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.
How Is An Ocular Migraine Diagnosed
Ocular migraine is diagnosed with a patient history, physical examination, and other tests such as:
- Eye screening test
- Patient sits in a chair in a room with the lights out
- A doctor looks through the lenses of the ophthalmoscope to examine the eyes
- Patient may be asked to look in various directions during the examination
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.
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What Are Migraine Triggers
A number of factors can trigger a migraine, whether its ocular, retinal or classic migraine. The reasons can vary from person to person. If you have ocular migraines, pay attention to these possible triggers:
- Stress and anxiety
- Relaxation after a stressful time
- Loud sounds or bright lights
- Strong odors
- Changes in weather
Retinal migraines are more likely to be triggered by other factors: intense exercise, dehydration, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, hot temperatures and tobacco use.
Certain foods can trigger both types of visual migraines:
- Red wine or other alcohol
- Food and drink with caffeine
- Hot dogs, sausage and other processed meats that contain nitrates
- Chips, fast foods, broths and other products with the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate
- Artificial sweeteners
- Food with the naturally occurring compound tyramine, including smoked fish, cured meats and some soy products
What Causes Ocular Migraine
Migraine aura is considered to be a result of abnormal electrical activity involving certain regions of the cortex of the brain. This abnormal activity spreads across the cortex at a slow rate of about 3mm per minute and this spread is responsible for the growth and movement of the visual disturbance over the 20-60 minutes that the visual aura lasts. Retinal migraine may be due to the same type of disturbance except occurring at the back of the eye in the retina, or it may be due to a reduction in blood flow to the retina.
Like other types of migraine, harsh lights and electronic screens can be triggers. Straining your eyes by staring at a screen for long periods of time, spending time in fluorescent or other harsh lighting, driving long distances and other taxing visual activities can increase your risk for attacks. Talk to your eye doctor about how to avoid attacks.
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What Is A Migraine Aura
Migraine auras cause binocular visual distortions, but may also cause numbness or tingling, mental fog, or changes in taste, smell, or sense of touch.
An aura can occur with or without a migraine headache, and may sometimes precede the headache.
Migraine auras are quite common, affecting one in five migraine sufferers.
While the visual distortions are temporary, usually lasting around 30 minutes, they can impact your performance of certain activities, such as driving or reading.
The most common visual symptoms include:
- Glittering stars
- Psychedelic images
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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How Do You Get Rid Of An Ocular Migraine
Treatment for ocular migraines tends to focus on trigger avoidance once you know what brings on a migraine you can try to eliminate these factors. For example if you have an attack when youre tired, you should try to get enough sleep each night or fit a nap in during the day.
You can also use over the counter medication such as aspirin to reduce the pain and inflammation. Aspirin can also help to alleviate headaches or any discomfort you are feeling around the affected eye. Once the condition has been diagnosed by your GP you may be prescribed a number of medications such as beta blockers to help relax your blood vessels.
Signs And Causes Of Ocular Migraines
Signs and Causes of Ocular MigrainesMany people experience different kinds of migraines even without knowing. An ocular migraine occurs when you experience a blind spot, floating lines, patterns that look like they are zigzagging and flashes of lights. This flash of light can sometimes be accompanied by feelings of headache behind the eyes.What is an ocular migraine?An ocular migraine is a type of migraine that is caused by a set of visual disturbances which may or may not be accompanied by pain. This type of migraine is sometimes known as ophthalmic migraines. These migraines are characterized by a small blind spot at the center of ones vision. This blind spot starts to enlarge later and is often accompanied by flashing lights as well as other visual manifestations. Ocular migraines are typically nothing to worry about. A small percentage, around fourteen percent of the worlds population usually experience some type of migraine which include, retinal, traditional, ocular and other types of migraines.Types of Migraines
This type of migraine is mainly caused by a traditional migraine, which leads to an intense pain, usually on one side of the head. This type of pain can last for hours, or even days and is usually accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light. When experiencing ocular migraine, it can sometimes be followed by pain, but are usually more concentrates around the affected eye.
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What Triggers An Ocular Migraine
Ocular migraines can be triggered by a number of factors. Quite often, people are genetically predisposed to suffering more from migraines, especially women aged under 40. Otherwise, ocular migraines can be brought on by:
- Bending over or standing up quickly
- High altitude or changing weather
- Bright lights
- Consumption of certain foods, caffeine or alcohol
- Changes in hormone levels e.g. pregnancy or menopause
After your first episode, it is important to visit your doctor to check if there are any underlying conditions that caused your ocular migraine. Ocular migraines sometimes occur as a side effect of a number of health issues including:
- Brain tumours
- Inflammation in the brain
Finding out the cause of your ocular migraine could potentially help you get treatment for a more serious condition that you didnt know you had.
What Are The Preventive Treatments For Migraine
Many patients with isolated visual migraines, without severe headaches, have relatively infrequent episodes that do not require specific preventive treatments. If a patient is aware of the particular triggers that seem to bring on an episode, then those triggers can be avoided.
In patients where the pattern of migraines includes frequent, severe headaches, it is very reasonable to consider additional preventive treatments. The main goal for any of these strategies is to reduce the overall frequency and severity of the headaches. None of the preventive treatments is a magic bullet that is 100% effective. For example, it would be considered successful if a preventive treatment helped reduce the number of severe headaches from 8 per month to 2-4 per month.
There are numerous medications that can be used as a preventive treatment for migraine. One medication that is used commonly, particularly because it has no side effects, is vitamin B2 . Approximately 100mg of riboflavin daily is thought to improve migraine headaches . One common side effect of riboflavin is that the urine turns bright yellow. Other herbal medications used to reduce migraine headaches include petasites and feverfew.
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What Causes A Vestibular Migraine
Similarly to other types of migraine, vestibular migraines can be triggered by eating certain foods, the amount of caffeine you are having as well as stress. You might find that particular activities can worsen your symptoms or if you havent had as much sleep as you need. Taking care of yourself by eating regularly, finding time in your day to relax as well as exercise can help to keep you feeling well, and prevent migraine attacks.
How To Cope With Troublesome Symptoms
Find out if if you get more relief with ice or heat, from your ocular migraine symptoms and use that next time.
Learning what works as you go can be trial and error, but persevere… it is worth experimenting until you find what works.
Migraine Headache Music lists a variety of meditations and relaxing music you can download right now.
How do you cope with your ocular migraine symptoms? Let us know here.
Until next time, be well and be pain free.
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How Can I Prevent A Visual Migraine
Speak to your doctor to determine the best way to prevent a visual migraine. If you have specific triggers that bring on a migraine, then try to avoid these triggers as much as possible.
Some doctors may recommend certain medications that may help to reduce your risk of visual migraines, such as:
What Type Of Doctor Do You See For Ocular Migraines
If you have ocular migraines, you can see an ophthalmologist oran optometrist.
Optometrists are eye care specialists who offer primary vision care services, including:
- Vision testing
- Correction of visual problems
- Treatment and management of visual issues and eye diseases
On the other hand, ophthalmologists are medical practitioners who specialize in eye and vision care. They differ from optometrists in their degrees of schooling as well as what they can diagnose and cure.
An ophthalmologist is a healthcare professional who has finished college and has at least eight years of further medical studies. He or she is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. Ophthalmologists hold a Doctor of Medicine degree.
Optometrists are healthcare professionals who complete four additional years of school after finishing undergraduate studies. They hold a Doctor of Optometry degree.
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What Is A Visual Migraine
Visual migraines can mimic other serious conditions, making it very important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible if you experience any sudden vision loss or changes to your vision.
A visual migraine, also known as an ocular migraine, causes temporary visual disturbance. This disturbance often appears suddenly and may create a blind spot moving across the visual field or the sensation of looking through a cracked window.
There are two types of ocular migraines:
- migraine auras
Migraine auras are very common, affecting 1 in 5 migraine sufferers.
Migraine auras cause binocular visual distortions, affecting both eyes simultaneously. They may also cause:
- Numbness or tingling
- Mental fog
- Changes in taste, smell, or sense of touch.
An aura can occur with or without a migraine, and may sometimes precede a headache. The visual distortions are temporary and usually last around 30 minutes. They can impact performance in certain activities, such as driving and reading.
The most common visual symptoms of migraine auras include:
- Flashes of light
Migraines Can Be Managed With Proper Care And Treatment
In the United States alone, strokes account for nearly140,000 deaths every single year. If you or a loved one are experiencing a stroke, seek immediate medical attention to prevent long-term damage and disability. According to the CDC, Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care.
Understanding your migraines and your specific migraine triggers may help you avoid or at least minimize the occurrence of these disorienting episodes. However, even with the most robust prevention, migraines will still occur for many sufferers. With the inherent elevated stroke risk associated with all migraines , its crucial to know how to recognize the symptomatic discrepancies between the two, and act fast if faced with a potential stroke.
If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke, you know that it can have a significant impact on ones life. Here at Saebo, we are committed to stroke support and recovery to improve the overall quality of life for all survivors and their families.Saebo offers a wide range of products that combine cutting-edge technology with evidence-based rehabilitation techniques. Our offerings and network of Saebo-trained therapists can help you or a loved one to obtain all the necessary tools to maximize stroke recovery.
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Causes Of Ocular Migraine
An ocular or ophthalmic migraine is hold your breath a painless migraine! These are, however, associated with visual disturbances in both eyes. You may experience flickering or flashing lights, lines, stars, or blind spots that deter your vision. About 35 percent of migraine sufferers experience this kind of an aura, visual or otherwise. A painless migraine such as an ocular migraine is considered a migraine equivalent.1
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.
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If You Experience Sudden Changes In Vision It May Be The Result Of A Visual Migraine
Visual migraines are an episode of vision loss in one eye, usually lasting a short time and are rarely painful.
Classic migraines usually result in intense headaches or sensitivity to light and loud sounds. While, ocular migraines cause sudden vision impairment and are not necessarily painful. For example a street sign becoming difficult to read while driving.
Most ocular migraines dont actually cause or indicate any damage to your brain or eyes.
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.
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