How Can They Be Prevented
The most effective thing you can do to prevent frequent ocular migraines is to identify your triggers and avoid those things. Pay attention to how you are feeling and your activities before the migraine was triggered. Keep a journal of these triggers and episodes so you can review your history to identify patterns.
Improving overall health can be beneficial in preventing ocular migraines. For example, make sure that you are sleeping enough at night, making healthy dietary choices, and managing stress effectively. Since sleep, stress, and food can all be migraine triggers, these daily habits can reduce the likelihood of being triggered with a migraine.
Sometimes, migraine medication is recommended as a treatment option. For example, your doctor might write a prescription that can be used when the symptoms start to occur. It can be helpful to keep the medicine on hand so the migraine can be stopped in the earliest stages.
Signs And Symptoms Of An Ocular Migraine
Symptoms of an ocular migraine are called auras which can present as a variety of disturbances in your vision. Patients often describe their symptoms as heat waves, dark spots, flickering lights or loss of peripheral vision. Other areas of the brain can also be affected by these blood vessel constrictions causing symptoms such as vertigo, hearing loss, nausea, difficulty speaking, or difficulty with concentration. These auras can be very disconcerting, often sending many patients to the emergency room.
What Causes Vision Effects From Migraines
Nobody knows for sure how migraines are caused, although many contributing factors have been identified.
- Family history
Migraine headaches typically occur on one side of the head and cause throbbing pain, but the features often vary. Migraineurs often experience a bilateral event, meaning that the pain can be felt anywhere around the head or neck.
A majority of migraineurs experience early symptoms. Forewarning of a migraine may occur hours to days before a headache event. Although the specific symptoms vary, they tend to remain the same for a given individual over time. These warning symptoms may include the following:
Some migraineurs experience aura. Aura is defined as focused symptoms that grow over 5-15 minutes and generally last about an hour. In most cases, the migraine headache follows the aura. However, the two events can happen at the same time, or the aura may develop after the headache starts. With aura, visual symptoms are most common and include the following:
Motor symptoms like hemiparesis and aphasia may occur but much less frequently.
Some people have auras only, without headaches. Treatment is usually unnecessary once the diagnosis is recognized and the migraineur reassured about it. If the aura always occurs on the same side, the risk of brain tumor or other abnormality is greater than in persons with routine headaches.
Typical headache characteristics are as follows:
Physical examination findings
Read Also: Daith Piercing Tension Headaches
What Are The ‘red Flags’ That My Visual Symptoms Are Not Due To Migraine
The typical symptoms of a visual migraine are positive, meaning that there is something shimmering or sparkling that is disrupting the vision. Migraines are less likely to cause “negative” symptoms of pure visual darkness. An episode of visual darkness typically requires additional evaluation for other conditions, including a mini-stroke .
How To Prevent Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraines are headaches that lead to temporary vision loss or visual distortion. They are different from normal migraines, as one eye is affected in it. Ocular migraines are rare, but they can be treated. Here is how you can treat and prevent ocular migraines.
The main reasons of trigger behind ocular migraines are:
- Bending for long duration
Once you have determined what triggers your migraine, you can avoid that cause which started it. You can find solutions for it too then. For example, if smoking has started it, start quitting smoking.
There are medications for ocular migraine available, like beta-blocker, calcium channel blocker and tricyclic anti depressant etc but dont ever self medicate yourself without consulting a doctor. A very simple drug to take is aspirin in case of a sudden pain.
Don’t Miss: Migraine Medicine Side Effects
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:
- beta blockers, to relax blood vessels
- calcium channel blockers, which can prevent the blood vessels from constricting
- anti-epileptics or antidepressants, which are sometimes used to treat and prevent migraines
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
From Ocular Migraines To Heart Valve Repair This Is Jims Story
By Adam Pick on June 4, 2015
Together, weve learned a lot about the symptoms of heart valve disease. Weve also learned that many patients have no symptoms. That said, getting a proper diagnosis for any type of valvular disorder can be a bit tricky and, in some situations, quite dangerous.
During a recent trip to Chicago, I connected with Jim Kelly, 56, from Wheeling, Illinois. During our chat, Jim revealed a very unique, diagnostic story that resulted in mitral valve repair surgery. This is Jims story.
Keep on tickin Jim!Adam
P.S. To help the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript of the video below:
Dr. Patrick McCarthy: Im Executive Director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and I run the cardiac surgery program here at Northwestern. In my career Ive done over 10,000 heart operations, and probably about 5,000 or more have been heart valve surgery. I do the vast majority of cardiac surgery. In my career, Ive done heart transplants and assist devices. Now really Im about 90% focused on heart valve surgery, both aortic and mitral valve surgery bicuspid aortic valve disease and associated aneurysms lots of complex reoperations and also patients with atrial fibrillation.
You May Like: How Common Are Visual Migraines
How Is Retinal Migraine Diagnosed
There arent any specific tests to diagnose a retinal migraine.
If you see a doctor or optometrist during a retinal migraine attack, they may use a tool called an ophthalmoscope to check for decreased blood flow to your eye, but this generally isnt feasible because attacks are usually brief.
Doctors typically diagnose a retinal migraine by investigating the symptoms, conducting a general examination, and reviewing a personal and family medical history.
Retinal migraine is usually diagnosed by a process of exclusion, meaning that symptoms such as transient blindness cant be explained by other serious eye diseases or conditions.
If you need help finding a primary care doctor or optometrist, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
A Cure For Ocular Migraines
Q: I read your article on ocular migraines and I have some questions. I’ve been taking medication for GERD for seven years and have been a long-distance runner for seven years. After about five years of this, I started getting ocular migraines. Eventually, they started occurring several times per week.
I read some information that suggested taking B vitamins, especially B12, might help. I tried that. Within two weeks, the ocular migraines were gone. Could this really be the root of the problem? If so, maybe it would help others if you considered adding this to the article. S.S.
A: I am aware of a few research studies that have demonstrated a relationship between B vitamins and folic acid intake and a reduction in the frequency of migraine headaches. However, I’m not aware that any of these studies were specific to ophthalmic migraines. Nonetheless, thank you very much for this information. Dr. Slonim
Schedule an exam
Also Check: Diarrhea With Migraine
What Causes Ocular And Visual Migraines
Ocular migraines are believed to have the same causes as migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches have a genetic basis, and some studies say that up to 70 percent of people who suffer from the disorder have a family history of migraine headaches.
According to the World Health Organization, migraine headaches appear to be triggered by activation of a mechanism deep in the brain, which releases inflammatory substances around nerves and blood vessels in the head and brain.
Imaging studies have revealed changes in blood flow to the brain during ocular migraines and migraine auras. But why this happens and what brings about the spontaneous resolution of ocular migraines and visual migraines remain unknown.
Common migraine “triggers” that can cause a person to have a migraine attack include certain foods, such as aged cheeses, caffeinated drinks, red wine, smoked meats, and chocolate.
Food additives, such as monosodium glutamate , and artificial sweeteners also can trigger migraines in some people.
Other potential migraine triggers include cigarette smoke, perfumes and other strong odors, glaring or flickering lights, lack of sleep and emotional stress.
An Expert Explains How To Cope With Eyes Sensitive To Light
Wondering how to deal with light sensitivity? You’re not alone. Eyes sensitive to light, also called photophobia, is one of the most common and most debilitating Migraine symptoms.
Other common causes include computer fatigue, allergies, certain medications, and other neurological conditions. If you’re dealing with light sensitivity and watery eyes, it is probably aggravated either by something in your environment or by your habits
Curious about how to deal with light sensitivity? Wondering if there’s a link between LED lights and headaches? These tips for coping will help reduce the impact – without keeping you stuck inside all day.
Recommended Reading: Can Ocular Migraines Cause Numbness
A Guide To Healing Ocular Migraines
One in every 200 migraine patients experiences ocular or retinal migraines that can significantly affect their vision. These attacks are often preceded by aura, which typically affects both eyes. Patients might see spots, patterns or flashes of light before a headache develops, and symptoms range from light sensitivity to temporary vision loss. The worst ocular migraines can cause temporary blindness episode lasting several minutes, although the duration is usually less than an hour.
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
Also Check: Do Daith Piercings Help With Migraines
Ocular Migraine Vs Retinal Migraine
People may use the terms ocular migraine and retinal migraine to mean the same thing, but there are some important differences. An ocular migraine generally occurs in both eyes. A retinal migraine is rare and tends to occur in just one eye, when vessels that supply the eye with blood narrow. It usually lasts about 10 to 20 minutes and sometimes up to an hour. Symptoms are similar to ocular migraine and may also include complete, temporary vision loss in one eye.
Once the retinal migraine passes, blood vessels open back up and your vision returns to normal. Its a good idea to have retinal migraines checked out by a doctor to make sure symptoms are not signaling a more serious problem.
Can I Have A Visual Migraine Without A Headache
Definitely. It is actually very common to have a visual migraine without any headache. The medical term for this is acephalgic migraine, which literally means migraine symptoms without headache. Except for the absence of a headache, the visual symptoms in acephalgic migraine are identical to the episodes that accompany a classic migraine aura.
Also Check: Why Do Migraines Go Away After Vomiting
Ocular Migraines: Symptoms Causes And Treatment
Ocular migraines are non-permanent, visual disturbances that can have an effect on either one or both of your eyes. Such migraines are usually painless and will sometimes lead to blindness in one eye for a short time usually less than an hour. It is a rare problem, and researchers suggest that its symptoms will manifest as a result of other issues.
However, regular ocular migraine attacks can lead to other vision problems referred to as an aura, which involves flashing lights and blind spots. Other terms that are used to describe ocular migraines include eye migraines, ophthalmic migraines, or retinal migraines. This type of a migraine can interfere with your ability to perform specific functions such as driving, reading, and writing.
What Is The Connection Between Ocular Migraines And Stroke
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,especially among women. 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.
Don’t Miss: Migraine Cures When Pregnant
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.
How Long Does Retinal Migraine Last
The visual effects of a retinal migraine usually last no more than an hour.
Not all retinal migraine attacks come with a headache or nausea, but such symptoms may last longer potentially for more than a day.
Both children and adults of any age can experience retinal migraine. These tend to be more common in the following groups:
- people under 40 years old
- people with a family history of retinal migraine or headaches
- people with a personal history of migraine or headaches
People with certain illnesses that impact the blood vessels and eyes may also be at risk. These illnesses include:
Don’t Miss: Migraine Numb Fingers
What Is The Medical Treatment For Migraines
After making the diagnosis, the doctor should provide counseling about treatments that do not include taking drugs, for example, regular rest, good sleep habits, and exercise. The doctor may ask neurologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, and/or neurosurgeons for their opinions and help.
Migraineurs should avoid potential triggering factors.
- They may need to stop taking drugs that worsen the headache.
- If oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy might be a potential trigger mechanism, it is best to reduce dosages . If headaches persist, the migraineur, in consultation with the doctor, should consider stopping hormone therapy.