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Ocular Migraines - causes, symptoms and treatment

Home > Treatment Articles > Migraine Articles > Ocular Migraine Headaches

Ophthalmic migraines are popularly known as ocular migraines. While a severe type of headache is usually the main symptom of migraines, visual disturbances with or without the headache pain can also be a form of migraine with the same migraine processes related to changes in blood flow in the brain.

Different triggers will often be the reason why a migraine occurs but in some cases, those changes that take place in blood flow actually happen to the area of the brain responsible for vision. These are all eye migraines and ocular migraines is one of them. Along with pain, other symptoms can include nausea, congestion and visual symptoms.

The appearance of strange visual disturbances, usually lasting less than an hour, but with no headache, could mean you are having a rare ocular migraine. Although they can occur repeatedly, they often do not follow a regular pattern. There can be short or long periods of time between attacks.

The signs and symptoms of an ocular migraine:

  • There may or may not be a headache - it is possible that a migraine headache will only occur after the other ocular migraine symptoms have gone away
  • A small enlarging blind spot in your central vision with bright, flickering lights or
  • A shimmering zig zag line inside the blind spot
  • The blind spot usually enlarges and may move across your field of vision
  • This partial or complete blindness usually takes place in one eye
  • The entire set of migraine symptoms takes anything from 5 minutes to up to an hour and is often referred to as an “aura”

People who suffer from ocular migraines often describe their experiences as varying degrees of vision loss or obstruction. Some people report “blind spots or holes”, referring to missing sections in the normal visual field or they may experience a shade of black or grey over the visual field. Some compare the visual phenomena of ocular migraine to the patterns produced by an old television with faulty reception. Others say it is like looking through watery glass. However, the vision symptoms accompanying painless ocular migraines are not related directly to the eyes. Instead, these visual symptoms occur as a result of the migraine “activity” in the visual cortex of the brain located in the back of the skull.

Fortunately, ocular migraine symptoms are temporary and do not harm the eye.. However, they can interfere with daily activities such as reading and driving or interrupt the working day. If sharp vision is essential to your safety, then you should stop what you are doing immediately if an ocular migraine starts.

If you have been suffering from similar symptoms, it would be wise to see a doctor or ophthalmologist to confirm that it is ocular migraine and not some other condition such as retinal detachment which would require immediate and emergency attention.

The best treatment for ocular migraines is to identify what triggers the condition in your particular case to try and prevent such occurrences. Minimizing stress, maintaining a consistent schedule in your lifestyle, eating regular meals, making sure you drink enough water and getting enough rest and sleep are all useful preventative measures.
If ocular migraines start occurring with increasing frequency, your doctor may recommend a migraine medication. There are natural alternative products also available for treating and preventing the symptoms headaches and migraines.