Though an ophthalmic migraine is usually considered a harmless condition, it can be very discomforting as it causes visual disturbances in the sufferer. Read on for symptoms, causes and treatment options for an ophthalmic migraine…
When someone says migraine, the first thought that comes to the mind is a severe one-sided headache. The reason being, most of us associate migraines with such headaches. However, what most of us are unaware of is a type of migraine which does not cause any headache! Ophthalmic migraine, also known as ocular migraine or silent migraine, produces no headache. The only way it is discovered is when the person experiencing it observes visual disturbances in one eye. The following HealthHearty article brings forth the causes, symptoms and treatments for the same.
Till date, it has not been established as to what causes this type of migraine. According to some researches, changes in the blood flow to the part of the brain which is responsible for vision results in this condition, while other researches say that tightening of the blood vessels behind the eye causes an ophthalmic migraine. Still, medical science is not sure whether these are the real reasons behind this condition.
Nevertheless, there are some factors which can trigger this migraine attack. Here is a list of the potential triggers:
- Certain medicines
- Oral Contraceptives
- Hormonal changes in the body, such as those that occur when a woman is menstruating
- Lack of sleep
- Changes in weather
- Bright lights
- Strong odors
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Intake of foods and beverages like alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolates, artificial sweeteners, preservatives in foods, chemicals in foods like amino acids found in old cheese, dairy products, nuts, pickles and fermented foods.
The symptoms vary from person to person. Although visual disturbance is experienced by all, its effects vary. For instance, some people feel as if a blind spot has appeared and is increasing in front of their eyes, while some see flickering or zigzag lights. Some people are even known to experience distorted vision due to ophthalmic migraines. Again, these symptoms may go on for hours in some of the sufferers, while in others, they may last only for about fifteen to twenty minutes! Tiredness and fatigue is often associated with an ophthalmic migraine attack.
In majority of the cases, ophthalmic migraines do not require any treatment. However, if it starts affecting one’s daily life and if the frequency of the migraine increases, a doctor should be consulted. Usually doctors recommend pills which reduce the number of attacks as well as bring down their severity too.
There are some precautionary measures, which if followed, can reduce the symptoms. However, for treating the symptoms, a person needs to first of all find the specific triggers in his case. To ascertain what caused the migraine attack, the sufferer should write down all the things he ate or did, before the attack. He should keep a track of this, a few times, every time he gets an attack. It will help him to arrive at the causes behind the migraine.
Once a person is sure of the causes, he should take steps to eliminate the same.
- If stress is the causative factor, introduce relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, and meditation and yoga in the daily routine.
- Make sure to follow a definite sleeping pattern and sleep for seven to eight hours every day.
- If there are some foods that are leading to this condition, eliminate those from the diet. Give up alcohol and limit caffeine intake as well.
- Changing over to some other suitable medication, using other forms of birth control instead of oral contraceptives, taking adequate rest in between work, are some other things that can be done to avoid this condition.
Since ophthalmic migraines cause visual disturbances, a person experiencing it should refrain from driving during the attack, as it can lead to accidents. Taking rest as soon as one gets an attack is recommended. However, if this condition develops very frequently, so much so that it starts affecting the sufferer’s work and life or if he experiences some unusual vision symptoms, it is advised to not take it lightly and consult a doctor immediately for a thorough check-up, diagnosis and treatment.