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Ocular Migraine

Ocular Migraine Symptoms

Ocular migraine (also known as retinal migraine, ophthalmic migraine, optic migraine, visual migraine) is a painless, temporary visual disturbance that can affect one or both eyes. Though they can be frightening, ocular migraines typically are harmless and self-resolve without medication within 10 to 30 minutes.

Common symptoms are:

  • temporary blurry vision or loss of vision on one side
  • seeing bright or dark spots
  • seeing floating lines
  • seeing shimmering, colored or flickering lights
  • seeing zigzagged lines or different pattern
  • permanent vision change is very rare

What causes ocular migraines?

It appears migraines are triggered by activation of a mechanism deep in the brain, which releases inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head and brain. Common external triggers for susceptible individuals include certain foods, such as caffeinated drinks, chocolate, nuts, aged cheese, smoked meats, MSG, artificial sweeteners, cigarette smoke, perfumes, lack of sleep and emotional stress.

Treating Ocular Migraines

The vision disturbances that occur with migraines usually go away after the migraine attack passes. Some migraine sufferers find that resting during an attack helps. If the trigger can be identified, just avoiding it will reduce frequency of the attack. As always, let your doctor know about your symptoms to make sure they are caused by a migraine and not a more serious issue, like a retinal tear or detachment.