Ocular Migraine – Risks, Causes & Treatment

Ocular migraines are not to be confused with retinal migraines. The main difference between the two is that ocular migraines can be seen from both eyes whereas retinal migraines can be seen from only one eye. The latter are dangerous and should be looked at immediately by an specialist.

Ocular migraines usually last less than an hour, although they could last for a day or more unless medical attention is sought.

How to Know if you Have an Ocular Migraine?

You will notice it instantly. You will probably see eye flashes and feel some lateralized eye pain. Some people have even reported double vision while suffering from an ocular migraine.

Ocular Migraine Symptoms:

Ocular migraines can cause momentary vision disturbances and sensations that may possibly become permanent. Migraine aura is more common, producing following visual symptoms:

  • Flashes of light
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Zigzag patterns
  • Blind spots
  • Shimmering spots or stars
  • Blurry Vision
  • Partial vision loss
  • Scotomas or a blank spots in your vision
  • Dimming
  • Pre occurrence of migraine prodrome, resulting in mood swings, increased cravings, or fatigue.


These are not severe indications and may momentarily impinge on certain actions such as reading or driving.

What Causes Ocular Migraines?

Ocular MigraineThe overwhelming evidence points at blood vessels in your head (mostly around your eyes) to be the culprits of ocular migraines. This occurs most frequently to pregnant women and to people undergoing heavy stress. For some people ocular migraines become a chronic condition that should be looked at by a specialist.

Additionally, all of the following could lead to ocular migraines:

  • Constant gaze on computer screen for long hours.
  • Cigarette smoke, alcohol, or strong odors, perfumes
  • Unbalanced eating and sleeping
  • Chronic emotional stress situations
  • Hormonal disturbances
  • Foods containing tyramine or phenylalanine
  • Food additives and artificial sweeteners
  • Fatigue
  • Genetic cause or inherited disorder
  • Changes in barometric pressure

How to Treat Ocular Migraines

Ocular Migraines are innocuous and typically get resolved on their own within half an hour; thus, usually require no treatment.

- First and foremost thing you should do is to visit your eye doctor. There are several options available for treating your ocular migraines, but only your eye doctor, after a thorough eye examination, can provide an accurate treatment.

- Stress related ocular migraine can be treated without medication by merely consuming healthy meals daily, getting extra sleep and beating stressors by applying stress-busters such as yoga and massage.

- Retinal migraine treatment involves medications like aspirin and other NSAIDS. Drugs, effective for reducing high blood pressure, are also suggested for ocular migraines.

- Few drugs, like calcium channel blockers, may be used in the treatment of ocular migraines.

- Avoiding caffeine, sodas, alcohol, deep fat fried foods, and food additives may also help in reducing ocular migraines.

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