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Ocular Migraine: All You Should Know About It

February 5, 2023

Ocular migraine, also known as a retinal migraine, usually affects only one eye at a time. This kind of migraine results in a brief loss of vision or blackouts. The duration of these visual symptoms might range from a few seconds to an hour, or you may suffer symptoms for a whole day. Your eyesight returns to normal after the attack.

Ocular migraine: Is it more than a headache?

Ocular migraine is a rare condition brought on by reduced blood flow in the retina or behind the affected eye. Ocular migraines and visual migraines differ majorly in two ways:

  • Ocular migraine affects only one eye, whereas visual migraine can affect one or both eyes.
  • Ocular migraine does not cause headache but causes temporary blindness in one eye, whereas visual migraine causes severe headache.

Ocular migraine: What causes it?

During ocular migraines, the blood vessels that supply blood to the eye suddenly tighten, which lowers the amount of blood the eye receives, resulting in eye pain, brief loss of vision or blackouts. The blood vessels relax after the attack, normal blood flow restarts, and your vision goes back to normal.

Ocular migraine: What are its signs and symptoms?

If you notice an ocular migraine attack, keep an eye out for any temporary vision problems. After around 30 minutes, cover the unaffected eye to see if the vision in the affected eye has been retained.

When you get a headache, you should keep an eye out for the following additional ocular migraine symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity  to light
  • Frequent vertigo
  • Constant nausea and vomiting sensation
  • Temporary eyesight loss in one eye
  • Black dots and blank areas within your vision
  • Constant headache that lasts for close to 24 to 72 hours, affecting only one side of the head
  • Visual changes such as zigzag patterns, flashing lights, halos, or diagonal lines

Ocular migraine: What triggers it?

Numerous things, such as lifestyle choices and environmental influences, might cause ocular migraines. It can be challenging to determine the exact reason for your ocular migraines, but you may notice a pattern start to appear dependent on the tasks you do or the food you consume. For example, if you skip a meal, you might get an ocular migraine.

The following are common triggers for ocular migraines:

  • Smoking
  • Exercise
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Bending over
  • Excessive heat
  • High altitude
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood sugar
  • Hormonal contraceptive pills

Ocular migraine: How is it treated?

Ocular migraines frequently go away on their own within a few minutes or up to an hour without any particular treatment. If the pain is persistent using an over-the-counter pain reliever as soon as possible may help.

Take steps to prevent it:

In addition to medication, doctors sometimes advise patients to quit smoking and stop using oral contraceptives. Avoid situations that can trigger migraines, such as stress, dehydration, high altitude, low blood sugar, intense heat, and spending a lot of time in front of a computer.

Aim to use prescription drugs:

There are now treatments for the symptoms that can be taken frequently beforehand to prevent migraines or reduce the severity of attacks. It can be difficult to find the right medicine combination, and long-term drug use might sometimes result in unpleasant side effects, such as rebound headaches.

Make healthy lifestyle

Healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent both a regular migraine and an ocular migraine, so doctors usually advise to:

  • Follow a consistent sleep pattern, retiring and waking at the same time each day
  • Get regular exercise and engage in stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises.
  • Try to avoid working on a computer for long periods of time without a break.
  • It’s best to avoid strong indoor lighting as well as hot, sunny days spent outside in the sun.

Therapeutic devices are an option:

If you get ocular migraines frequently, you can benefit from making an investment in therapeutic equipment to reduce the quantity of light you are exposed to.

Use alternative methods:

You can use a variety of complementary therapies in addition to medical treatment. These include support groups, aromatherapy, oxygen therapy, heat or ice packs, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and massage.

Ojas – Eye Hospital’s statement

In the end, it is time to schedule your next checkup at Ojas – Eye Hospital in Mumbai if you notice any visual changes, such as twinkling lights or blind spots. Our ophthalmologists can help identify the issue and work with you to create the best treatment strategy.


Ojas Eye Hospital A Center of Excellence for Contoura Vision, Femto Bladefree Lasik in Mumbai, India.