Ocular migraines are known by other terms such as ophthalmic migraines, eye migraines, painless migraines, or retinal migraines. They are described as a painless loss of vision that may last from a few minutes to long as an hour or so.
Other Varieties of Migraines
Classic migraines are characterized by an aura (visual disturbances or other symptoms) followed by the classic throbbing pain located in one area of the head.
Cluster migraines are characterized by having migraine headaches occurring several in a row.
Common migraines are characterized by having a typical migraine without an aura or precursor.
What Causes Migraines?
There is a strong family history in people who suffer from ocular migraines and the other types of migraines.
Women are approximately three times more likely to have migraines and they can correspond to the woman’s menstrual cycle. There is a relationship to female hormone levels.
Most people develop migraines in their twenties, thirties, and forties. Some people may develop them in childhood. A small portion of people develop them later in life. They usually diminish as one reaches their fifties.
Things That May Trigger Ocular Migraines
Substances that may trigger migraines include caffeine, chocolate, red wine, aged cheeses, preserved meats such as salami, and other foods.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), sulfates, and artificial sweeteners can trigger migraines.
Other Triggers for Ocular Migraines
Certain smells, perfume, cologne, bright lights, flickering lights, cold drafts, holidays, emotional stress, and lack of sleep can trigger migraines.
Symptoms of Ocular Migraines
People may have changes in their smell, numbness, tingling, weakness, stroke-like symptoms, loss of hearing, and slurred speech. People may have nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to lights and sounds, and have to stay in a dark quiet room while they are suffering from the migraine attack.
The visual symptoms described by people can vary greatly. The symptoms may occur in one or both eyes. They may complain of a jagged flashing light that is visible with eyes opened or closed. The flashing may surround an area of blurred or loss of vision. The flashing and area of lost vision may expand or move to different areas in the vision. People may also complain of waviness or shimmering in the vision. Some people also describe the visual symptoms as a kaleidoscope going off in their vision.