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Do Migraines Cause Blurred Vision

Tracking Your Migraine Symptoms

Can glaucoma cause blurred vision and headache? – Dr. Sirish Nelivigi

Keeping a record of your migraine symptoms may help you figure out patterns and triggers to your attacks. It may be helpful to record such things as:

  • When and where your pain or symptoms start
  • Whether the pain spreads to your entire head or neck
  • How well and how quickly acute treatment helps reduce the pain or other symptoms
  • How long your pain or symptoms last
  • Whether you experience other symptoms such as vision changes, nausea, or light sensitivity

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 ibuprofen or Excedrin migraine 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

Vestibular Migraines / Migraine

You have been living with unbearable symptoms of dizziness, nausea and blurred vision for too long. When episodes hit, the dizziness is bad, and you might feel like everything around you is spinning, and that the ground is going to move out from under you. Each time you open your eyes you feel sick and off-balance. This feeling might last for several minutes or it could last for days. You might even get headaches. Youve been told these symptoms might be due to a nervous system issue called Vestibular Migraine or Migraine-Associated Vertigo.

You have tried everything to treat this condition from medications and changing your diet, to getting enough sleep, eliminating caffeine, exercising regularly, even learning how to manage your stress better. But no matter how much you try, your symptoms are still severe, and episodes keep occurring.

For those of you who have been wondering if there is something more that can be done, there is hope. You might not have vestibular migraines, but instead have a condition related to your eyes.

Since only 1 percent of the U.S. population has vestibular migraines / migraine-associated vertigo, it is quite possible that your symptoms could be due to a much more common condition called Binocular Vision Dysfunction , which impacts 10%-20% of the population.

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Diseases Associated With Blurred Vision

Head injury: Any injury to the head is considered to be a medical emergency and can range from a bump or bruise to a traumatic injury. Head injuries can be open or closed, and treatment will depend on the location and severity of the injury. Concussions can interfere with vision, and damage or swelling near the optical nerves will also cause blurred vision.

Low blood sugar: Hypoglycemia is potentially dangerous, and is common among people with diabetes. While high blood sugar can cause swelling in the eye, low blood sugar causes blurred vision or double vision. This can be avoided by monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels.

Cataracts: This is a condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and occurs with aging. As a result, vision becomes foggy and blurred like looking through a frosted window. Cataract surgery is the best treatment option to restore clear vision.

Macular degeneration: Blurred vision is one of the first symptoms of this eye disease. There is no cure, but there are treatment options such as medications and laser surgery available to help correct vision.;

Glaucoma: This is an eye disorder associated with increased pressure inside the eye. The first sign is blurred or double vision, and if left untreated, this can develop into peripheral vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops as well as surgical methods.

What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain

Headache Nausea Dizziness Blurred Vision

Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.

Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:

  • Excedrin® Migraine.
  • Advil® Migraine.
  • Motrin® Migraine Pain.

Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.

Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:

Triptan class of drugs :

  • Sumatriptan.
  • Butterbur.
  • Co-enzyme Q10.

Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.

Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.

All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.

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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.

Treatment Of Ocular Migraine:

It is good idea to consult an eye doctor to ensure that you are not suffering from other conditions that could cause similar symptoms. Diseases like retinal artery spasm, auto-immune diseases, drug abuse etc needs to be ruled out. Ocular migraine symptoms are temporary and subside by themselves after 30 minutes or so. So, in most cases no eye treatment is needed. It is recommended that person should rest while the attack lasts and can take pain killers if associated headache is severe. In rare cases depending on the severity doctor may advise some other medications for the migraine associated with temporary blurry vision or other symptoms like flashes, black spots etc.

In conclusion, blurred vision and headache can occur together. It is recommended to get an eye check-up done and rule out more serious causes of the same.

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How Is The Visual System Involved

Your bodys visual system is involved in your migraine attacks in different ways. You are probably aware of the visual auras that can come before an attack, but what you might not know yet is that they also consist of categories: positive, negative, and distorted visual symptoms.

Cortical spreading depression is currently believed to be the function that underlies it. “Even in migraine without aura, vision is not totally excluded given that one of the major criteria for the diagnosis of migraine is photophobia.”;

For example, in persistent visual aura, many migraine patients refer to symptoms as visual snow and television static.;

In retinal migraine one-sided decreased vision or complete visual loss occurs.;

Ophthalmoplegic migraine symptoms are characterized by “palsy of one among the three ocular motor nerves.”;

What Is Migraine Aura Without Pain

What causes sudden blurred vision?

Migraine aura without pain includes changes in vision or changes in the other senses and speech but no head pain. Symptoms gradually build over 5 to 20 minutes and then go away after about 1 hour. The lack of head pain sets it apart from other types of migraine with aura. Also, no other disorder can be found to be blamed for the symptoms.1

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Fundus Exam Found Optic Nerve Hyperemia In Both Eyes Rpe Loss In The Right Macula And Scattered Yellow

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A 28-year-old woman presented to the department of ophthalmology at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center with 2 months of headaches and progressive visual changes in both eyes.

Two months before presentation, she was evaluated by an outside retina specialist for headache and blurred vision in her right eye. At that time, she was noted to have mild anterior uveitis in the right eye, but by report, no etiology was identified, and no medications were started. Over the next month, our patient developed several small scotomas in her left eye in addition to the blurred vision in her right eye. She also had several severe migraines with one requiring pain medication in the emergency department, which was unusual for her.

The patients medical history was notable for migraines, obesity, ADHD and a remote history of microscopic colitis diagnosed by biopsy for which she had never received therapy. A comprehensive review of systems was positive for headaches and neck stiffness. On social history, she did not use illicit drugs or alcohol. She had multiple sexual partners in the last 2 years, including a current relationship with a same-sex partner. She had no preceding viral illness before her vision changes and had no other systemic symptoms during this period. She did not have eye redness, discharge, pain or irritation and had no flashes or floaters.


Blurred Vision Associated With Head Or Body Movements

Patients that develop an injury to their inner, or vestibular system, can develop blurred vision.; The vestibular system is critical in maintaining balance, but particularly of the eyes when the head moves.; A reflex, called the vestibulo-ocular reflex, or VOR, is designed to dampen head movement as fine as reading a book to as significant as being ona bouncing boat in a choppy sea.; When the VOR becomes dysfunction, a phenomenon occurs called oscillopsia.;

In laymans terms, think of an oscillating fan and trying to see the fan blades moving.; This is the same phenomenon people experience with oscillopsia and a VOR weakness.;

Patients will often go to their optometrist or an ophthalmologist thinking that there is something wrong with their eyes.; The oscillopsia can make you feel dizziness symptoms like nausea and a sense of being off balance.; The actual origin comes from the dysfunction of the inner ears not being able to keep up with the movement of your leading to to strange sensation.

The grest thing about most forms of oscillopsia is that it is treatable by the physical therapists at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers.; The therapist can objectively measure the VOR dysfunction using a special test called a Dynamic Visual Acuity test or DVA.; With the information from the DVA, the therapist can prescribe specific exercises to help the brain recognize the oscillopsia and stabilize your vision.

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The Best Candidates For Polarized Lenses

People who work outside in bright sunlight are great candidates for polarized lenses, as are sports enthusiasts, especially those doing water or snow sports.

The same goes for beachgoers who sunbathe with zeal. Polarized lenses can block out glare bouncing off the water and make for a more pleasant experience at the beach.

Golfers also favor polarized lenses because, again, they reduce glare, but they are also able to see more contrast. In fact, ;pro-golfer Robert Allenby told Eyecare Business magazine, The color helps me see the definition of the grass and covers all climates and light scenarios.

If youre someone who suffers from light sensitivity, then polarized lenses might be the way to go, as well, since over-exposure to glare and bright lights can cause headaches.

Note that transitional lenseslenses that automatically adjust to lighting conditionsare polarized. ;

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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine

Headache Dizziness Blurred Vision Nausea

Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:

  • Visual symptoms or vision loss.
  • Sensory symptoms .

Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:

  • The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
  • Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.

Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
  • Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.

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Neurological Causes For Blurry Vision And Headache

Conditions that affect the brain, nerves or spinal cord can also lead to blurry vision and headaches. Its important to seek medical attention quickly after symptoms begin, as some of these conditions can be life-threatening.

  • Migraine Symptoms of migraine sometimes include light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, tunnel vision and eye floaters. Effects typically last less than an hour.

  • Pseudotumor cerebri Occurs when fluid collects in the brain. Symptoms also include ringing in ears, dizziness, depression, nausea and vomiting.

  • Stroke In addition to blurred vision and sudden extreme headache, symptoms include confusion, numbness or weakness in half of the body/face, trouble speaking and lack of coordination.

  • Brain trauma Traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, presents symptoms like confusion, dizziness, sleepiness, ringing in the ears, confusion, nausea/vomiting, loss of consciousness and trouble with memory or concentration.

  • Temporal arteritis Occurs when blood vessels near your temples become inflamed. Common symptoms include a throbbing, persistent headache on both sides of your head, jaw pain, fever, muscle aches, and scalp or temple sensitivity.

Blurred Vision And Headache: 7 Symptoms You Need To Know About

Written and verified by Holly Hazen

There are lots of reasons why you might have blurred vision and headache. The more serious ones are: a brain tumor, head injury, stroke, low or high blood pressure. There are also various eye diseases that could cause your vision to become blurry. Its also one of the most common symptoms of headaches and migraine.;

And these visual disturbances can occur before, during and after the headache or pain phase of an attack.;

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Reducing Eye Strain And Migraines

There are some easy things that you can do to reduce eye strain.

  • Remember to blink. When we look at digital screens for long periods of time, we dont blink often enough. This can cause eye strain.
  • Take breaks. Use the 20/20/20 rule, where you take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and focus on something that is at least 20 feet away from you.
  • Modify display settings. Many digital devices are too bright, which cause strain on the eyes from constantly looking at a bright light source. Adjust the screen so that its no brighter than the ambient light around you.

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Can Poor Vision Trigger A Migraine

Sudden Blurry Vision | What causes sudden blurred vision and what to do about it.

If you have poor vision, you may squint a lot or hold items up close or far away from your face in order to see them clearly. This can have a negative impact on your vision over time. You could also strain your eyes by reading in poor lighting. When your eyes are constantly straining to see properly, it could trigger a migraine. Having a comprehensive eye exam by a trusted eye doctor is one step you can take to make sure poor vision is one less thing that could trigger a migraine for you.

Additionally, there are eye conditions that can trigger migraines including glaucoma. Glaucoma causes the pressure to build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve. In order to relieve these migraines, the conditions must be treated.

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Common Causes Of Blurred Vision In One Eye

There are many common causes of blurry vision in one eye. Blurred vision in one eye may indicate disorders in the brain or central nervous systems, like headaches or optic neuritis.

Some common causes of blurred vision in one eye include:

Refractive errors

Refractive errors include astigmatism, nearsightedness , and farsightedness . These are some of the most common eye problems that cause blurred vision in one eye.

Corneal abrasion

Corneal abrasion refers to trauma to the eye. This can occur through injury from a foreign object.

Retinal detachment

If your retina tears from the back of your eye it will lose its nerve and blood supply. You’ll see black flecks followed by blurred or absent vision.


Some medicines can lead to blurred vision in one eye. However, they would usually affect both eyes.


Diabetes can lead to cataract or retinal conditions that result in blurred vision.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes a loss of vision in the macula. This is the part of the retina responsible for noticing detail in the central vision.


Cataracts is the loss of transparency or clouding in the lens of the eye.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes can lead to blurry sight issues.


Conditions that occur in the brain, like migraines, can lead to the blurriness of the eyes.



Eye strain


Giant cell arteritis





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