How Long Do Ocular Migraines Last
Most of the time, ocular migraines are relatively short-lived in duration. Sometimes, they last for as little as 20-30 minutes before disappearing completely. In other cases, especially if they are accompanied by more traditional migraine symptoms, ocular migraines may last longer. If your vision does not return within an hour, contact a doctor, or seek emergency care to ensure your migraine symptoms were not caused by something more serious.
Suffer From Ocular Migraines Our Raleigh Optometrist Shares 5 Triggers To Avoid
What causes ocular migraines? No one quite knows. At least, we dont understand what exactly causes the brain to suddenly release inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels. However, there are several prevailing triggers that many migraine sufferers seem to have in common. If you suffer from chronic ocular migraines, here are some stimuli to avoid.
What Causes An Ocular Migraine
Ocular migraines are believed to have the same causes as migraine headaches. As there can be a genetic component to migraines, many patients will have a family history of ocular migraines or migraine headaches. While these can affect children, migraines and ocular migraines frequently start at puberty but most commonly affect adults in their 30s and 40s. Women are more often affect than men.
Ocular migraines are caused by a sudden constriction of blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to the eye or to visual pathways in the brain. This is believed to be due to a release of inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels though it is unclear what is the underlying cause for this occurrence.
Common migraine triggers that can cause a susceptible person to have a migraine or ocular migraine attack include certain foods, such as red wine, alcohol, aged cheeses, caffeine, nitrates , and chocolate. Food additives, such as monosodium glutamate , and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame 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. Among women, hormonal changes can be triggersespecially menstrual periods, menopause, pregnancy, and use of birth control pills.
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Protect Your Eyes From Light Exposure
In many cases, light exposure is known to trigger these visual migraines. To avoid this, try to keep your eyes protected from light exposure, which can be done by wearing sunglasses, in particular, polarized sunglasses.
If you have already noticed the first symptoms of the attack, try lying down in a dark room or at least shut your eyes to block out the light for a short period of time.
Only wear your polarized sunglasses outside to block all wavelengths of light. Don’t wear them inside. Wear your FL41 tinted lenses inside to block out harmful light . AND keep the lenses light in color so as not to increase light sensitivity. You should be able to see your eye through the lenses.
Sunglasses for outside use and FL41 for inside use. Don’t wear sunglasses indoors and risk increased light sensitivity.
My Experience With Migraines
I remember my first migraine well as it was, quite frankly, terrifying. I was at school at the time, perhaps eight or nine years old, gearing up for Christmas and standing in choir practice. I remember looking at my music teacher, whod taken on the role as conductor, and she quite rapidly began to disappear as I unexpectedly lost part of my vision.
When I have one of my migraines, I lose sight in one eye. This is part of an ocular migraine, which is what I suffer from.
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As part of an ocular migraine, which doctors have told me I suffer from, you lose vision in one eye for a short time, usually just less than an hour.
The experience is so hard to explain to people whove never had one, but Id best describe it as that rainbow-like shimmer you see in the petrol puddles occasionally left on the floor.
It’s a scary experience but, as I’ve come to understand that I am a migraine sufferer, I’ve slowly started to come to terms with them and what the triggers are for me personally.
I can always tell when Im about to get a migraine as my vision slowly starts to disappear. I usually hold out my arm and if the hand is missing well, then ding ding ding migraine it is! One of my worst memories was while playing the guitar and, as I looked down, my hand that was doing the strumming was no longer there.
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Migraine With Brainstem Aura
People who have migraine with brainstem aura experience visual symptoms that are similar to migraine aura. However, symptoms can also occur in just one eye. The condition is characterized by headaches in the back of the head that span both sides of the head. The condition is rare and occurs more commonly in adolescent girls.
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
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Treatment Options For Ocular Migraine
When visual disturbances with ocular migraine occur without head pain, symptoms usually resolve within an hour and do not require much treatment. People with migraine aura tend to benefit from basic remedies, such as:
- Over-the-counter analgesics, such as Advil or Motrin or Tylenol
- Eating or having some caffeine
- Anti-nausea medication such as Reglan or Compro , if nausea or vomiting occur
More acute ocular migraine with headache is generally treated the same as migraine without visual symptoms, with some notable exceptions. Two types of drugs that are often used to treat acute migraine are not recommended for retinal migraine.
- Triptans, sometimes called abortives, such as Imitrex and Maxalt , should be avoided for retinal migraine.
- Dihydroergotamines, also called ergot alkaloids, such as Migranal and D.H.E.45 , should also be avoided by people with retinal migraine.
Preventive treatments that are typically used for other types of migraine may also be beneficial for preventing ocular migraine.
Causes Of Ocular Migraines
The exact causes of ocular migraines are not fully understood. Migraines are believed to be caused by environmental factors and complex genetic disorders, which affect the sensory nervous system. Neurological symptoms from migraines can amplify sensitivity to light, sound, smell, and touch. However, there is some variation in the specific causes of different types of ocular migraines.
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Are Ocular Migraines Harmful
In general, ocular migraines are not considered harmful. Most people have no symptoms other than blindness or blind spots. Neither retinal migraines nor full ocular migraines are, in and of themselves, harmful. However, in some cases, retinal or ocular migraines may be a sign of a more serious problem. If you have a retinal or ocular migraine, its important to consult with a doctor as soon as possible to undergo an evaluation and ensure your symptoms dont signal a larger problem.
Most of the time, ocular migraines are not caused by actual visual symptoms nor is their trigger within the eye. Instead, they are caused by migraine activity within the visual cortex of the brain.
How Can I Prevent An Ocular Migraine
Making sure youre well hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and are in overall good health when it comes to your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, should go a long way to helping reduce the occurrence of ocular migraines. In terms of treating any pain that comes with the ocular migraine, you can take pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, as well as reduce your exposure to the triggers we discussed earlier in this blog post. You may also be able to have anti-epileptic medication prescribed to you, which can help prevent migraines. However, there is still plenty of research to be done when it comes to treating ocular migraines.
To help with the pain, you might find it useful to:
- Lie down in a dark room
- Massage your scalp or temples
- Sit in a quiet environment
- Drink water
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What Is A Migraine What Is An Ocular Migraine
Migraines currently affect up to15 percent;of adults. However, there are many types of migraines, each with a specific set of symptoms and risk factors. Migraines are typically defined as recurring episodes of throbbing or pulsing headaches lasting four to seventy-two hours, typically starting on one side of the head, according to theDigital Journal of Ophthalmology.;Normally, these symptoms are exacerbated by rigorous activity and may also include nausea, photophobia , osmophobia , and hyposmia .
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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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.
Causes Of Retinal Migraine
In retinal migraine, only one eye is affected at a time. This type of migraine is associated with a problem with blood vessels in the optic nerve or the eye itself, rather than the occipital cortex. A constriction of blood flow in the central retinal artery may cause the condition. There is also speculation that the condition is caused by a spreading depression in neurons in the retina. This phenomenon resembles a cortical spreading depression but is more localized.
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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;
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
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What Are Ocular Migraines
The term ocular migraine is used to describe a migraine that takes place in the eye. These migraines can manifest as a variety of different visual disturbances including:;
- Zigzag lines;
- Bright flashes of light;
- Scotomas or blind spots;;
- Scintillations or sparkling, usually of lights or stars but can also be blind spots;
These are the most common symptoms of an ocular migraine, but;the visual disturbance caused by this type of migraine can manifest as anything from shadows in the vision to a complete but temporary;loss of vision in the eye.;;
What makes an ocular migraine different from an aura is that it typically only occurs in one eye and lasts;only a few minutes to an hour. They are also not followed by an actual migraine headache .
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 .
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How Can I Treat Migraines Without Using Medicines
It is very important to remember that many of the most effective preventive treatments for migraines do not require any medications. Frequent aerobic exercise is an excellent example of an effective way to improve headaches. Other strategies may include better sleep habits, stress reduction, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.
Causes Of Visual Migraines
Some researchers believe ocular migraines are caused by changes or spasms in the retinal blood vessels or nerves, however the exact cause is still unknown.
Most eye doctors believe they are caused by the same factors that lead to classic migraines, including:
- Family history of migraines
- Foods containing nitrates, MSG, or tyramine
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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.
Stay Calm And Avoid Stress
While it can feel stressful when you notice the warning signs of an ocular migraine, its important to stay calm and avoid stress. If you let the symptoms upset you, the stress may make the symptoms even worse and result in adding pain to the episode.
Work to recognize and learn the early warning signs of ocular migraines so you know how to relax until the symptoms subside.
Remember, emotional and physical stress will only make any migraine worse. In fact, stress is known to trigger migraines. If you need help staying calm, try learning relaxation skills, such as progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing techniques.
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