Sadly, you might know from experience the torture migraines can be. They can be caused by an array of factors and manifest themselves in a variety of unpleasant ways, but did you know there is such a thing as an Ocular Migraine that directly affects your vision? Let’s discuss more about ocular migraines.

What is an Ocular Migraine?

An Ocular Migraine is a type of visual migraine that stresses the blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye and temporarily alters your vision.  It may appear as a bright, shimmering light that gradually widens across your field of vision, causing a blind spot.  Sometimes it may completely spread across the entire range of vision in your eye.  Although ocular migraines are not always painful or permanently damaging to your vision, they can be scary to experience if you have never had one before.  The blind spot that is created in your vision can make regular daily activities, like driving, dangerous to do while experiencing the migraine.  Luckily, ocular migraines usually only last for 30 minutes to an hour, so if you experience one that is causing a blind spot, you should make sure your activity level is limited until it passes and it is safe for you to resume.

Types of Visual Migraines

Like the traditional types of migraines, visual migraines also come in various forms.  None are exactly alike and all may be experienced differently from person to person. Here are the three major types:

Painless Ocular Migraine

Sometimes the visual affect of the migraine is the only symptom to an ocular migraine; no pain or headache is actually felt.  It can be manifested through flashing lights, or zigzag lines or even psychedelic images that begin small and gradually increase to where it obscures the field of vision in both eyes.  The ocular migraine usually runs its course, then clears up on its own.

Migraine with Aura

Migraine with Aura is when an ocular migraine precedes the headache as a warning that it is coming. Talk with your doctor about migraines with aura as oftentimes migraine triggers can be identified, such as particular types of foods eaten, stress, exposure to bright sunlight, or even certain physical activities.

Retinal Migraine

A retinal migraine is potentially a harmful type of ocular migraine and should be discussed with Dr. Smith at your eye appointment.  Like migraine with aura, a retinal migraine causes the flashing lights and may precede the headache, but whereas the migraine with aura affects both eyes, a retinal migraine will only affect one eye.  It is caused by constricted blood vessels in the retina, resulting in reduced blood flow to the eye.  Although this type of ocular migraine is the rarest, it can potentially leave lasting harmful affects.  A thorough eye exam to make sure underlying health issues aren’t the cause of the migraine is best.

If you experience ocular migraines or any vision changes please call our office or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Smith. 435.359.2020.

The content found on this blog is for information purposes only.  It is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice from your eye care provider.   Always seek treatment from a qualified health care provider with all your eye health and medical questions regarding your health.

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