Symptoms of an Optic Migraine

By Dana George

  • Overview

    An optic migraine, otherwise known as an ocular migraine, is basically a condition that affects the eyes. The blood vessels in the eye tighten suddenly, constricting proper blood flow to this organ. Usually, ocular migraine sufferers will experience an abrupt and unexpected visual disturbance that will be followed by a rather severe headache.
  • Aura

    Much like a regular migraine, an optic migraine will generally start off with something that is often referred to as an aura. These auras (or sensations) usually manifest in what seems to be flashes of light that essentially zigzag across the field of your vision. There is also the potential that you may see spots, though this isn't as common as the zigzag formation. But, unlike your average migraine, this aura doesn't come with pain. That will generally happen later.
  • Vision Change

    Soon after the aura, you'll usually experience a change in your vision. This could reveal itself as an almost visual dimming, like someone is lowering the intensity of light in the room. You may also experience a blurring sensation throughout your line of vision. This particular sensation will often induce a dizziness or lightheadedness in its sufferers.


  • Vision Loss

    Almost half of the people who suffer an optic migraine will actually lose their vision. This is not a permanent condition, just a symptom of this type of migraine. Typically, this vision loss will only happen in one eye and will last anywhere from five minutes to a half an hour.
  • Headache

    As soon as the disturbance in your vision occurs, you will usually suffer a fairly severe headache. However, many people have reported that they don't experience any sort of pain until after the auras and vision disturbances have passed. This will often be accompanied by nausea or even vomiting.
  • Sufferers

    Most people who suffer from an optic migraine will be women under 40 who have a family (or personal) history of migraines. This history of migraines is a general history, not a history specific to the ocular kind. If you do not fall within this specific demographic, it may also be due to another condition, including sickle cell anemia, lupus, epilepsy or one that is cardiovascular in nature. Some people who suffer from depression will also experience this sort of migraine.
  • Causes

    There are actual habits that may spawn the type of optical reaction that leads to an ocular migraine. Excessive alcohol consumption and caffeine have been known to contribute to optic migraines. Both personal stress and eye fatigue have also brought on this type of migraine. Even outside factors such as computer screens can bring on an attack.

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