Triggers and Treatments for Ocular Migraines


The term “ocular migraine” can describe different conditions. If you were told you had an ocular migraine, you probably had one of the following:

  • Repeated episodes of blindness or a blind spot in one eye, lasting less than one hour. “Retinal migraine” is another name for this condition.
  • A group of symptoms called an “aura,” with eye symptoms and vision changes, that happen with a migraine headache.

Ocular migraine symptoms

Eye symptoms in a migraine aura can include:

  • Bright or flashing lights and jagged or wavy lines
  • A blind spot or bright spot in the center of your vision
  • Temporary vision loss – You might lose all your vision or just part of it.
  • Light sensitivity

Vision loss in just one eye is the main symptom of a retinal migraine.

If you have any of these symptoms, with or without a headache, call an eye doctor. You can reach Oregon Eye Specialists at 503-935-5580.

Ocular migraine triggers

For eye symptoms that are part of a migraine headache aura, triggers can be anything that triggers a migraine. Migraine triggers can include certain foods, stress and hormone changes.

Talk to your doctor about possible triggers of ocular migraines. He or she might suggest that you keep a diary to see if there is any pattern.

Doctors do not know exactly what triggers retinal migraines. In some people, they could be related to another medical condition.

Ocular migraine treatment

Doctors don’t usually treat the vision loss from an aura or retinal migraine. That’s because it does not last long. However, they can treat a migraine headache. Your doctor might recommend:

  • Avoiding migraine triggers
  • Taking over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen
  • Taking prescription medication for migraines, such as Imitrex or Amerge

The right medication depends on your symptoms. You might need to try several medications and learn to avoid migraine triggers.

Can ocular migraines be prevented?

Sometimes. Having retinal migraines can raise the risk of permanent vision loss in one eye, so your doctor may want you to take medication to prevent them. Medicines can include:

  • Anti-seizure medicines, such as Depakote or Topamax
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Elavil or Pamelor
  • Calcium channel blockers, such as Calan
  • Beta blockers, such as Timolol or Inderal

Your eye doctor may also send you to a neurologist or neuro-ophthalmologist. These specialists can help diagnose your condition and prevent serious problems.

If you have vision loss, it’s important to see an eye doctor, even if it goes away quickly or you think you know the cause.

Published by knanosky

Our first piece of advice when we bought our Airstream was from friends and fellow campers. They said to make sure you "keep the shiny side up." Something that struck me kind of funny, but so true :)

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