Ocular Migraines: How Can They Affect You?

Ocular migraines are a clinical type of migraine where there are vision problems. In this article, we'll tell you how you can recognize them. Also, we'll show you how to prevent and treat them. Keep reading to find out!
Ocular Migraines: How Can They Affect You?

Last update: 07 April, 2020

Ocular migraines are a clinical type of migraines. Usually, they last for a short period of time, and may or may not be accompanied by a headache. In this article, we’ll tell you how you can recognize them and what you can do to treat and prevent them. Keep reading to find out!

What are ocular migraines?

Ocular migraines, also called ophthalmic migraines, refer to a condition that manifests with a temporary and painless visual disorder. In fact, this can occur in one eye or both. Migraines are sharp severe headaches that happen from a sudden disturbance of cerebral blood flow.

Since this affects the entire brain, it can affect different functions, including vision. Generally, this disorder gets better in under an hour. While its symptoms might be alarming, it’s almost always a benign process.

A woman pointing at her eye.

What causes ocular migraines?

Ocular migraines can affect anyone. Researchers think they have a genetic basis. That is, a part of this condition is inherited.

On the other hand, there are various factors that can alter blood flow to the brain. Some of them can be:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Certain light stimuli
  • Intake of certain foods, for example, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, cured cheese, and more could be triggers

Also, on some occasions, this type of migraine has been linked to diseases like epilepsy, lupus or certain types of anemia.

Symptoms of ocular migraines

Ocular migraines can affect one or both eyes. Dr. Jerry Swanson, a certified neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, explains that visual symptoms don’t last long.

However, they can temporarily interfere with activities like reading or driving. In addition, you could also experience:

  • Blind spots, especially in the center of the visual field. These points are called scotomas. In addition, their size can vary, and it could even affect your entire vision. They can appear in one or both eyes.
  • Seeing twinkling lights or stars.
  • Double vision.
  • Increased sensitivity to light or some sounds.

Additionally, these visual symptoms can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or headaches. These headaches usually only affect one side, putting more pressure on the eyes. It gets worse with effort and improves with rest in quiet, dark places.

A woman suffering from a headache.

Treatment and prevention

People who develop ocular migraines will probably have them throughout their lives. However, there will be times when they are more intense than others, due to different factors. On the other hand, sometimes they will be lighter.

Therefore, it’s important for everyone to learn to recognize their symptoms, frequency, and measures they can take to control the crisis. In most cases, ocular migraines go away on their own in about an hour.

When ocular migraines with visual symptoms come on suddenly, and the person is doing tasks that can be dangerous, it’s important to stop and rest until the symptoms disappear.

After the first episodes, it’s always best to go to the doctor for a complete test. That way, they can rule out some of the diseases that can cause this type of migraine.

From here, the doctor will decide if it’s necessary to start a treatment. This will depend on the intensity and frequency of migraines. Also, treatment can be based on anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol during migraines.

In addition, there are also preventative treatments. Even so, the best thing is for each person to study their case and know what their triggers are so they can avoid them. For example, triggers might be certain foods or activities. A good rest and stress management will always help control migraines more.

In summary

Ocular migraines can affect anyone. If you get lots of them, it’s best to go to the doctor to check that everything is fine.

To control and prevent them, make sure to know how to recognize these migraines and triggers, to try to detect what is causing them.

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