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Ophthalmic Migraine

Ophthalmic migraines are quite common and often occur without head pain, although the individual term “migraine” usually brings to mind a severe type of headache.

Eye Migraines and Visual Disturbances

In regards to eye-related migraines, visual disturbances with or without headache pain also can accompany migraine processes thought to be stemming from alterations in blood flow in the brain.

These visual problems associated with migraines technically are known as ophthalmic migraines, but are much more commonly (though incorrectly) called ocular migraines.

Because the general population understand the term better, this article refers to the condition as “ocular migraine.”

Chronic Migraine Headache can be brought about by a neurological response to certain triggers that the sufferer is sensitive to, such as hormonal changes, flashing lights or chemicals in foods or medications. One result of these triggers may be an intense headache that unfortunately can last for hours or even days.

During or before migraine, alterations also may take place in blood flow to the area of the brain responsible for vision (visual cortex or occipital lobe).

This usually stems from the basilar artery, and it is commonly thought that Basilar Migraines are related to ocular migraines. Resulting ophthalmic migraine or ocular migraines commonly can produce visual symptoms even without a headache.

Ocular Migraine Symptoms


People with ocular migraines can have a number of visual symptoms. One will see a small, enlarging blind spot (scotoma) in your central vision with bright, flickering lights (scintillations) or a shimmering zig-zag line inside the blind spot.

The blind spot can even enlarge and might move across your field of vision. This entire migraine phenomenon may end in only a few minutes, but usually lasts as long as about 20-30 minutes.Ocular migraines are considered harmless, however some contend that the underlying event is potentially harmful in the long run.

In the short term, Ocular migraines are painless, cause no permanent visual or brain damage and do not require treatment.

You may want to consult with an eye doctor when you have unusual vision symptoms, because it’s possible that you have another associated condition requiring treatment.

Our free Beyond Headaches tour will give you some common sense direction that you may benefit from.

What Should I Do if I Have an Ocular Migraine?

Painless ocular migraines can appear suddenly, creating the sensation of looking through a broken window. The accompanying visual distortion spreads across the field of vision and usually disappears within about 15-30 minutes.

Unfortunately, a visit to the eye doctor may produce few answers in terms of how to treat or prevent ocular migraines. This is because processes that trigger ophthalmic migraines are poorly understood.

But if these symptoms recur with increasing frequency, then you may need medication to reduce the frequency and/or severity of attacks. You may be advised to take medications for extended periods of time to prevent recurrence of ophthalmic migraines.

For starters, and to pursue avoiding long term medications, and take a moment right now to view the free Beyond Headaches Lifestyle tour… you'll find interesting answers and direction there.



Learn the 3 most useful Self-Help Tips when dealing with OPHTHALMOPLEGIC MIGRAINES
from Dr. Finnigan, the author of Life Beyond Headaches.

Ophthalmoplegic Migraines