Ocular Migraines

Have you ever experienced blurred vision or an enlarging blind spot in the center of their vision, flashes or flickering of light, wavy or zigzag lines out of the corner of the eye that blocks part of their vision?

You may be experiencing a visual aura or ocular migraine.  These symptoms often present when working in front of a computer screen and prevent you from continuing your work.They can last up to 30 minutes affecting your central vision and then moving outwards to your peripheral vision.Ocular migraines are painless, usually visual in nature and can affect one or both eyes.  If the ocular migraine is followed by a throbbingheadache, this is called a Migraine with Aura and can be accompanied by light sensitivity, noise sensitivity and/or nausea.These visual disturbances can be alarming and it is important to call our office and be seen by one of our Optometrists the same day.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), migraines have a genetic basis where up to 70% of suffers have a family history of migraines.  Women are three times more affected then men.  Triggers can include stress; certain foods such as aged cheeses, caffeinated drinks, red wine, smokes meats, and chocolate; food additives such as MSG and artificial sweeteners; low blood sugar; cigarette smoke, perfumes and other strong odors; glaring or flickering lights; and/or a lack of sleep.In Calgary, a change in barometric pressure such as a Chinook is a common cause of many migraine sufferers.  For women in particular, hormonal changes with cycles or menopause can trigger migraines.

It is important to note, flashes of light can also related to retinal detachments or various other conditions.  Please contact us whenever you notice changes to your vision or eye health so your condition can be properly diagnosed and treated.

Image Credit to allaboutvision.com


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Dr. Farrah Sunderji, OD