What are Ocular Migraines

Ocular migraines are migraine headaches that are accompanied by visual disturbances, usually significantly reduced vision or even temporary blindness in one eye. Although many people use the term to describe a benign condition otherwise known as aura migraines in which sufferers may see shimmering or flashing lights, stars, erratic lines, or even psychedelic imagery, the two are not the same. Ocular migraines are sometimes also called ophthalmic, optical, and retinal migraines. However, ocular migraines and visual migraines are sometimes difficult to tell apart because the symptoms have significant similarities. As a general rule, visual abnormalities in ocular migraines occur in just one eye.


Ocular migraines have the same causes as classic migraines, although there’s still an element of mystery involved because medical science doesn’t yet understand all aspects of how these conditions happen. We know, however, that inflammatory substances released deep within the brain play a significant role in the development of both types of migraines. It’s also widely believed in the medical community that genetics is a part of the picture. Common triggers have also been identified, including red wine, coffee, dark chocolate, aged cheeses, and cured and smoked meats. Some people also report developing ocular migraines as a result of exposure to strong perfumes, cigarette smoke, emotional stress, overly bright or flashing lights, and certain dietary ingredients such as artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate.


Fortunately, ocular migraines typically disappear within an hour of arriving on the scene without any special treatment. However, you should nonetheless be evaluated by a professional if you experience them. Preventive treatment might be available for you that will reduce the risks involved in suddenly experience visual disturbances, and your eye care professional will be able to rule out more potentially serious conditions.


Those suffering from ocular migraines are also advised to keep a journal of activities and dietary intake prior to occurrences for the purpose of identifying possible triggers.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you suspect that you’ve been experiencing ocular migraines.