a girl holding her head due to headache

Ocular migraines: Maybe this is you?

Recently a friend of mine was telling me a story about his left eye becoming blurry while he was driving and how odd it was – I immediately realized he had experienced a retinal migraine. The scary thing is, he did not have a clue what an ocular migraine was or what a retinal migraine was for that matter.

This is the danger of these particular migraines – they are generally painless, sudden and will typically only affect your vision. The difference between the two is that a retinal migraine affects one eye, whereas a full ocular migraine will affect both eyes.

Difference between traditional migraines and ocular migraines

Ocular migraines are a completely different beast compared to what a traditional migraine is. Generally, migraines are thought to be a blinding, painful headache that can cause, what can only be described as, a ‘brain fog’. You may even experience visual disturbances such as auras, flashing lights, blind spots and tunnel vision depending on the severity of your migraine.

On the other hand, ocular migraines have their own unique set of symptoms – some of which are truly scary. The severity of these symptoms vary between individuals, with some people who suffer from ocular migraines not even being aware they are experiencing one.

The symptoms of ocular migraines

The most common symptom is a temporary loss of vision or even simply blurred or dimmed vision. Whether people who suffer from ocular migraines just palm them off as tiredness or a strange occurrence – ocular migraines seem to be an enigma to many people.

Also, vision loss usually only lasts for about 10-20 minutes before your sight gradually returns and the migraine can also be painless – which only adds to the mystery and scary nature of an ocular migraine.

What causes ocular migraines?

Like other types of migraines, there are potential triggers for ocular migraines – some are unknown and some you may be able to isolate and define. These triggers may include:

  • Stress & anxiety
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Change in season/weather
  • Low blood sugar

What should I do if I experience ocular migraines?

Whether you experience ocular migraines regularly, infrequently or you are not even sure if you have had one before, there are certain actions you can take. It all depends on the severity of the migraine and what you are doing when you experience one. For example, if you are like my friend and you are driving – pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and wait until the ocular migraine has passed. The last thing you want is go completely blind while doing 100km an hour down the motorway.

On the other hand, you may be able to continue with your normal daily routine, ocular migraines are generally painless after all. Obviously give yourself some time to rest and recover while you are experiencing the migraine initially. It is important to get in touch with us if you are concerned in any way. Feel free to contact the team at Outlook Eye Centre to learn how we can help you with your migraines and any other worries you may have.