Retinal migraine (also referred to as ophthalmic migraine, and ocular migraine) is a retinal disease often accompanied by migraine headache and normally impacts just one eye. It is brought on by ischaemia or vascular convulsion in or behind the affected eye.
The terms “retinal migraine” and “ocular migraine” are frequently confused with “visual migraine”, which is a far-more-common symptom of vision loss, arising from the aura phase of the typical migraine. The aura phase of migraine can occur with or without a headache. Ocular or retinal migraines take place in the eye, so just impact the vision in that eye, while visual migraines take place in the brain, so impact the vision in both eyes together. Visual migraines arise from cortical spreading anxiety and are likewise commonly called scintillating scotoma.
How Common Are Ocular Migraines?
Q: Thank you for the info you have published about ocular migraines. I’ve had many episodes over the past five years, however most recently was recently when I was two and a half hours far from my home. It took over an hour for it to totally go away. I appreciate your explanation of the usual symptoms, since it described what I experienced to a “T.”
I had one concern, though. Other sources on the Internet say this phenomenon is unusual. But you state it is rather typical. Is it?– B.M.
A: Ophthalmic migraines are not unusual, particularly if you are a woman under age 40 with a history of migraines.– Dr. Slonim.
Symptoms of Ocular Migraines
Q: I have had ocular migraines for several years. I have the traditional rugged strobe effect. No big offer typically.
But in 2015 I had a strange and various thing take place that still stresses me. All of a sudden my eyes crossed and stuck that way. My fingertips went sort of numb, and the side of my tongue and bottom lip went numb. When I tried to discuss this to the nurse, I seemed like a stroke victim.
I saw a neurologist, and he felt it was just a more intense type of ocular migraine. Have you ever heard of this? The MRI revealed nothing significant.– S.
A: By meaning, this would not be a classic ophthalmic migraine, since the symptoms are outside of what is seen. Therefore, I personally would not categorize it as a “more intense type of ophthalmic migraine.” These symptoms could be associated with some of the more typical non-ophthalmic migraine phenomena.– Dr. Slonim.
Q: My other half started having symptoms of something extremely strange. We looked online and discovered your site. It turns out he was having an ocular migraine.
Your description and – even better – the visual little flash motion picture described precisely what he was having and put our minds at ease. We were both believing brain tumor or aneurysm (too much “Grey’s Anatomy”). So thank you for creating such an astonishingly informative website.
As well as much better, thank you for assembling something as easy as that flash motion picture explaining what it looks like. I never ever would have thought him otherwise. I know a lot of work went into it, and today you conserved us a journey to the ER. Thanks so much! – L.S.
A: Thank you for your kind words. The brain is our central command center for all body functions, so tumors, aneurysms, strokes and degenerative diseases can have myriad symptoms and signs (a lot of to list on our website). A person needs to seek immediate medical attention in cases such as:
- A noticeable interruption of any of the 5 basic senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching).
- An unexpected change in psychological status, such as unusual amnesia or inability to recognize a familiar face.
- Problem in ambulating, which includes walking in a straight line or standing in location without falling.
- Problem in communicating, such as slurred speech.
By the way, despite the fact that your spouse’s experience might indeed have actually been an ocular migraine, it would be sensible for him to visit his doctor and make sure that his symptoms weren’t brought on by something else that was perhaps more major.– Dr. Slonim.
Q: Thank you so much for your short article on ophthalmic migraines. I believed I was a goner.:-RRB- I’ll be sure to make a note of this must I get another one anytime soon. But for now, I am gratefully assured. Thanks once again for the info.– J.
A: Thank you for visiting our site. An educated patient is always a much better patient for both the patient and the doctor. Our objective is to keep you informed about your eyes and the conditions that are sometimes connected to the eyes, such as ophthalmic migraines.
See the above note about seeing a doctor. Plus, you actually may think about keeping a log of your ophthalmic migraine episodes. This might be of great worth to a doctor who might think about treatment if your symptoms ever aggravate or the frequency of events begins to increase.
Get a calendar or date book, and write down the day and time of incident, length of the episode and all of the symptoms you experienced. Examine your vision in each eye individually– in other words, cover one eye at a time with your hand and note any symptoms in your exposed eye. Try to remember what you experienced during the hour before the episode. Some examples would be an argument with someone, heavy workout or a difficult moment at work.
In evaluating your log, you or your doctor might discover a consistent pattern of triggers related to your episodes. Preventing these triggers might help in reducing the frequency of your episodes.– Dr. Slonim.
Q: I’m extremely concerned. This is my 3rd attack of ocular migraine. The very first time it ever took place was when the microwave oven at somebody’s home was on with absolutely nothing in it for over 20 minutes. Unknowning this, I used the microwave oven and heated some items. Thirty minutes later, I had symptoms.
I really thought I got radiation in my eyes. Could that be possible? And can things like this trigger an ocular migraine?– M.L.
A: As long as the door on the microwave was closed during those 20 minutes, the outdoors environment (that is, the kitchen area) ought to have been protected from any microwaves trying to leave the oven. The microwaves do not build up in the oven. So when you opened the oven door, there would be little chance, if any, that you were bombarded by a high dosage of microwaves that were accumulated before you opened the door.
Bear in mind that ophthalmic migraines do not originate in the eyes. They come from the brain, however the symptoms are visual due to the fact that they impact the visual cortex (the part of the brain responsible for sight).– Dr. Slonim.
Q: I wish to applaud you for the fine article on ocular migraine. Especially useful were the pictures, which I recognized from my own attack. I have actually been doing some heavy dieting and I believe that might have triggered the attack.– D.B.
A: I am not knowledgeable about any research that directly connects heavy dieting with ophthalmic migraines. However, stress and tiredness have actually been known to activate episodes in vulnerable persons. Certainly, heavy dieting can be demanding and can be fatiguing depending upon the lack of nutrition that a person may experience during the diet.– Dr. Slonim.
A Cure for Ocular Migraines?
Q: I read your short article on ocular migraines and had some concerns. I have been taking medication for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) for 7 years and have been a long distance runner for seven years. After about 5 years of this, I began getting ocular migraines. They finally started occurring numerous times per week.
I read some information that recommended taking B vitamins, especially B12, may assist. I attempted that. Within two weeks, the ocular migraines were gone. Could this truly be the root of the problem? If so, possibly it would assist others if you considered including this to the post.– S.S.
A: I understand a few research studies that have actually demonstrated a relationship between B vitamins and folic acid intake and the reduction in frequency of migraines. I am not aware that any of these research studies were specific to ophthalmic migraines. However, thank you very much for your details. – Dr. Slonim.