Should you be concerned about ocular migraines?

Any time your vision is suddenly abnormal is certainly scary – and when it comes with a migraine it is not only scary but painful and debilitating. Have you noticed changes in vision that go along with a headache? It might be an ocular migraine – read on for some more information about this condition and what can be done about it.

What is an ocular migraine?

Ocular migraines are also known as “retinal” or “ophthalmic” migraines. The term is used to describe a migraine that comes with visual symptoms, although some patients have the vision problems without even getting a headache. These visual problems may be flashes of light, blind spots, zigzagging patterns, or shining spots, and they usually happen in both eyes. An ocular migraine sufferer may also feel nauseous and may be especially sensitive to light or sound during the migraine.

These symptoms can, of course, affect your day and can keep you from reading and driving (and they can also be pretty scary). However, the good news is that they don’t last long (typically less than an hour) and the condition isn’t considered serious. Most patients find that the visual problems that come with an ocular migraine go away with rest, although the headache may remain for a few days.

Unfortunately, experts aren’t sure exactly what causes ocular migraines. It may be genetic or related to lifestyle. If you are prone to ocular migraines, you should mention this to your doctor, even if the symptoms go away on their own. And, if you have vision loss in one eye only, you should see a doctor right away.

How can you prevent ocular migraines?

Your doctor will try to rule out conditions, such as an autoimmune disease, as a reason for your headaches. Depending on why your doctor thinks you are having migraines, certain drugs can be prescribed. Some people find that they have triggers for migraines, such as stress, smoking, dehydration, low blood sugar, or excessive heat. Hormonal birth control pills can also cause migraines.

If you have migraines that affect your vision, or any other vision problems, Southside Eye Care can help. Call (757) 484-0101 for an appointment today!

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