Eye Problems: Ocular Migraines

Headaches have never been described as good. Migraine headaches are generally considered really bad. And ocular migraines? Well, they could be the worst — because they may cause vision loss or blindness in one eye that can last up to an hour.

Ocular Migraines: More Than Meets the Eye
Ocular migraines affect about 1 out of every 200 people who suffer from migraines. Symptoms could be related to other problems, but oftentimes they come along with or after you have a migraine headache. Vision experts call these headaches visual, retinal, ophthalmic, or monocular (meaning one eye) migraines. And even though they are rare, it’s important to know more about them, so you’ll know what to do if they happen to you.

Keep in mind: Regular migraines can also cause vision problems (called an aura) which may involve flashing lights and blind spots in your vision. But these symptoms usually appear in both eyes. If you’re having any of these symptoms, please visit your doctor right away to find out if you have ocular migraines.

Symptoms (Warning Signs) of Ocular Migraines
So what are some things to be on the lookout for? Watch for any of the following indicators, and if you happen to experience any of them, immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Things to watch for:
• Vision problems that affect only one eye
- Flashing lights
- Blind spots
- Blindness
• A headache that lasts from 4 to 72 hours and …
- Affects only one side of your head
- Feels moderately to very painful
- Throbs or pulsates
- Gets worse when you move around
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Sensitivity to light or sound

What Causes Ocular Migraines?
No one is really sure what causes them, but some experts feel they are related to spasms that occur in retinal blood vessels (the lining of the back of the eye). Others note that they may be caused by changes that spread across the nerve cells in the retina.

Important: While ocular migraines are indeed rare, people who experience them might have a higher risk of permanent vision loss in one eye. And many experts are not certain whether medications can help prevent this type of vision loss. The best thing to do, if you happen to experience them, is to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

Treating Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraines usually go away on their own after about 30 minutes or so. If you find yourself with one, stop what you’re doing until your vision goes back to normal. You can also take a pain reliever to ease the headache.

Health concerns and not-so-common eye problems are never any fun. But by taking proactive measures, you may be able to identify eye problems or other vision concerns before they develop into something more serious. The best way to ensure tip-top eye care is to schedule an eye exam with your local VSP provider.

If you are interested in getting a new eye plan or in getting new glasses or contacts, VSP Direct has just what you need. Take a look at our affordable vision plans or call us at 800.785.0699 and let our experts help you find what you need.