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What Helps With Ocular Migraines

What To Do In The Event Of An Ocular Migraine

Ocular Migraine – Self-Help, Self-Cure Through Trial and Error

The American Heart Association publishes that migraine aura and visual disturbances occur about 20 percent of the time in the event of a migraine and can be a possible risk factor for ischemic stroke. Research findings show that if you suffer from migraine with aura, you are more than two times more likely to suffer from a blood clot or mass that clogs the blood vessel and leads to an ischemic stroke.

An ocular migraine can interfere with blood vessels in the brain, which in turn may raise the odds for clots and strokes. For this reason, if you suffer from ocular migraines, you should contact your health care provider to get it checked out and ensure that your risk factors are identified and addressed.

When suffering from an ocular migraine, it is important to take care of yourself. Try to manage the pain and symptoms as best you can. This may include:

  • Moving to a quiet and dark room.
  • Laying down and resting your eyes.
  • Drinking a lot of water.
  • Placing a cool compress on your head.
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or anti-nausea medications.

Try to stay still in a safe place while the visual headache passes. Don’t attempt to read, drive, or do anything else that requires extreme focus, concentration, or visual attention.

A Guide To Ocular Migraine: Everything You Need To Know

We have all experienced different types of headaches. Most adults get headaches now and then, but how do you know if its serious? But there is a throbbing excruciating pain in your head that usually signals that you do not have a normal headache.

These are signs that you might be having a migraine. The most common neurological disorder is the migraine. It is estimated that a whopping 30 million Americans are suffering from migraines each year. What is even worse is that if you suffer from migraines, you are more likely to suffer a stroke.

Different types of migraines are caused by different things, each with a different set of symptoms.

An ocular migraine is a type of migraine that involves visual interference. Since some migraines, including the ocular migraine with aura, can show similar symptoms as life-threatening conditions, you need to know the differences and knowing when it as an emergency.

Treatment Of Ocular Migraine

Treatment of ocular migraine involves both prevention and management of pain. If you experience more than four migraines per month, you will most likely need prescription drugs for treatment.;

The best way to prevent ocular migraine is to avoid things that trigger them. Since an ocular migraine attack usually lasts for an average of 30 minutes and maximum of one hour, you should rest immediately until it passes and avoid activities that will be unsafe without clear vision. You should also avoid other triggers during an ocular migraine.;

Ocular migraine can be treated with both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. OTC medications can be purchased without a prescription, but you will need a valid prescription from a doctor to get prescription medications to treat migraine.;

Read Also: Where Do Migraines Usually Start

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.

Taking Medication Is One Way To Stop Them Quickly

Ocular Migraines: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Tips

The first symptoms occurring can appear to be like flashing lights, blind spots or zig-zag patterns.

When these start, taking a pain reliever can help relax the nerves in the brain and can possibly help prevent a headache from accompanying the ocular migraine.

See your physician to find the best medication to take to stop your ocular migraine symptoms with your unique body. You may need a stronger medication if this progresses to the nasty;pain phase.

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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.

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.

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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.

Frequent Ocular Migraines: Should I Be Concerned

Headache Treatments : Ocular Migraine Treatment

Home » Blog » Frequent Ocular Migraines: Should I Be Concerned?

Ocular migraines can interfere with your ability to perform routine tasks like reading, writing, or driving as they cause visual disturbances and even temporary vision loss.; Seek help from pain doctors experienced in diagnosing and treating every type of headache if your symptoms are occurring too frequently and the episodes last longer than the previous ones. Pain management experts at Advanced Headache Center can diagnose the true causes of your pain and recommend the best line of treatment to provide relief.

Also Check: How To Treat Ocular Migraine

Finding Ocular Migraine Relief

rebound headachesdating back to the mid-1980sAxon Optics migraine glassesResources:;

  • NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/retinal-migraine.
  • Retinal Migraine Is an Oxymoron : Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology.;LWW, Oxford University Press, journals.lww.com/jneuro-ophthalmology/Fulltext/2007/03000/_Retinal_Migraine__is_an_Oxymoron.1.aspx.
  • Anonymous .;Arizona RETINA Project, azretina.sites.arizona.edu/content/ocular-migraines-0.
  • Carson-DeWitt, Rosalyn, and Colleen Doherty. What to Know About Retinal and Ocular Migraines.;Verywell Health, Verywellhealth, www.verywellhealth.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-retinal-and-ocular-migraines-3862386.
  • Doyle, E, et al.;The British Journal of Ophthalmology, Copyright 2004 British Journal of Ophthalmology, Feb. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1772006/.
  • Most Cases Labeled as Retinal Migraine Are Not Migraine : Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology.;LWW, Oxford University Press, journals.lww.com/jneuro-ophthalmology/Fulltext/2007/03000/Most_Cases_Labeled_as__Retinal_Migraine__Are_Not.2.aspx.
  • Nichols, Hannah. Retinal Migraine: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.;Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314917.php.
  • Ocular Migraines Explained All About Vision .;All About Vision, www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/ocular-migraine.htm.
  • Headaches Behind The Eye Or Ocular Migraines

    Its important not to confuse ocular migraines with generalised headaches behind the eye. Ocular migraines happen as a result of reduced blood flow to the eye, due to a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels, and usually occur in just one eye.;

    On the other hand, headaches behind the eyes are usually a symptom of traditional headache-type migraines, which can be caused by a number of conditions and external stimuli. Sensitivity to bright light , some prescription medications or simply staring at digital screens for too long can all lead to migraines and headaches behind the eyes.

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    Deterrence And Patient Education

    It is critical to educate the patients about the red flags of vision loss. A visual loss that patients;describe as darkness requires immediate medical attention and an emergency room visit. Patients must understand that this could be a sign of a stroke or an irreversible eye condition. Visual changes that are more consistent with migraine phenomenon are usually positive such as flashing light. Patients must also be taught that those could come without a headache or any pain. Preventive therapy is important to reduce the frequency of attacks and severity and must be;taken on a daily basis.;

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    For almost a year, I had times when I would see a certain shimmering in my eyes. I ignored it. If I was working on my computer, I found a reason to get up and do something, and usually, when I sat back down, it was gone. The picture you see is the “pattern.” The jagged lines follow no particular shape. They seem to be random, just silver-colored lines.

    My husband and I have a knack for ignoring any health problem until it becomes impossible to do so any longer. I remember having the jagged lights frequently before I decided they might be a warning of a stroke. At that point, I bit the bullet. The thing that made them “different” or caused me to make a decision about getting help was the fact that I was working on an expedited deposition and could no longer see well enough to continue working. When they occurred before, I always got up and walked around, I suppose, long enough for them to go away. Sitting still made me realize they were obscuring my vision.

    What I see when in the throes of an ocular migraine: disrupted images.

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    These Migraines Do Not Cause Damage But See Your Doctor Anyway

    Although typically, the ocular migraines do not cause damage, see a doctor to double check.

    The doctor can prescribe medication such as Cafergot, which slows down the blood flow changes and can help to relieve the pain during or following the ocular migraine.

    Your condition may be another more serious problem such as retinal detachment or an aneurysm. So its important to rule out the serious stuff first.

    Triggers Of Ocular Migraine

    Certain triggers can cause the onset of an ocular migraine attack. Triggers will be different for every person and recognizing what these triggers are can reduce the frequency of their occurrence, or help prevent them from occurring at all. Some common triggers include:

    • Bright or harsh lights

    -Tyramine containing foods like soy products, certain cheeses or sausages

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    Should I Be Concerned About Ocular Migraines

    Q: I recently found out by looking on the Web that my symptoms point to ocular migraines. I have also discovered that flashing lights sometimes bring these on. I am an intensive care unit nurse who believes in not running to doctors for every little thing, but should I be concerned?

    Dr. Jerry W. Swanson responds:

    Not necessarily, but here’s what you should know. Ocular is a term that usually refers to a condition known as migraine visual aura, which involves episodes of passing visual disturbances, such as bright spots, affecting both eyes. Visual aura usually precedes a migraine . However, it may also occur during a headache. In some cases, as with ocular migraine, people experience the symptoms of visual aura without getting a headache. The symptoms of an aura usually begin slowly and last 15 to 30 minutes, although they sometimes persist for up to an hour.

    Often, the symptoms of ocular migraine begin near the center of vision as either a bright spot or area of visual loss that spreads to involve one-quarter or one-half of the visual field. Zigzag lines or other shapes may also appear. For some people, these shapes resemble the walls of a medieval fortress. In fact, the term “fortification spectrum” is used by neurologists to describe it.

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    Ocular Migraine Treatments And Prevention

    Pain Pain Go Away Ocular Migraine

    Except for the auras, the development of migraines is quite unpredictable. However, environmental and other physical factors that trigger episodes of the disorder;can be controlled to reduce the chances of migraine occurrence. First, you need to keep a clear record of your visual disturbance episodes in order to identify possible triggers specific to you.

    If medications or contraceptives are the likely precipitants for your migraines, consider talking to your doctor about changing the dosage, or stopping the drug. You can also choose another method of contraception that is less likely to affect your health, with the help of a qualified health care provider.

    Adequate nutrition with abstinence from caffeine and smoking can also be effective in preventing visual headaches. However, smoking withdrawal may cause severe side effects and requires the guidance of trained personnel.

    Sleep disorders such as insomnia are significant triggers of migraines. Having enough rest is therefore key in ensuring youre free of the attacks.

    Other therapies such as natural supplements can resolve or prevent the symptoms of migraines, but you need to discuss the possible side effects with your doctor.

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    Symptoms Of Retinal Migraine

    The symptoms of retinal migraine may include:

    • partial or total loss of vision in 1 eye ;this usually lasts 10 to 20 minutes before vision gradually returns
    • headache ;this may happen before, during or after the vision attack

    It’s unusual for an episode of vision loss to last longer than an hour. The same eye is affected every time in almost all cases.

    Vision may slowly become blurred or dimmed, or there may be flashes of light. Some people see a mosaic-like pattern of blank spots , which enlarge to cause total loss of vision.

    Are Retinal And Ocular Migraines The Same Thing

    To understand this, its helpful to know basic migraine terminology first. Basically, migraine is a headache disorder with two main types: migraine without aura and migraine with aura. When a migraine is accompanied by other symptoms, such as changes in vision, hearing, sensation, or even speech, this is referred to as migraine with aura. These symptoms are temporary. They usually start at the same time as the migraine, or they can occur up to 60 minutes before the headache.;

    Visual symptoms occur in over 90% of people who have migraine with aura and usually affect both eyes. They can include:

    • Small blind spots with bright colors or jagged lines around the edges
    • Flashing lights
    • Blurry or foggy vision;
    • Feeling like youre seeing distorted shapes and sizes

    Sometimes the term ocular migraine is used to refer to visual changes that can happen in migraine with aura.;

    Retinal migraine is a separate diagnosis, as well discuss below. It is characterized by temporary attacks of vision loss, which occurs in just one eye. In most cases the vision loss happens at the same time as the migraine headache or just before. Retinal migraines are rare, and some experts believe this vision loss is not due to migraine at all. However, the International Headache Society classifies retinal migraine under the umbrella of migraine with aura.

    Retinal migraine characteristics include:

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    Read Also: How To Help Someone With A Migraine

    My Visit With A Neurologist And His Advice And Counsel

    When I am having one of the migraines, I can see, but the jagged silvery, shimmering lights block parts of my view. Once I decided to do something about the whole situation, I felt relieved. My primary care doctor recommended a neurologist and I made an appointment.

    I was comforted when the doctor who walked in the examination room wore SAS shoes, casual clothes and was about my age, mid-70s. He introduced himself, we talked about life in general for about five minutes, then he asked me to describe my symptoms. I did, telling him that I get a circle of jagged silver lights in the center of my vision. They shimmer and shine and gradually move toward the outside of my vision and finally go away. It seems to be a process that takes about 10 to 15 minutes. When I was ignoring it, I realize now that I likely fiddled around, putting in a load of clothes, getting the mail, putting up clean clothes, etc., long enough for it to run its course. I told him I was concerned that it might be a visual disturbance that had some connection to stroke. I have AFib, which is no big deal, but I am more careful with anything having to do with my heart or vascular system these days.

    I learned the headaches are annoying but harmlesslike seeing half a squirrel!

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