Ocular migraines are temporary visual disturbances. Although they can be alarming, they’re usually nothing to worry about and symptoms will normally disappear on their own after around 30 minutes.
Did you know?
Ocular migraine symptoms usually go away on their own, so most people don’t need treatment for them. The best thing to do is to rest your eyes until your symptoms subside and your vision returns to normal. If you ever have any concerns, give us a call, or visit your optician or GP.
Ocular migraine symptoms:
Temporary loss of vision in one eye (normally the same eye each time)
Blurry vision – or blurred vision in one eye
Flashing lights, squiggly patterns or blind spots across your field of vision
A headache before, during or after you experience vision loss
Loss of peripheral vision
Any vision loss you experience will normally last for about 10-20 minutes before your sight starts to return gradually. In some cases it can be longer, but it’s not common for it to last more than an hour.
Ocular migraines are different to a migraine with aura, which can involve flashing lights and blind spots, and usually affects both eyes. Ocular migraines don’t always have accompanying head pain or headache like a normal migraine.
Ocular migraines causes
An ocular migraine happens when the blood flow to the eye becomes restricted due to a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels. Once the vessels relax, normal blood flow returns and symptoms clear. Usually this will have no lasting damage to the eye.
Common triggers include:
High blood pressure
Low blood sugar
Certain types of contraceptives
They’re also more common in women, people over 40, and those with a family history of migraines or headaches.
Avoiding these triggers is the first step in preventing ocular migraines. So keep a note of when you get an attack so that you can work out what your trigger is.
Diagnosing ocular migraines
Ocular migraines can be diagnosed through examining the eyes and asking a series of questions about the symptoms. It’s important to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Once diagnosed, treatment for the ocular migraines and advice on preventing them can be discussed.
Ocular migraine treatments
Treatment isn’t always necessary for ocular migraines as symptoms usually go away own their own after about half an hour. We’d recommend resting your eyes until your symptoms pass, and taking painkillers as recommended if you have an accompanying headache. Otherwise, the best thing you can do is to avoid exposure to common triggers.
However, because ocular migraine symptoms are similar to those caused by a stroke-type event in the eye, it’s important that you seek medical advice from your GP quickly so that further investigations can be considered.
If you have any concerns about the frequency of your ocular migraines, visit your GP who may also be able to recommend further treatment, like medications that can prevent ocular migraines from happening