Do I Have Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraines are challenging to diagnose. Many sufferers are often diagnosed with other conditions such as anxiety due to the nature of the symptoms. An important part of diagnosis is ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough examination of your eyes and symptoms to rule out other possible conditions, such as:
- Amaurosis fugax: This condition causes temporary blindness when a blockage in the artery to the eye decreases blood flow
- Spasms in the artery that supplies blood to the retina
- Giant cell arteritis: This can cause inflammation in blood vessels leading to vision problems and blindness
- Autoimmune disease that cause other blood vessel problems
- Damage from drug abuse
Ocular Migraines: Causes Symptoms Treatments And Risks
Ocular migraines cause visual disturbances that are almost always temporary. Although migraines are commonly associated with headaches, an ocular migraine can occur with or without a headache. Visual symptoms with migraine, typically called aura, can be distressing, as many MyMigraineTeam members have shared:
- Second migraine aura in five hours.
- Ive had migraines forever, but the aura is getting worse with age
- I have had three severe migraines in the last couple of weeks. Each one started with an aura of zigzag lines in my right eye.
- My visual auras affect a big portion of my vision, so doing day-to-day things is difficult .
- The aura lasts maybe 20 to 30 minutes. Im always afraid that it wont stop!
- My aura starts from the outside corner of my right eye and travels across to my left eye from the inside corner to the outside corner. I cannot see through the pulsating waves.
Ocular migraines can coincide with various types of migraine, including hemiplegic migraine, cluster headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and chronic migraine. An ocular migraine without head pain can be a warning that a migraine headache will follow. The condition is associated with a greater risk of stroke.
Changes To Your Retina
Because they largely present with vision changes its not surprising that Dr. Gee says the conditions in and around your eye can play a part in bringing these types of attacks on. According to the National Library of Medicine, the root of why these types of headaches occur might be caused by reduced blood flow or blood vessel spasms in the retina, or the lining behind the eye.
Also Check: What Causes Pounding Headaches While Sleeping
Ocular Migraine And Visual Migraine Symptoms
Ocular migraine symptoms generally include a small blind spot that affects your central vision in one eye. This blind spot gets larger, making it impossible for you to drive safely or read with the affected eye.
In some cases, the entire visual field of one eye may be affected. Generally, the episode lasts less than an hour.
Visual migraine symptoms can vary, and may include:
Visual migraines often appear suddenly and may create the sensation of looking through a cracked window. The visual migraine aura usually moves across your field of view and disappears within 30 minutes.
A flickering blind spot in the center or near the center of your field of view
A wavy or zigzag ring of colored light surrounding a central blind spot
A blind spot that slowly migrates across your visual field
The symptoms of a visual migraine typically affect both eyes and last less than 30 minutes. A migraine headache may occur shortly after the symptoms of a visual migraine subside or no headache may occur.
If you’re experiencing a blind spot or other visual disturbance and you’re not sure if it’s an ocular migraine or a visual migraine , cover one eye at a time. If the visual disturbance affects just one eye, it’s probably an ocular migraine. If it affects both eyes, it’s likely a visual migraine.
Medical Spa For Sale Los Angeles
Migraine aura without headache, previously known as ‘acephalgicmigraine’, and sometimes called ‘silent’migraine, is exactly what it sounds like – when someone has an attack consisting of migraine aura without any head pain. … Others, however, may find that associated symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound will.
Read Also: How To Help With Migraines
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.
Ocular Migraine Treatment And Prevention
Because they generally are harmless and typically resolve on their own within a half hour, ocular migraines usually require no treatment.
If you are performing tasks that require good vision when an ocular migraine occurs, stop what you are doing and relax until the visual disturbance passes. If you are driving, pull off to the side of the road as soon as you can safely do so, and wait for your vision to return to normal.
There is no test to confirm the diagnosis of ocular migraine. Nonetheless, whenever you are experiencing unusual visual symptoms such as those described here, it is recommended that you undergo a comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor. This is important so as to rule out sight-threatening conditions such as a retinal tear or detachment, which require urgent attention and/or treatment. Rarely, ocular migraine symptoms can also be associated with stroke.
Your ConsultationClick Here to Contact Us
You May Like: Migraine With Aura Stroke Risk
What Are Migraine Treatments
Most ocular and retinal migraines dont require treatment. They will go away on their own. It helps to rest and avoid triggers such as loud noises or bright lights.
If ocular or retinal migraines occur frequently, your eye doctor may suggest medications, including those used to treat other forms of migraines. Beta blockers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants sometimes are helpful, although more research is needed to determine the most effective treatments.
How To Get Rid Of Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraine prevention is the most powerful treatment. If you know what triggers ocular migraine for you, avoiding those triggers is your best defense against ocular migraine symptoms.
Further, ensure you:
- Improve overall physical health
If you do find yourself in the attack phase of ocular migraine, there is good news. Unlike some types of migraine that can last for hours and even days, many ocular migraine sufferers find that their symptomatic period is brief: usually an hour or less as the visual symptoms spread and gradually recede.
You can manage your visual ocular migraine symptoms by taking the following steps:
- Remove visual stimulation: Rest in a dark, quiet room or use an eye mask if thats not possible
- Scalp massage: Use extra pressure in the temples and areas around the eyes
- Cold compress: A cold compress can feel soothing during ocular migraine attacks
- Take break from screens: Prevent a full attack by removing any screens from your field of vision, including laptops, TVs, and smartphones
- Do not drive: If you find yourself experiencing visual disturbances, pull over until they pass
Recommended Reading: What Can Pregnant Women Take For Migraines
Retinal Migraine Is A Rare Type Of Migraine That Can Cause Visual Symptoms In One Eye Most Attacks Are Short
Do you get symptoms like twinkling lights, flashes or temporary vision loss in one eye only? You may have retinal migraine, a type of migraine with repeated attacks of visual disturbances that happen in one eye. We spoke with Deborah I. Friedman, MD, MPH, a neuro-ophthalmologist and Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, for more information on identifying retinal migraine and understanding the differences with other types of headache.
John Deere 4430 Radio Speakers
Headaches cause pain in the head, face, or upper neck, and can vary in frequency and intensity. A migraine is an extremely painful primary headache disorder. Migraines usually produce symptoms that are more intense and debilitating than headaches. Some types of migraines do not cause head pain, however. Eye floaters are spots or squiggly lines floating across your field of vision . Floaters can take several different shapes, such as small black dots or squiggly lines in your vision , or rings, threads, spiders legs, or cobwebs.¹,²,³. Youve probably noticed them before. Sep 04, 2022 · However, this phase does not occur despite having the same symptoms. Migraine without head pain: Silent migraine, or “acephalgicmigraine,” as this form of migraine is also known, involves the sensation of an aura but without the headache that often follows. Hemiplegic migraine:.
Also Check: Fever Headache And Body Aches
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
Dr. Kim discusses common triggers for migraine headaches.
Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.
What are some triggers for migraines?
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 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.
Don’t Miss: How To Naturally Get Rid Of Migraine
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.
Treating Visual And Ocular Migraine Headaches
There are genetic and lifestyle factors that can cause visual and ocular migraines. Most times, these types of migraine headaches will resolve themselves within an hour or less.
However, if the frequency of visual and ocular migraine headache occurrences increases, then you should schedule a consultation with an eye surgeon or primary care doctor. Your doctor may also refer you to a neurologist for further testing.
Treatment options can include prescription medications and lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and so on.
If you are experiencing visual or ocular migraine headaches and want to discuss treatment options, please feel free to contact Dougherty Laser Vision at 312-7671 to schedule a telehealth or in-office consultation today!
We have offices in Westlake Village, Beverly Hills, Camarillo, San Luis Obispo, Encino, and Simi Valley. We offer a wide range of laser eye correction and laser eye surgery services, as well as treatment for cataracts, glaucoma, and other vision-related health conditions.
Also Check: Fever And Headache No Other Symptoms
When Should You Worry About An Ocular Migraine
Although the symptoms of ocular migraines can be frightening, the condition is harmless and short-lived in most cases. However, ocular migraines can indicate serious health problems, such as increased risk for stroke or severe carotid artery disease.
Its essential to see an eye doctor when you lose your eyesight suddenly for the first time or if your eyesight deteriorates to check for any serious conditions.
Symptoms Of Ocular Migraines
The symptoms of ocular migraine vary depending on individual experience. These are some common symptoms:
- Loss of vision in one spot
- Loss of vision off to one side of the visual field
- Seeing lights shimmering or colored
- Seeing zig-zag patterns and lines
The symptoms tend to occur in one eye. The visual symptoms generally resolve within about 60 minutes.
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Get Headaches
Headaches Behind The Eye In People Over 40
In particular, people over the age of 40 may begin experiencing headaches behind the eyes more frequently as they get older due to a condition called presbyopia. As the eyes age, it can become more difficult for them to focus on objects up-close, causing them to squint and strain in order to see more clearly. This strain can lead to feelings of pain behind the eyes, alongside soreness and redness.
With other common conditions such as blurry vision, digital eye strain, and difficulty seeing up-close, its best to have your eyesight checked by an optician if youre concerned.
Warning Signs Of A Migraine
Many people who have migraines with auras have what are called prodromal symptoms, hitting up to 72 hours in advance. You may notice a predictive pattern of irritability, euphoria, thirst, hunger, or simply feeling off, explains Dr. Wall. In that case, he doesnt suggest taking medication that far in advance, but make sure youre ready for one by carrying your medications with you and responding quickly, he says.
You May Like: Icd 10 Code For Migraine Headaches
What Is An Ocular Migraine
An ocular migraine is an eye problem characterized by short episodes of vision loss or visual disturbances.
For example, you may see flashing lights in one eye accompanied by a headache.
Your doctor may also refer to this type of migraine as ophthalmic or monocular migraines.
These episodes may be scary. But in most cases, they are harmless and short-lived. However, ocular migraines can be a sign of a more serious condition.
Some people experience retinal migraines every few months, but the frequency varies from person to person.
Retinal migraine is a unique condition that should not be confused with headache-type migraine or migraine with aura, which often affect both eyes.1
Ocular Migraine Risk Factors
Some of the risk factors for ocular migraines are similar to risk factors for migraine headaches. These are the top risk factors:
- Family history: If your parents and close relatives have ocular migraines, you are more likely to have them too. They tend to run in families.
- Stress: Increased stress at work or home as well as emotional, physical, or financial stress may be a risk factor for ocular migraines. Stress can also trigger poor sleep patterns and fatigue, which can make migraines more likely.
- Nutrition: Some individuals are sensitive to certain foods, such as cheese, chocolate, or red wine. Other people notice that preservatives such as nitrates or MSG are migraine triggers. Evaluating your diet can help you identify which foods seem to be associated with your ocular migraines.
- Smoking: If you smoke, it could be contributing to the severity and frequency of your ocular migraines. Talk to your doctor about steps to stop smoking.
- Environmental changes:Fluctuations in the weather can trigger migraines for some individuals. Track the weather changes in conjunction with your migraines. You may discover a link, such as a change in barometric pressure, wind, or temperature that affects you.
Also Check: Aspirin Vs Ibuprofen For Headache
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.
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.
Read Also: Pressure Point To Relieve Migraine
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.