What is Ocular Migraine?
The Good and Bad News of Ocular Migraines
This is a good news and bad news situation. The good news is that ocular migraines are painless, harmless and don’t require medication. The bad news is that they temporarily affect your vision in one or both eyes. To the first time sufferer, this can be terrifying because they may worry that they are going blind.
The reality is that this is a temporary situation and in about 20 minutes or so, your ocular migraine will vanish as fast as it came. It’s really no cause for concern. So, you can allay your fears.
It would be best to get confirmation from your doctor that you really do suffer from ocular migraines and not other eye issues such as blood flow problems in the arteries behind the retina.
The cause for ocular migraines varies from individual to individual. It is not a very common form of migraine and affects about 15% of women and 6% of men. Women are 3 times more predisposed to migraines.
Scientists have mentioned that it could be due to genetics and 70 percent of people who have migraines usually have a family history of migraines. The disorder is characterized by the release of inflammatory substances deep within the brain.
These substances affect the blood vessels and nerves around affected area leading to headaches and ocular migraines. While doctors and scientists understand how migraines occur, nobody is really sure why they occur.
Poor Diet – A Common Culprit of Ocular Migraines
There are some common culprits that have been identified as migraine triggers. A poor diet that is high in processed food, caffeine, refined sugar, etc. has been known to raise one’s risk of getting migraines. Foods high in artificial sweeteners and food additives such as monosodium glutamate are also potential migraine triggers.
Like Hippocrates, once said, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” There is a wealth of wisdom in this one line that seems to have been forgotten by most people today. The food you eat is the most important factor for good health. Yet, most people will say, “Hippocrates who? Forget him! Let me just grab those crates of beer for the party later!”
Ocular migraines have a few other names such as retinal migraines, eye migraines and ophthalmic migraines. While the names differ, it’s the same thing.
If you have migraine headaches where your head actually hurts and is accompanied by a partial loss of vision, this is not ocular migraine. It is an aura and is a migraine symptom which is usually accompanied by a throbbing sensation on one side of the head.
When you have an ocular migraine, your vision will be distorted and you may see blind spots that seem to get bigger. This is known as a scotoma and the blind spot will be surrounded by lights that are either bright, flickering or flashing. None of this is actually happening in your external environment. It’s only in your eyes.
To make matters worse, the blind spot may move through your field of vision during the entirety of the episode which usually lasts from 20 to 30 minutes. It’s best to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery during an ocular migraine.
Most ocular migraines will go away with time and there is nothing to panic about. Speak to your doctor and he or she will advise you about your condition and any possible measures you can take to alleviate the condition. That’s the best thing that you can do because there’s really nothing much else that you can do.