Ocular Migraines: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
Ocular migraines are rare, but they can have a debilitating impact when a patient experiences a migraine. When a migraine occurs, the person experiences temporary vision loss, or even blindness in one eye. In most cases, the vision will return within an hour when the migraine subsides.
Ocular Migraines Causes
What causes an ocular migraine to occur? Researchers believe that the causes of regular migraines and ocular migraines are the same. It has been found that the blood flow in the eye reduces, or the blood vessels spasm and affect the area at the back of the eye where the retina is located. Genetics play a role in the risk of migraine headaches. Often, a “trigger” results in a migraine episode. Triggers might include exposure to strong odors (such as strong perfume or cigarette smoke), stress, lack of sleep, flickering or glaring lights, or the consumption of certain foods (such as caffeine, artificial
sweeteners or MSG).
Symptoms of Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraines symptoms can vary from person to person, and might include:
• Temporary vision loss
• Temporary blindness in one eye
• Small blind spot that affects central vision in a portion of one eye
You might also notice that it is impossible to read with the affected eye. The vision loss from an ocular migraine sometimes occurs with a migraine headache. Or, you can experience the ocular migraine vision loss without any pain.
Keep in mind that ocular migraines are sometimes mistaken for visual migraines. The symptoms of a visual migraine might include:
• Flickering blind spot
• Zigzag or wavy ring of light
• Blindspot that moves across the field of vision
Usually, the blind spot starts small and gets larger, making it difficult to see clearly. It is best to avoid driving when any type of migraine episode is occurring that affects your vision. In most cases, these symptoms last for less than 30 minutes, although it might take as long as an hour before full vision returns.
How can you tell if you are experiencing a visual migraine or an ocular migraine? If you notice visual disturbances or a blind spot, then try covering one eye at a time. When the visual disturbance is in one eye only, then it is probably an ocular migraine. Visual migraines usually affect both eyes.
Ocular Migraines Treatment
After ocular migraines diagnosis, watch for potential triggers that can be avoided to minimize the risk of an episode. It can also be helpful to reduce your stress, get plenty of sleep at night, and eat a healthy, balanced diet. You might also talk to your eye doctor about treatment options, such as migraine medication.
Any time you experience a sudden blind spot or vision loss, it is essential to contact an eye doctor as soon as possible. An immediate exam should be done to determine if the symptoms are harmless and will go away when the migraine is over, or if you are dealing with something more serious. For example, a retinal detachment can sometimes result in similar symptoms as an ocular migraine.
Contact our team right away if you have questions about ocular migraines or other eye diseases. We’re here to answer your questions and help you find the best treatment plan to optimize your eye health.