Headaches are something that we all have had plenty of experience with, whether it’s the product of seasonal allergies, the common cold, or a plethora of other illnesses.
But what happens when a headache escalates to a migraine? Can there be other adverse symptoms? Can a migraine affect your eyes?
Temporary loss of vision or blindness in one or both eyes is known as an ocular migraine. Ocular migraines are one of the many byproducts of a headache and can be detrimental to your eyesight, even if the symptoms are only temporary.
The most common symptom of an ocular migraine, and the best way to identify one, are small blind spots in the field of vision of one of your eyes, usually lasting less than an hour.
These blind spots may just be in the shape of a circle, but can also be in the shape of a wave or zigzag. The blind spot usually will remain stationary in your field of view, but can also migrate across your eyesight.
A small number of people may experience total loss of vision in one eye for a temporary amount of time.
Additional symptoms may also include:
- Numbness, or tingling of the hands and face
- Feeling exhausted or mentally “fuzzy”
- Disruptions in senses of touch, smell, taste
- Flashing lights in both eyes, called “auras”
What Causes An Ocular Migraine?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to them:
- Genetics - Your family history may indicate that you are prone to ocular migraines. Ocular migraines are hereditary and can be passed down through your family tree.
- Hormone Levels - According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, high estrogen levels have been linked to the onset of ocular migraines.
- Triggers - There are a variety of triggers that can contribute to ocular migraines, such as bright lights, loud sounds, stress and anxiety, changes in the weather, and too much caffeine or caffeine withdrawals.
Since ocular migraines usually don’t last for more than 30 minutes, there’s no concrete treatment for them.
When you start to experience the symptoms of an ocular migraine, it is best to stop what you are doing and rest your eyes until the effects of the migraine wear off.
Doctor-recommended pain relievers are suggested if you experience a headache along with the other symptoms.
Ocular migraines, like a regular headache, are usually not life-threatening. Most are likely the byproduct of other illnesses.
It is important to identify the cause of your ocular migraine and to be proactive about treating one when it occurs.
If you are experiencing frequent ocular migraines, talk to your eye doctor to determine what could be causing them, and how you can prevent them in the future.
Don’t let the pain and discomfort of ocular migraines take over your life and your eyesight.