Wednesday, June 22, 2022
HomeHealthWhy Do I Get Ocular Migraines

Why Do I Get Ocular Migraines

How Can I Treat Migraines Without Using Medicines

Talking while having an ocular migraine

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.

Ophthalmic Migraine Occurs In The Visual Cortex

Ophthalmic migraine is a vision-loss symptom that occurs due to the aura phase of the common migraine headache. It can occur with or without a headache. An ophthalmic migraine takes place in the brain, which affects vision in both eyes, and is generally believed to originate at the occipital cortex rather than in the eye itself. For this reason it is experienced in both eyes, not just one eye. It is also known as a scintillating scotoma.

A scintillating scotoma can occur with or without a migraine headache. Scintillating means sparkling or shining, and a scotoma is a partial loss of vision or a blind spot in an otherwise normal visual field.

This condition is marked by a spasm, or spreading wave of spasms that arise in the occipital area of the brain . Related blood vessel spasm and redilation is likely linked to these electrical charges. The experience of a person suffering from this condition is a sparkling or flickering of lights, as well as dots, wavy lines, zigzags, arcs, camouflage patterns, or blurry areas toward the periphery of vision . Typically, the scotoma starts as a small visual disturbance that slowly starts growing over much of the visual field over about 15-20 minutes before disappearing completely.

A headache might follow the visual effect, ranging from mild to severe, or accompanied by feeling tired, depressed, or washed-out. Sometimes a sensory aura will occur at the same time or just after the visual aura.

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
  • women
  • 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:

Read Also: Migraine Medicine Amitriptyline

Why Do I Get Ocular Migraines

Migraines are caused by cortical spreading depression, a medical term used to describe abnormal electrical activity in the brain that typically starts in the occipital lobe and spreads through the rest of the brain at a slow but steady pace. Ocular migraines may be caused by this same phenomenon that takes place in the retina of the eye.

What Is An Eye Migraine

Migraine or headache? How to identify pain in the head
  • A retinal migraine a rare phenomenon that usually affects monocular vision transiently.
  • Duration of symptoms on average is 5 to 20 minutes.
  • The prognosis for an ocular migraine is good.
  • The frequency and intensity of the headache typically decrease.
  • During prolonged periods of retinal, choroidal, or optic nerve hypoxia, permanent visual loss may occur.

You May Like: Stopping Nortriptyline For Migraines

Symptoms Of An Ocular Migraine

The International Headache Society has defined the symptoms that are typical of a retinal or ocular migraine. These symptoms are monocular , temporary, and include:

  • Scintillations:;seeing something that looks like flash of light, lightning, or a sparkle. Halos or lines may also be seen.
  • Scotoma: a temporary blind spot, black spot, blurriness, or a partial loss of vision.
  • Blindness: partial or complete blindness in one eye.
  • Migraine headache:;The symptoms in the eye are accompanied by a headache that can last from a few hours to a few days. The headache is often located on the same side of the head as the eye that is experiencing symptoms.
  • Other: Symptoms that typically occur with a migraine may also occur, such as light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting.

Other types of migraines can cause visual problems, especially flashes of light and blind spots in the field of vision. The important distinction is that with an ocular migraine, these symptoms only occur in one eye.

It can be difficult to determine which eye is experiencing the symptoms, or if they are taking place in both eyes. A qualified healthcare professional can help determine the location of the symptoms while they are occurring.

If the symptoms cant be assessed at that time, a patient may try covering one eye. With one eye covered, it may be easier to tell which eye is affected, or if the problem is occurring in both eyes.

Eye Migraines Occular Migraines:

The term ocular migraine is another one that is no longer generally used. ;Most often in the past it has referred to retinal migraine, a rare type of migraine that has severe visual disturbances or blindness in one eye during an attack. ;Sometimes the term has also been used to describe other types of migraine that have visual auras, such as the much more common migraine with aura.If you are diagnosed with ocular migraine, it would be helpful to ask your doctor for a more specific diagnosis from the International Headache Society’s classifications. ;The other important thing is to rule out other eye problems, which could be quite serious.Once again, it’s a good idea to see a doctor or ophthalmologist to make sure there isn’t something else going on. It’s especially important to see a doctor if your symptoms are accompanied by headache.

Don’t Miss: Migraine Headache Diarrhea

How To Treat And Prevent Ocular Migraines

There is usually no treatment needed for an ocular migraine, as the symptoms disappear on their own within the hour. However, if you experience visual disturbances alongside a migraine headache, see your optician or GP for additional advice on treatment.;

The most common treatment for ocular migraines includes pain relief for headaches and being able to reduce your exposure to any known triggers. It may be helpful to make a diary of your diet and lifestyle, especially anything that happens just before an episode. These records could lead to an established pattern of what triggers your ocular migraines, allowing you to try and reduce the frequency.

Visual Disturbance Of Migraine Is Short

Migraine aura, light flashes, blurry vision, headache – A State of Sight #39

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.

Don’t Miss: Can Citric Acid Cause Migraines

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

The diagnosis of retinal migraine is one of exclusion and all other causes of vision loss should;initially;be;considered. All members of the healthcare team;should be vigilant and refer the patient for immediate and emergent assessment for stroke or other thromboembolic causes for their symptoms if the patient presents with visual loss or changes.;;

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.

Don’t Miss: What Piercing Is For Migraines

Risk Factors To Keep In Mind

Migraines occur most often in adults between ages 25 to 55. Women experience migraines three times more often than men. Women between the ages of 20 and 45, and women who are menstruating are especially susceptible. People with a family history of migraine headaches are also more likely to experience migraines.

Exercise-induced migraines are more likely to occur in people who are exercising in hot, humid weather, or at high altitudes.

You should see your doctor if youre in your 50s and suddenly develop the symptoms of a migraine. People who have migraine headaches very often will have a pattern of having headaches at an earlier age, sometimes even in high school. Headaches that begin later in life need further evaluation to make sure there isnt something else thats causing the headaches.

Your doctor will ask you some questions. Your answers can help them diagnose your condition. They may ask you these questions:

No medical test exists to test for migraines specifically. Your doctor cannot diagnose migraine headaches through:

  • blood tests

What Should You Do If You Have An Ocular Migraine

How Often To Get Botox For Migraines

If you note ocular migraine symptoms, your actions will depend on the severity of the symptoms and how much they affect your ability to function. Since ocular migraines are generally painless, you may be able to continue with your normal daily activities, especially if symptoms are confined to one eye or wear off quickly. You should also follow these steps:

Make sure that you are in a place where you do not require visual clarity. If you are on the road, for example, you should pull over as soon as it is possible to do so safely. If you suffer complete blindness, sit or lie down and wait for the migraine to pass. Ocular migraines may also be disorienting, so you may need to sit down while waiting for symptoms to stop.

See if you can isolate a trigger. If possible, note what is going on in your environment that could have triggered a migraine, whether you note that you are highly stressed, that there are extremely bright or flashing lights in the room, or that you have recently consumed a specific food.

Contact your doctor if needed. While ocular migraines are generally harmless, you should consult your doctor to rule out any larger problems, especially if you have recently had an ocular migraine for the first time or frequency appears to be increasing. In some cases, your doctor may be able to help you manage ocular migraines with medication. In other cases, they may work with you to help isolate a trigger, which can help you avoid potential future episodes.

Don’t Miss: Inner Ear Piercing For Headaches

Symptoms Of Visual Disturbances From Migraine

Positive symptoms; include zig-zag lines which often shimmer and may move across the field of vision, sparkles, dots, stars, spots, squiggles, and flash bulb effects. The classic migraine visual aura consists of an area that is not well seen, surrounded by shimmering zig-zag lines, that gradually enlarges and then breaks up over a period of 15-30 minutes.

Negative symptoms; are blind spots, tunnel vision, complete loss of vision, or loss of all vision to the left or right side.

Distorted or altered visual symptoms;are the sensations of looking through water, heat waves, blurred vision, fractured vision , loss of color vision, objects appearing too large or small, or objects seeming closer or farther than they really are.

Given the wide variety of visual symptoms that accompany migraine, it is sometimes hard to determine whether ones symptoms are indeed migraine-related, or due to a more serious problem that warrants medical attention. Causes for concern include:

Deborah I. Friedman, MD, MPH, Director, Headache and Facial Pain Program University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX

This article is a legacy contribution from the American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education and the Fred Sheftell, MD Education Center.

Font Size

How Common Are Ocular Migraines

Q: Thank you for the information you have published about ocular migraines. I’ve had numerous episodes over the past five years, but most recently was last week when I was two and a half hours away from my home. It took over an hour for it to totally go away. I appreciate your explanation of the usual symptoms, because it described what I experienced to a “T.”

I had one question, though. Other sources on the Internet say this phenomenon is rare. But you say it is quite common. Is it? B.M.

A: Ophthalmic migraines are not rare, especially if you are a woman under age 40 with a history of migraines. Dr. Slonim

Read Also: How To Beat Migraines Naturally

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.

What Are Migraine Triggers

Stroke or Migraine with Aura? Importance of Magnesium

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

Recommended Reading: How To Beat Migraines Naturally

What Causes Ocular Migraines

Theyre thought to originate in a similar way as migraine headaches, by irregular electrical activity in the brain. Genetics play a role in who experiences migraines, and theyre also more common in women. Potential triggers include certain MSG-containing foods, harsh light, stress and changes in weather.

Although the root cause is the same, it is not known why some people experience migraine pain after visual disturbances and others dont or why the same person might experience both on different occasions.

It is quite common that as women get older, they might have fewer headaches and less pain but more of these auras, Dr. Estemalik says.

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.

Read Also: Cream Of Tartar Migraines

Why Does An Ocular Migraine Happen

Its believed that ocular migraines have similar causes as a migraine headache. Both may have a genetic link, with those who have a family history of migraines being more susceptible to them.

The cause of ocular migraines can be down to reduced blood flow in the retina. The blood vessels to the eye suddenly narrow, reducing the blood flow to the eye. Many triggers may contribute to the onset of an ocular migraine, and they may differ from person to person.

Triggers can include stress, lack of sleep, smoking and certain foods like caffeine, chocolate or red wine. Ocular migraines are more common in women, and more common amongst those under 40.

What Is A Migraine What Is An Ocular Migraine

12 Natural Quick Remedies For Migraines Relief

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 .

Recommended Reading: What Piercing Is For Migraines

RELATED ARTICLES

Popular Articles