Visual Disturbance? It could be an Ocular Migraine.

migraineWe often consult with patients who aren’t quite sure what is happening with their vision; they just know something is not right. Experience any type of visual disturbance, even for a few hours or minutes, can be frightening. If this has happened to you, we encourage you to contact our Mililani office. A thorough eye exam can help us determine whether or not your particular problem is linked to an ocular migraine.

Ocular migraines are different than the standard migraine; and the good news is that they are typically harmless. The primary concern with this condition is to ensure that symptoms are, in fact, caused by the migraine and not another, more serious, underlying cause. Scientists have not determined an exact cause for ocular migraines, but they do suggest that they are related to the temporary disturbance of blood flow to certain parts of the brain. In this instance, that is the visual cortex.

Are your symptoms characteristic of an ocular migraine?
There are several ways that an ocular migraine may present. Every person may have a different experience. Also, symptoms can vary from one migraine to another. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms include:

  • One eye or both eyes may be affected.
  • Vision may be affected for as little as a few minutes, or for hours.
  • A pulsating or shimmering jagged line may appear in the field of vision.
  • Tunnel vision may occur, or a “blank area” may be noticed in central vision.
  • Symptoms may worsen before they dissipate.
  • A mirage effect, like heat waves, may occur.
  • After symptoms start to fade, a slight headache may develop. If pain is severe, the likely cause is a true migraine rather than an ocular migraine.

Triggers
There are several factors that researchers believe could instigate an ocular migraine. However, sometimes, no cause can be identified. If you have experienced an ocular migraine, it could be due to:

  • A food additive or sensitivity to a certain food or drink.
  • Dehydration.
  • Stress.
  • Fatigue due to lack of sleep.
  • Sensitivity to a certain medication.
  • Hormonal imbalance (possibly from oral contraceptives).
  • Weather changes that affect barometric pressure.

Any type of visual disturbance can cause a great deal of stress. Don’t let this happen to you! Call 808-625-5577 to have your eyes examined.

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