Headache & Migraine

Published on May 7th, 2014 | by Tom


Ocular Migraines Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Ocular migraines, also known as retinal migraine, eye migraine or migraine with aura refers to temporary visual loss or disturbance in one or both eyes that proceeds with a headache. It occurs more often in women and people over 40 years old.

Symptoms of ocular migraine

The most typical symptoms of ocular migraine are the visual disturbances such as blind spots, flashes of light, shimmering spots or stars, and zigzagging patterns. Those symptoms may temporarily affect your certain activities like driving or reading, but usually the condition is not very serious. In some cases, ocular migraines can cause temporary but complete vision loss in one eye. Ocular migraine can also cause numbness accompanied with a migraine, some have a headache during the vision loss, others may have it before or after.

Causes of ocular migraines

It’s not clear what exactly causes an ocular migraine. But some of the possible contributors have been identified, such as having a personal or family history of migraines or headaches, being a female and having cardiovascular diseases, since records show that people belong to the above  three categories are more likely to get ocular migraines. And stress is also a potential trigger for ocular migraines.

Treatment of ocular migraines

  1. Generally ocular migraines require no treatment since the visual disturbances are harmless and temporary which can typically disappear on their own within 30 minutes. But if you are driving or doing whatever that requires a good vision at the onset of an ocular migraine, stop doing immediately and resume your work after your vision becomes normal.
  2. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above without a headache, go to your doctor to have an eye exam like CT scan, or MRI to rule out stroke or any other dangerous conditions. If you are having an ocular migraine with headache, you may need painkillers for your headache like Triptans.
  3. If your ocular migraines are caused by stress, you can ease your symptoms by stress reduction instead of taking medicine. Ways to reduce stress are keeping healthy diet, performing regular exercises, keeping a sleeping schedule or having a stress relief therapy etc.
  4. If your ocular migraines or migraine headaches appear to be cardiovascular-diseases-related, you can try aerobic exercise to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks. Any type of aerobic activity is beneficial to cardiovascular fitness, for example, three 10-minute walks per day contribute a lot. The most important thing is to perform physical activity on a regular basis. For the majority, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as walking or swimming every week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running per week.

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