Retinal Migraine or Ocular Migraine
A migraine is a neurologic disease or disorder that is characterized by a neurological vascular event in which there is a blood vessel in the nervous system that goes into spasm and followed by vasodilatation. When the migraine involves the vision system, it is called an ocular or retinal migraine. Typically a person suddenly notices a change in their vision. This has been described in a variety of ways. The person may see shimmering lights or flashes, wavy line sensation, jagged lights, loss in a portion of their vision (in rare cases all their vision), and a kaleidoscope going off in their vision. This visual or migraine aura may last from a few minutes to as much as an hour. Once the vision returns, the person may have no headache, a mild headache, or a severe pounding headache. The headache is located on one side of the head and in many cases the person can point to the actual spot.
What Causes Migraine Headaches?
Migraines headaches are believed to be caused by numerous factors. There are genetic, environmental, hormonal changes, and food sensitivities which can contribute to developing migraine headaches. Common foods associated with migraines are chocolate, red wine, cheese, preserved meats, and caffeine. There have been a few genes that have been found to be related to migraines. Migraines occur more commonly during menstruation. Migraines are more common in women.
Symptoms of Migraines
Migraines usually are located on one side of the head. The pain is described as pounding in nature. The pain can be mild to severe. The pain can last as long as a few hours to as long as several days. The pain may be accompanied by sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to smells, light headed, and at times confusion. Many people go to a dark quiet room until the headache resolves.
Many people have post migraine effects from their episode. They may have sensitivity to motion, feel tired, weak, tenderness in the area of the migraine.
How to Diagnose Migraines?
Migraines headaches are diagnosed by history, signs, and symptoms.
How to get Rid of a Migraine
If you know that certain foods trigger your migraines, avoidance of the food is necessary. Migraines tend to happen around times of stress. Therefore getting rest and dealing with the stress can help.
Medications for Migraines
Beta blockers can decrease the number of migraines. Botox has been shown to help treat migraines. Analgesics for pain control are used. Triptans can be useful or pain relief and decreasing nausea. Ergotamines are an older group of medications but still can be tries if other treatments fail.
Retinal or ocular migraines occur not infrequently and must be properly diagnosed. The sudden loss of vision can be caused by numerous other ocular diseases which could require immediate treatment. If you have any of the above symptoms, call your eye doctor immediately.