Ocular migraine can cause temporary vision disturbances in one eye. It is basically a neurological disease that typically affects only one eye. Find out more about this condition, and its causes, symptoms, and treatment, in this HealthHearty article.
Ocular migraine or ophthalmoplegic migraine affects the eye, typically only one eye. Sometimes, this condition can be confused with a migraine aura affecting your vision. A migraine aura usually affects both the eyes, unlike ophthalmoplegic migraine. But it is usually not considered a serious condition. It can produce symptoms like blind spots, shimmering spots, and flashes of light that can last for a brief period of time. Ophthalmoplegic migraine can cause diminished or temporary loss of vision that can last for a short period of time. It can also be accompanied or followed by a headache.
A migraine is basically a neurological disease. A migraine headache is usually associated with the abnormalities of the blood vessels of the head. Retinal or ocular migraine is caused when these blood vessels constrict suddenly resulting in a reduced supply of blood to the eye. This in turn, causes temporary loss of vision in one eye that can last for a few minutes.
Sometimes, an episode of retinal migraine can damage the retina, and the blood vessels present in it. It has been observed that this condition is more common in women, and people having a family history of migraine and other types of headaches. People with diseases like lupus, depression, epilepsy, and sickle cell anemia can also experience retinal migraine.
The causes of ophthalmoplegic migraine are not known with certainty, but it is believed to be triggered by certain factors. Some such common triggering factors are, stress, alcohol consumption, hunger, an exposure to bright light, and the consumption of certain food and beverages like chocolates, caffeinated beverages, food prepared with monosodium glutamate, milk, and meat preserved in nitrates. Menstruation and the use of oral contraceptives are some other factors that trigger retinal migraine in some women.
This condition is characterized by a number of visual symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is the appearance of a small, but expanding blind spot, which is termed as scotoma. The blind spot can be seen in the central vision, and it can be accompanied by flickering lights (scintillations) or zigzag steaks (metamorphopsia) that can be seen within the scotoma. Though a blind spot first appears in the region of central vision, it can gradually enlarge and cover the entire field of vision. This condition can also be accompanied by some other symptoms like double vision or diplopia, headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Ocular migraine may not need any treatment, if it is mild and does not occur frequently. But if the frequency or the intensity of the symptoms increases, then it is important to seek medical attention. Moreover, visual disturbances can be associated with certain other diseases as well, for which the condition should be properly evaluated.
Usually, analgesics can provide some relief in migraine headaches. Medications like extracranial vasoconstrictors, cafergot, and ergotamine can also be used to get relief from the pain. Ergotamine is basically used for relieving the headache and other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and tingling sensations. Another medication used for treating this condition is sumatriptan. However, medications like sumatriptan and ergotamine should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding without consulting a health care provider.
Retinal migraine usually does not cause any permanent vision problem or brain damage. The incidence of permanent neurological damage due to ocular migraine is quite rare. Nevertheless, it is important to consult a physician on observing any of the aforementioned symptoms, in order to rule the possibility of any serious condition.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.