Posted by: Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates in Eye Health

Classic migraines are typically associated with a painful headache affecting about 10% of the US population. However, ocular migraines can cause visual distortion without always being related to head pain.

What is an Ocular Migraine?

The American Migraine Foundation defines Ocular Migraine as a condition that encompasses a variety of migraine subtypes. These subtypes are characterized by various visual disturbances, including visual loss, blind spots, zigzag lines, or seeing stars. It is common for an individual to experience a wide range of visual symptoms with this condition.

Are you interested in learning about the different types of ocular migraine? Check out the information below to discover the various types of ocular migraine you may encounter.

Migraine with Aura

Migraine Aura impairs vision, with symptoms like flashes of light, blind spots, seeing stars or patterns, and other minor sight issues that go away after a short period. While the most noticeable symptoms are visual disruptions, the Aura can also affect other senses and interfere with speech, motor skills, or other central nervous symptoms. Migraine Aura can occur with a headache or without and is typically short in duration. When aura symptoms appear in conjunction with head pain, they usually occur between the premonitory phase and the peak pain phase of migraine, between the signs that warn of an impending attack, and when the head pain itself hits. They may, however, last more than 1 hour in about 20% of individuals and may follow the onset of head pain in some instances. Migraine with Aura occurs in 25-30 percent of people with migraines, and less than 20% of individuals with migraine visual Aura have the aura phase with every migraine attack.

Retinal Migraine

Retinal Migraine refers to visual symptoms that occur in only one eye before or during the headache phase of a migraine attack. Retinal Migraine symptoms tend to be more intrusive than aura symptoms and include decreased vision, the appearance of twinkling lights, and temporary blindness. Distinguishing between migraines with Aura and Retinal Migraines can be challenging for patients, so consulting a doctor is advisable if experiencing Retinal Migraine symptoms. Irreversible visual loss may be a complication of Retinal Migraines.

What Causes These Migraine Types with Vision Disturbance?

The causes of ocular migraines differ from person to person. Straining your eyes by staring at a screen for long periods, spending time in fluorescent or harsh lighting, driving long distances, and other taxing visual activities can increase your risk of attacks. Some say chocolate or caffeine triggers them, while others believe stress and certain medications are factors. However, other sufferers say they experience ocular migraines at random times. When an ocular migraine begins, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to stop it. The migraine aura typically disappears in about 30 to 40 minutes, and headaches (if you get them) come about 10 to 15 minutes after the aura stage.

Do You Need To Contact Us?

If you have ever experienced an ocular migraine, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with us. We aim to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop a plan to address them. It is crucial to stay aware and in tune with what is happening with your vision. If you notice any symptoms mentioned above, don’t hesitate to contact your eye doctor immediately.

We Are Your Partners In Lifelong Eye Care!

Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates
References: American Migraine Foundation, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided in this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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