brain.
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, about30 million;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.
Also Check: How To Fake A Migraine To A Doctor
Symptoms Of An Ocular Migraine
The International Headache Society has defined the symptoms that are typical of a retinal or ocular migraine. These symptoms are monocular , temporary, and include:
- Scintillations:;seeing something that looks like flash of light, lightning, or a sparkle. Halos or lines may also be seen.
- Scotoma: a temporary blind spot, black spot, blurriness, or a partial loss of vision.
- Blindness: partial or complete blindness in one eye.
- Migraine headache:;The symptoms in the eye are accompanied by a headache that can last from a few hours to a few days. The headache is often located on the same side of the head as the eye that is experiencing symptoms.
- Other: Symptoms that typically occur with a migraine may also occur, such as light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting.
Other types of migraines can cause visual problems, especially flashes of light and blind spots in the field of vision. The important distinction is that with an ocular migraine, these symptoms only occur in one eye.
It can be difficult to determine which eye is experiencing the symptoms, or if they are taking place in both eyes. A qualified healthcare professional can help determine the location of the symptoms while they are occurring.
If the symptoms cant be assessed at that time, a patient may try covering one eye. With one eye covered, it may be easier to tell which eye is affected, or if the problem is occurring in both eyes.
Ocular Migraines Treatment And Medication
Optical migraines are challenging to treat as they occur for a very short time and usually go away within an hour. It is necessary to consult a doctor who will recommend the medications according to the frequency of the migraines as the treatment usually focuses on preventing and reducing the symptoms.
Your doctor might suggest mediations that include:
- NSAIDs like ibuprofen for occasional ocular migraine
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline
- Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine
In certain cases, the medication used for treating epilepsy has also proved helpful with an ocular migraine.
If you are performing tasks that require a clear vision when an ocular migraine occurs, stop what you are doing and relax until it passes. Even if you are driving, pull off the road and wait for your vision to return to normal before moving forward.
Don’t Miss: How To Get A Migraine
How Often Do Ocular Migraines Occur In Human
Ophthalmic migraines are not unusual, particularly if you are a woman under age 40 with a history of migraines.
About 60 percent of migraine sufferers likewise experience a prodrome that takes place days or weeks before the migraine attack. Symptoms of a migraine prodrome can be subtle and may include modifications in state of mind, cravings for particular foods, or a basic sensation of being tired.
What Is An Eye Migraine
- A retinal migraine a rare phenomenon that usually affects monocular vision transiently.
- Duration of symptoms on average is 5 to 20 minutes.
- The prognosis for an ocular migraine is good.
- The frequency and intensity of the headache typically decrease.
- During prolonged periods of retinal, choroidal, or optic nerve hypoxia, permanent visual loss may occur.
You May Like: Stopping Nortriptyline For Migraines
Recommended Reading: How To Beat Migraines Naturally
Treating And Preventing Migraine With Aura Or Retinal Migraine
For infrequent attacks, medications that target symptoms can be effective, from NSAIDs for pain to anti-nausea medications. Preventative therapies including calcium channel blockers, antiepileptic or tricyclic medications. Quitting smoking is recommended and cessation of oral contraceptives may be advised in certain circumstances. Some options for relief without drugs can include resting your eyes, removing yourself from bright sunlight or other harsh lighting, and taking a break from looking at a screen. As with all types of migraine, try to avoid triggers like stress, dehydration, high altitude, low blood sugar, excessive heat and extensive time spent staring at a screen.
While the symptoms can be disorienting and distressing, they are often short-lived, and almost always reversible. Take some time away from triggers and wait for the symptoms to fade. For more information, visit the American Migraine Foundations resource center, which includes content specifically related to Migraine with Aura, Retinal Migraine and more. The American Migraine Foundation is committed to providing comfort and information to people living with this disease. You are not alone: find your support network today.
What Should You Do If You Have An Ocular Migraine
If you note ocular migraine symptoms, your actions will depend on the severity of the symptoms and how much they affect your ability to function. Since ocular migraines are generally painless, you may be able to continue with your normal daily activities, especially if symptoms are confined to one eye or wear off quickly. You should also follow these steps:
Make sure that you are in a place where you do not require visual clarity. If you are on the road, for example, you should pull over as soon as it is possible to do so safely. If you suffer complete blindness, sit or lie down and wait for the migraine to pass. Ocular migraines may also be disorienting, so you may need to sit down while waiting for symptoms to stop.
See if you can isolate a trigger. If possible, note what is going on in your environment that could have triggered a migraine, whether you note that you are highly stressed, that there are extremely bright or flashing lights in the room, or that you have recently consumed a specific food.
Contact your doctor if needed. While ocular migraines are generally harmless, you should consult your doctor to rule out any larger problems, especially if you have recently had an ocular migraine for the first time or frequency appears to be increasing. In some cases, your doctor may be able to help you manage ocular migraines with medication. In other cases, they may work with you to help isolate a trigger, which can help you avoid potential future episodes.
Recommended Reading: Ear Piercing Reduces Migraines