If you suffer from ocular migraines, the words alone could cause you to feel that dull ache in the side of your head. Ocular migraines are loosely defined as migraines that affect only one eye with odd visual impairments. Often, they are prefaced by flashing lights or partial blindness, and they could include mild to severe pain on one side of your head.
Today we’re going to look at the causes, symptoms and potential treatments for ocular migraines to help you set yourself back on track. Those who suffer from these types of migraines often can’t carry out normal tasks through the pain of the migraine, so this is an important topic for many people.
Causes of Migraines
As it turns out, science is currently unsure as to why migraines occur. They only affect about twelve percent of the population, and they can often seem to have little link to physiology. However, current science suggests that the origins of migraines are neurological. In many cases, triggers of migraines can be emotional. Stress and depression can be triggers, though excitement and surprise can also bring on migraines.
Scientists presume that migraines are caused by something in the brain that triggers and unusual communication between the nerves that communicate with the brain. This often involves the blood vessels and muscles of the head, which, in turn, can lead to the intense pain of migraines.
Unlike normal migraines, ocular migraines have an optical component. Their causes are likely similar to those of normal migraines, but with an emphasis on the nerves of the eye instead of just nerves that communicate with blood vessels or muscles. Other causes could include spasms in the blood vessels of the retina, manifesting as unusual spots in the patient’s vision.
Potential triggers can include low blood sugar, caffeine, bright or flashing lights, stuffy or overly cold rooms and even high emotions. Often, those who suffer from these migraines can tell when they’re coming on, as they have a number of telltale symptoms that crawl up on the sufferer. These include tightness of the neck or shoulders, light sensitivity and nausea.
Ocular migraines include symptoms of extreme pain in one side of the head or behind one eye, primarily. Impairment in the vision of one eye is also common, though it can occasionally occur in both eyes. Typically the pain in one’s head during a migraine throbs or pulses, rather than persisting across the length of the event.
It’s common for sufferers of migraines to note that the pain gets worse the more they move around. Often, those with common migraines will simply lie in a dark, quiet room and wait for their migraine to pass. Migraine symptoms can often occur in tandem with nausea, high photosensitivity or sound sensitivity, and even vomiting from the intensity of the pain.
While migraines are incredibly discomforting, they’re thankfully not terribly dangerous to your overall wellbeing. Typically, migraines will simply go away after about half an hour on their own, so most people don’t require any treatment for them at all. That said, there are some cases in which the pain from migraines is so intense that the sufferer needs treatment.
For preventative treatment, you’ll need to see a doctor. Some may prescribe anti-epilepsy medicine such as Topamax, which can play a role in stopping migraines. Sometimes beta blockers, which are a type of blood pressure medicine, will be prescribed, which helps with blood vessel-related causes of migraines.
As for treatment during a migraine, try to just take it easy during an episode. Drink water and take an NSAID if you’re experiencing a lot of pain. Aside from that, there’s not a lot you can do to stop a migraine already in progress.