How to Get Rid of an Ocular Migraine

Ocular migraines, also known as visual migraines, are a type of headache that affects the eyes. 

How does an ocular migraine differ from a regular headache? Some ocular migraine symptoms can include temporary vision disturbances, including flickering lights, zigzag lines, blind spots or blurred/temporary loss of vision in one eye. These visual symptoms typically last for around 30 minutes and are often accompanied by classic headache signs. 

Though symptoms usually last no longer than one hour, ocular migraines can dampen your quality of life and interfere with performing certain tasks like reading, writing or driving. 

What are the Causes of an Ocular Migraine?

Reduced blood flow or blood vessel spasms in the retina or behind the eye are the primary causes of ocular migraines. Some of the risk factors include those related to conventional migraines and a family history of migraines. They are more common in women and men, and from age 30 to 39.

Find Relief 

If you’re potentially experiencing an ocular migraine, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms:

Rest in a Quiet, Dark Room

One of the most effective ways to ease the symptoms of an ocular migraine is to rest in a room free of noise and bright light. This reduces the amount of sensory input your brain is receiving and may help alleviate the visual disturbances and pain.

Use a Cold Compress

Placing a cold compress on your forehead or the back of your neck can help assuage the severity of the headache. You can use a bag of ice or a cold gel pack wrapped in a towel.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can trigger migraines, so it’s important to stay hydrated — especially during an ocular migraine. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeinated beverages can help to prevent dehydration.

Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Non-prescription pain relief medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to alleviate the headache associated with an ocular migraine. However, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional before taking any medication to ensure it is safe for you to take.

Use Migraine-Specific Medication

If over-the-counter pain relief is not effective, your healthcare professional may prescribe a migraine medication, such as triptans. These medications work by constricting blood vessels in the brain, which can help to alleviate the symptoms of an ocular migraine.

Identify and Avoid Triggers

Learning your triggers can help you prevent encountering future ocular migraines. Common triggers include stress, lack of sleep, certain foods or drinks and hormonal changes. Keeping a diary to record when you experience an ocular migraine can help to identify triggers.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Stress is a common trigger for migraines, so be proactive in managing stress effectively. Practicing relaxation techniques on a regular basis, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga, can help to prevent the onset of ocular migraines.

Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep can trigger migraines, so make sure you get enough shuteye. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night and try to establish a regular sleep routine.

Take Breaks From Screen Time

Staring at a computer or phone screen for extended periods can trigger migraines. Take frequent breaks and practice the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Wear Sunglasses

Bright lights can also trigger migraines, so wear sunglasses outdoors and avoid bright or flickering lights indoors. (And opt for soft lighting whenever possible to place less strain on your eyes.)

Seek Medical Advice

If you’re experiencing frequent ocular migraines, or if the symptoms are particularly severe, don’t hesitate to seek out medical advice. Your healthcare professional may be able to offer further advice or prescribe medication to help alleviate the symptoms.

Treat Ocular Migraines With Professional Care

Although they aren’t long lasting, chronic ocular migraines are a painful disruption to daily life. With the right preventive measures and treatments, you can reduce the impact ocular migraines have on you.

If you’re struggling with migraines and think they may be linked to your vision, contact Complete Eye Care of Medina today for a consultation.