Ocular migraines are a somewhat complicated concept, and can, at times, be confused with a variety of other afflictions affecting the eyes. Put simply, they are usually characterized by a disturbance of vision, usually occurring within one eye, and lasting around thirty minutes to an hour. The disturbance may come in the form of simple blind spots, or in the form of what is known as an “aura”. This aura is usually described as zig-zag lines, flashing lights, or visual blurring and dimming occurring within one’s field of view.
In addition, despite the name, ocular migraines do not always involve actual headaches. One may occur before or after the “aura” appears, or there may not be one at all.
Ocular migraines are a rare occurrence, and their precise causes are not yet fully understood. Some speculate that they are a sign of spasms in the blood vessels behind the eyes; but reoccurrence of ocular migraines along family lines has also been observed, leading to speculation that it may be a genetic condition.
For this reason, things can also get complicated when it comes to treatment. Since our understanding of the condition is limited, your eye doctor may, in turn, only be able to offer you limited help with the condition should you consult them about it.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the symptoms of ocular migraines usually dissipate within an hour; and usually, the condition doesn’t give rise to anything more serious. For this reason, many choose not to have the condition treated at all, as it is unlikely to represent any real issue.
However, there is always the possibility that the migraine could trigger at a time when unimpaired vision is important to your safety – in particular, while driving. If this is the case, it is recommended that you stop what you are doing immediately, and do not resume until the symptoms clear up.
In addition, it is widely speculated that ocular migraines do have certain “triggers”. Precisely what these triggers are seems to vary between different patients; but they are thought to include bright lights, loud sounds, strong smells, stress or anxiety, and irregular sleeping patterns, as well as overconsumption of alcohol, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners.
None of these are definite, of course; but if you are able to identify any of them, or anything else, as frequently coinciding with your ocular migraines, it is best to avoid them, and to perhaps consult a doctor about how to treat general sensitivity to that particular trigger.
Although they can be somewhat frightening experiences at first, ocular migraines, for the most part, are not any particular cause for worry, or any indication of a more serious issue. Nonetheless, it is best to be aware of them, and conscious of the best approach to take should they trigger at an inopportune time; and in the unlikely event that they should become a particularly reoccurring issue, a consultation with a trusted eye doctor is recommended.