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Ocular Migraines

Learning About Ocular Migraines

Migraines are more than just a bad headache. Anyone who suffers from ocular migraines knows that the symptoms go well beyond just pain. At Swan Family Optometry in Fair Oaks, CA, we understand how an ocular migraine can affect our patients' lives.


What is an Ocular Migraine?

An ocular migraine, sometimes referred to as retinal migraine, is a condition that affects one eye and causes temporary vision loss or even blindness for up to an hour at a time. Many, but not all, sufferers experience a headache prior to or during an ocular migraine. While migraines, in general, can have a visual component, or aura, it is good to know that the symptoms and cause of an ocular migraine differs.

What Causes an Ocular Migraine?

As with most other types of migraines, it is not unusual for people who get ocular migraines to have a relative who suffers from them. Besides the genetic connection, some studies suggest that specific drinks and foods such as red wine and smoked meats, as well as other triggers like smoke, odors, and emotional stress, can cause the inflammation of the blood vessels and nerves surrounding the eye. Researchers are still working out the exact causes of the condition.

What Are the Symptoms of an Ocular Migraine?

In addition to visual issues, there are other symptoms associated with ocular migraines. These may include:

  • A headache: Headaches are a common symptom of this type of migraine. When headaches do occur, they appear only on one side of the head. Most people describe the headaches as a moderate to severe pulsating pain that increases when active.
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound: Loud noises and bright lights tend to increase the other symptoms in sufferers.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Impaired motor skills and slurred speech: Anyone experiencing an ocular migraine should never drive a car, and lie down until it passes if possible.

What Can You Do to Treat an Ocular Migraine?

While there are no proven treatment methods for ocular migraines that work for everyone, some sufferers have found relief using drugs meant to treat epilepsy and depression. Beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers sometimes work as well. Besides trying medication, you may want to keep a journal of the food, drinks, and activities immediately before the onset of an ocular migraine. Over time, this record will help you to determine your personal triggers, and allow you to avoid them in the future.

Talk to Our Fair Oaks, CA, Optometrist Today

Any visual loss is serious. Call Swan Family Optometry in Fair Oaks, CA, at (916) 966-6080 if you experience any problems affecting your eyesight.

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  • "Very professional, thorough, helpful, informative and friendly. Great service. Highly recommend."
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