Eye and Ocular Migraines

Eye Migraines are typically chronic pulsing or throbbing headaches that last hours, even days*. They can be debilitating. Around 16% of Americans experience migraine headaches and three times as many women get them as men. Only 10% of these sufferers receive any warning signs (called auras) of an oncoming migraine, such as flashes of light, blind spots or a tingling in the arm or leg. Most migraines are accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. Odd as it sounds; some migraines are actually painless but still have visual symptoms. These are called eye migraines in general. There are several different types.

Silent Migraine: Patients might see flashes of light, zig zags, feel dizzy or experience vertigo. Men have these type of migraines more often than women, usually later in life.

Ocular migraine: Also called a “retinal migraine”, it produces a small but growing blind spot in the central vision of one eye, accompanied by bright flickering lights or a shimmering zig-zag inside the blind spot. It may last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour and is usually followed by a headache. This type of migraine occurs repeatedly, though not in a regular pattern.

Ophthalmic migraine: Patients (most often young men) experience the same symptoms as with an ocular migraine, but only at the height of a regular migraine.

Ophthalmoplegic migraine: Pain and weakness of the muscles around the eye define this type of migraine, though researchers have determined that this is not a migraine at all. Patients may also experience temporary double vision, droopy eyelid, or dilated pupils. Fortunately, this is a rare form of migraine, but its symptoms are the same as an aneurism, so you should seek medical help immediately to rule that out.

Basilar migraine: Just before the onset of a headache affecting the back of the head, patients experiencing this rare type may suddenly lose their ability to speak properly, have ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness and vomiting. They may also have visual auras such as twitching of the eye, vision fade or partial blindness.

Dr. Bansal and his staff are happy to answer all of your questions about Eye Migraines and find the best treatment option for you. As experienced San Francisco / Santa Rosa LASIK specialists, they can perform the treatment you need to relieve your symptoms. Please call 1.800.527.3745 to schedule your appointment today.