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Regular migraines are known for causing vision symptoms, known as auras, which can include blind spots of flashing lights within your vision. In most cases, these symptoms occur in both eyes. However, a specific type of migraine, an ocular migraine, can cause unique vision symptoms. Here’s a closer look at ocular migraines, what they are, what triggers them, and other important information.
What is an Ocular Migraine?
An ocular migraine may result in blindness or vision loss in one eye. Regular migraines that come with auras usually affect both eyes, while only one eye is generally affected by vision changes that occur with an ocular migraine. In some cases, these types of headaches may be referred to as monocular, visual, ophthalmic, or retinal migraines.
What Can Trigger an Ocular Migraine?
Currently, medical professionals are unsure what causes an ocular migraine. However, these migraines could be related to changes in the nerve cells of the retina or due to blood vessel spasms in the retina. Many people find that certain things trigger these migraines, although it’s often a combination of triggers that cause a migraine to occur.
Some of the potential triggers include:
- Weather changes
- Loud sounds
- Bright lights
- Foods that have tyramine (smoked fish, fava beans, aged cheeses, soy products, aged cheeses)
- Anxiety or stress
- Artificial sweeteners
- Having too much caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
- Strong odors
- Foods with MSG
- Alcohol Foods that contain nitrates
Number of People Affected by Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraines are very rare. In fact, only about one out of 200 individuals who experience migraines will ever end up having a true ocular migraine. According to some research, the symptoms are often due to other medical issues. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of an ocular migraine, you should talk to your physician to find out if you’re truly dealing with this type of a migraine or if you have other underlying medical conditions that are causing your symptoms.
How Do Ocular Migraines Affect Most People?
Individuals who experience an ocular migraine may experience a wide variety of visual symptoms. Some patients see small blind spots that begin to enlarge over time. Others see flickering or bright lights. Sometimes zig-zag lines or wavy lines are around the blind spot. That blind spot may get larger, moving across the field of vision.
In most cases, the vision problems only affect one eye. In rare cases, individuals may experience blindness in the eye. The visual symptoms may last for just a few minutes, or the symptoms could last for as long as 30 minutes. Usually the vision changes will go away when the migraine is over, and resting often helps relieve the symptoms.
Dealing with the symptoms that come with ocular migraines can be scary, so if you experience any of these symptoms, see a physician. Treatments for migraines are available, so schedule a consultation today if you think you may be dealing with ocular migraines or other types of migraines.