All about Ocular Migraines

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If you’ve had this sensation before, then you probably know what’s coming.  It’s migraine time.  For the next several hours you’re going to be in bed with a pillow over your eyes to block out the light and praying your kids don’t come screaming in and bang on the bed because you’re sure you just might throw up if they do.

Migraines come in all shapes and sizes and this an ocular migraine.  Did you know that you can have an ocular migraine? Ocular means just what you think it means-affecting your eyes in some manner  It might not hurt as much as a full-blown migraine that causes you to be photo-sensitive (light hurts you) but it can be frightening if you’ve never experienced one before.  Those who suffer from an ocular migraine say it’s like having Christmas lights flashing in their eyes. Auras generally last 5 to 20 minutes and can give you things like vertigo (motion sickness or dizziness), imbalance, confusion or numbness; but most auras consist of visual disturbances such as partial vision loss, the appearance of “special effects” and distortion of objects. Occasionally the visual effects are stunning, from flashing lights, complex color patterns and shapes (e.g., triangles and dots) to seeing floaters in your eyes. A floater is when they see tiny objects appearing to float across their eyes.   An individual might also see shimmering or zig zag lines in the peripheral vision and blurriness in central vision.

 This obviously interferes with a person’s normal daily routine.  If you can’t see well, you can’t work and you most certainly cannot drive. 

Another kind of migraine occurs with an aura, but it only happens to one eye.  Patients report that their vision is like looking through watery glass, or it has pieces or chunks missing from their visual field.  Some say it’s as though they’re looking at an old television with very poor reception.  

Although it’s frightening, these ocular disturbances do not cause any permanent damage to a person’s vision and these auras are generally followed by a migraine.

If you have an ocular migraine, or aura or a visual disturbance of any kind, you need to see your doctor to rule out any other more dangerous problems that may be causing your auras.


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