What is Eye Migraine?

Eye Migraine

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What is Eye Migraine?

Eye migraine is a very rare subtype of migraine. It is also called ocular migraine or ophthalmic migraine in medicine.
As the name suggests, ocular migraine affects a person’s visual system. And it is associated with temporary visual disturbances.
It may be associated with headache. But it is always accompanied by a headache. The diagnostic criteria for ocular migraine are that symptoms usually last from a few minutes to a maximum of 1 hour.
Ocular migraine does not usually cause any serious health problems for those affected.

There are many different types of migraine:

  • Headache migraine,
  • Retinal migraine and eye migraine,

These are migraine types that are often confused and whose differences are wondered.Since these different types of migraine cause a clinical picture accompanied by similar symptoms, it becomes difficult to distinguish between types. But there are differences, albeit small.
It is typical for an ocular migraine patient, for example, to have both eyes usually severely affected.
Although migraine attacks with aura can also cause visual disturbances, they are a sign of a migraine attack and occur before the attack.
In the case of ocular migraine with aura, visual disturbances are the main symptoms.
Headache does not occur in some cases and is accompanied by visual disturbances. The symptom of nausea, which is frequently seen in migraine patients, is seen in very rare cases in eye migraine patients.

What are The Causes of Eye Migraine?

The exact cause of ocular migraine is not yet fully understood.
However, research shows that certain factors can lead to an ocular migraine attack.

These factors may include:

  • Stress:

High stress levels can cause an eye migraine attack.

  • Hormonal Changes:

Changes in estrogen levels, especially during menstruation, can cause an ocular migraine attack.

  • Sleep Disorders:

Sleep disorders or insufficient sleep can lead to an ocular migraine attack.

  • Dietary Factors:

Some foods, especially hard or non-juicy foods, can cause an eye migraine attack.

  1. Especially processed foods,
  2. Nitrate meats,
  3. Cheeses,
  4. Wine,
  5. Chocolate,
  6. Caffeine,
  7. Glutamate and artificial sweeteners

They are known as eye migraine triggers.

  • Environmental Factors:

  1. Bright lights,
  2. Loud voices,
  3. Pungent odors,
  4. Changing weather conditions
  5. and high altitude,

It may cause an eye migraine attack.

  • Genetic Factors:

Ocular migraine tends to be more common in people with a family history of it.

What are The Symptoms of Eye Migraine?

Eye migraine is a type of migraine and is usually characterized by eye-related symptoms.
Ocular migraine symptoms may differ from other types of migraines.

And it may include:

  1. Eye Pain:

There may be a stinging, burning or painful sensation in the eyes.

  1. Vision Changes:

During ocular migraine attacks, temporary vision changes may occur.

  • Among these changes;
  • Blurred vision,
  • Fluctuation of images
  • Perceived as fluctuation,
  • Flashes of light
  • or spotted vision may be present.

These visual disturbances are called migraine aura.

  1. Eye Movements:

During ocular migraine, sudden movements of the eyes may occur. And there may be a feeling that the eyes move involuntarily.

  1. Sensitivity to Light:

During an eye migraine attack, increased sensitivity to light may occur and bright lights may be uncomfortable.

  1. Eye Redness or Swelling:

During a migraine attack, you may experience redness or swelling in the eyes.

  1. Other Migraine Symptoms:

Ophthalmic migraine is usually not accompanied by the headache of a classic migraine attack.
However, in some cases, other migraine symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or headache, may combine with ocular migraine attacks.
Ocular migraine symptoms usually last between 20 and 60 minutes. And then it may disappear on its own.
Ocular migraine can be associated with triggering factors. And factors such as stress, hormonal changes, changes in sleep patterns, consumption of certain foods or beverages, and environmental factors can trigger a migraine attack.

What are The Types of Eye Migraine Diseases?

  • Classic Eye Migraine:

Symptoms of this type of migraine usually begin in or near the eyes.
And then other symptoms (headache, nausea, etc.) develop.
This type of ocular migraine is characterized by pre-symptomatic warning signs, often called an aura.

  • Eye Migraine with Aura:

Aura includes visual disturbances in the form of flickering lights, zigzag lines, or rings of light in the eyes.
Aura may occur before an ocular migraine attack. And it can take up to 20 to 60 minutes.

  • Silent Eye Migraine:

In this type of migraine, there are no symptoms in the eye.
Only headache or other symptoms occur.
Therefore, it is called silent ocular migraine.

  • Chronic Eye Migraine:

If a person experiences 15 or more migraine attacks per month, it is called chronic ocular migraine.

How to Diagnose Eye Migraine?

The diagnosis of ocular migraine can be made by listening to the symptoms and eliminating other conditions that may cause those symptoms.

Doctors may ask you to keep a migraine diary, detailing when the headache and other symptoms started, how long they lasted, and their triggers.

To diagnose ocular migraine, the doctor may order the following tests and imaging methods:

  • Eye Examination:

The ophthalmologist may perform an examination to check for any serious conditions in your eye.

  • A Complete Physical Examination:

Your doctor may perform a complete physical examination to rule out other factors associated with migraine attacks.

  • Neurological Tests:

Your doctor may order various tests to check your nervous system and evaluate other neurological conditions.

  • Imaging Methods:

Imaging methods such as an MRI or CT scan, which show blood flow to your brain and its structural features, help see the impact of migraines on the eye. It can provide information about whether there is a problem with the blood flow to the retina.

What are The Treatments for Eye Migraine?

Treatment for ocular migraine is similar to treatments used for other types of migraine.

However, it can be tailored to target eye-related symptoms.

Treatment of ocular migraine is determined by the frequency and severity of symptoms and personal health status.

  1. Painkillers:

Painkillers can be used for eye pain and other symptoms that occur during a migraine attack. These medications may help relieve migraine pain.

  1. Migraine Medications:

Some migraine medications can help reduce the severity of a migraine attack and relieve symptoms. Specific migraine medications, such as triptans and ergotamines, may be used to treat ocular migraines.

  1. Anti-Migraine Drugs:

If ocular migraine attacks recur frequently, anti-migraine medications can be prescribed by the doctor. These medications can help reduce the frequency and ease the severity of migraine attacks.

  1. Avoiding Triggers:

Identifying and avoiding trigger factors that cause an ocular migraine attack can help prevent migraines. Therefore, it is important for a person to recognize and avoid factors that may trigger a migraine attack.

  1. Rest and Stress Management:

  • Paying attention to sleep patterns,
  • Reduce stress,
  • Rest regularly,

It may help reduce the likelihood of a migraine attack.

  1. Monitoring Daily Activities:

Keeping a migraine diary can be useful to determine the frequency of migraine attacks and trigger factors.


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