Signs and Causes of Ocular Migraines
Many people experience different kinds of migraines even without knowing. An ocular migraine occurs when you experience a blind spot, floating lines, patterns that look like they are zigzagging and flashes of lights. This flash of light can sometimes be accompanied by feelings of headache behind the eyes.
What is an ocular migraine?
An ocular migraine is a type of migraine that is caused by a set of visual disturbances which may or may not be accompanied by pain. This type of migraine is sometimes known as ophthalmic migraines. These migraines are characterized by a small blind spot at the center of one’s vision. This blind spot starts to enlarge later and is often accompanied by flashing lights as well as other visual manifestations. Ocular migraines are typically nothing to worry about. A small percentage, around fourteen percent of the world’s population usually experience some type of migraine which include, retinal, traditional, ocular and other types of migraines.
Types of Migraines
- Migraine with pain
This type of migraine is mainly caused by a traditional migraine, which leads to an intense pain, usually on one side of the head. This type of pain can last for hours, or even days and is usually accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light. When experiencing ocular migraine, it can sometimes be followed by pain, but are usually more concentrates around the affected eye.
- Migraine without pain
This type of migraine usually happens without us even noticing that we are having a migraine. This is because there is no pain associated with this type of migraine. In this case, only the visual symptoms will appear. This can sometimes be compared to looking through a kaleidoscope. Some of the symptoms of migraine without pain include flashes of light, patterns that have a zigzag shape, blind spots, and floating lines among others.
- Migraine Aura
A migraine aura is the same as an ocular migraine. The only difference is that the pain that is associated with a migraine aura is more widespread. In addition to that, the visual symptoms of this type of migraine tens to disappear before the pain occurs. A visual migraine is mainly characterized by visual disturbances only. However, visual migraines affects both eyes and the symptoms are resolved within a duration of 30 minutes.
- Retinal Migraines
Retinal migraines are types of migraines that usually affects one eye and are usually accompanied by loss of vision. This is a scary type of migraine, but the good news is that it usually reverses on its own. Furthermore, this type of migraine can last up to several months and has been shown to occur mostly during the hormonal fluctuations in women. For instance, Retinal migraine occurs in most women during pregnancy. Many people mistake this type of migraine with having a stroke.
How long dos an ocular migraine last?
Ocular migraines usually last between thirty minutes to an hour. There is no alarm if your migraines last up to 60 minutes. However, when they last more than one hour, you should seek medical help from healthcare professionals. This is to confirm that you are not experiencing any underlying health conditions. Ocular migraines come with a variety of symptoms, some of which you will experience and others which you might not experience.
Ocular migraines symptoms
- Flashing lights. This is one of the most reported symptom of ocular migraine.
- Seeing patterns that seem to have a zigzag pattern.
- Blind spot, which affects mostly the central vision.
- Changes in vision.
- A tingling feeling in hands or on the face.
- Fuzziness or a mental fog.
Triggers of ocular migraines
- Stress: stress is the main factor that triggers the different types of migraines that we experience in our lifetime.
- Dehydration: not drinking enough water also causes ocular migraines. This is why it is advised that we stay hydrated at all times.
- Strong odors: strong odors make you feel like you are having a headache. This is another common trigger of ocular migraine.
- Smoking: smoking has different health hazards and is also a trigger of ocular migraines.
- Lack of sleep.
- Food additives.
What causes ocular migraines?
Many scientists have tried to figure the main cause of ocular migraines. However, it has been difficult to pin point the exact cause of ocular migraines and other types of migraines. Most studies agree that some of the potential causes of ocular migraine include the following.
- Hormones: different hormones, such as during pregnancies have been confirmed to be a potential cause of ocular migraine.
- Genetics: studies also has it that if ocular migraine runs in your family genetics then you are prone to having the same issue.
- When the flow of blood changes to specific regions of the brain and the head, one is likely to experience ocular migraines.
According to the World Health Organization, ocular migraines are likely caused when the brain triggers an inflammatory response, that in turn releases pain. The pain in the brain then produces chemicals around the nerves and the blood vessels in the head.
How to stop an Ocular migraine: Treatments
Most people are scared by the symptoms of ocular migraines. It is okay to be scared, but the good news is that it is never a sign of anything serious. This is because they last for a short period, ranging between thirty to sixty minutes. However, the condition only becomes serious when it lasts for more than an hour. When you realize that your ocular migraines have lasted more than an hour, seek professional help to determine the cause of the pain.
There is no specific treatment for ocular migraine since they eventually fade away, but if you find them troublesome and not fading away you should seek help. The professionals might be able to determine the exact cause of the migraines which include triggers such as stress and insomnia. Seeing a health professional is also important in that they will make sure that the problem you are experiencing is not as a result of an underlying health condition.