Ocular Migraine: Description, Symptoms and Treatment

This term is used to describe a specific type of migraine.  Where most migraine symptoms usually have some sort of headache related pain, the ocular migraine does not.  This is why it is given its own name and must be differentially diagnosed from other types of headaches and migraine in particular.  One of the more common signs or ocular migraine symptoms is that of visual disturbance.  Like with other migraine causes, this is the result of altered blood flow in areas of the brain.

Where this may lead to headache pain in some cases, it may also just affect blood flow to the occipital or visual centers of the brain.  When this occurs, an opthalmic migraine may occur.  This term is also used interchangeably the term ocular and even retinal migraine.  The retinal migraine is a term that is sometimes used to describe a headache that lasts less than one hour and is associated with repeated blind spots in one eye.

If you’re suffering with vision loss in one or both of your eyes, than you need to see a health care practitioner.  They will be in a better position to provide you with medical advice and diagnosis of your condition, whether it’s a migrane or not.  These types of visual disturbances are also common with more serious issues like stroke and transitory ischemic attacks (TIAs), so you should certainly seek medical advice.

Just as one example, there are several types of headaches that can mimic these symptoms.  Cluster headaches are typically located around one eye or deep to it in the forehead areas, but is experienced as an extreme pain.  Sinus headache symptoms can also be in or around the eyes, but are marked by more sensitivity to touch, head position and not as painful as the cluster.

Ocular Migraine Symptoms

So, as we’ve been discussing, the symptoms of an ocular or opthalmic migraine are mostly relegated to visual disturbances or blind spots within the visual field.  These blind spots are called scotomas.  They are also present in other forms of migraine and even non-headache related conditions related to the eyes and vision.

In a typical fashion, these scotomas will begin in the center of your visual field and will grow to the edges.  They look like you’re looking through a broken window or pane of glass.  This may be accompanied by flashing lights or even blurry, wavy or zig-zag lines.  The symptoms  often pass in seconds but may last up to 20-30 minutes.  These are the most common types of symptoms associated with this type of migraine.

Ocular Migraine Treatment

The real question is what can you do about these symptoms when they arise.  The answer is probably not going to give you much hope or help.  This is because most doctors agree that, while troublesome and irritating, the ocular migraine is not threatening to your health.  However, you need to exercise caution.  This is because they may strike while you’re driving or doing an activity that could have potentially dangerous consequences if you lost your vision temporarily.  That is to say, the ‘treatment’ often consists of you resting until the symptoms pass.  Unlike other migraine treatment approaches, like migraine medications, biofeedback, Network chiropractic, massage, avoiding the migraine triggers, this type shares little in the way of approaches.  Though, it has been noted that the same triggers that are known to cause classical migraines can also lead to this type of ocular type.

If you suffer with headaches everyday or have other health-related concerns or conditions, we may be able to help you.  As a chiropractor Gilbert AZ is a wonderful place to practice.  With the family-friendly atmosphere and community, we are able to serve many busy individuals who just want to get their quality of life back.  We can help.  Contact us today!

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