What Causes Ocular And Visual Migraines
The exact cause of an ocular migraine can be difficult to pinpoint. But its believed they occur for the same things that cause migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches have a genetic basis, and some studies say that up to 70% of people who suffer from the disorder have a family history of migraine.
According to the World Health Organization , migraines are caused by the activation of a mechanism deep in the brain that leads to release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head.
Studies have shown changes in blood flow to the brain during ocular migraines and migraine auras . But exactly why this happens remains unclear.
Common migraine triggers that can cause a person to have a migraine attack include:
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When To Seek Professional Treatment
Many symptoms of migraine with aura mimic other more severe neurological disorders such as strokes and transient ischemic attack , which is a temporary condition with symptoms that strongly resemble a stroke. TIAs may indicate a high risk for stroke.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Slurred speech
- Symptoms that last longer than 60 minutes or don’t stop at all
Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors
Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:
- Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
- Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
- Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
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Ocular Migraine Triggers And Treatments
Triggers of ocular migraines can include caffeine, chocolate, red wine, blue cheese, nuts, and processed meats. Stress or release of tension, bright lights, and exercise can also be triggers.
Treatments are often unnecessary because the visual disturbance only lasts for a short time, and the headaches arent severe. Some people find that taking an aspirin at the onset of their symptoms can prevent the headache altogether. While caffeine can cause eye migraines in some people, for others sipping a small amount of a caffeinated beverage can stop the symptoms.
It is important to stop driving if you experience any visual effects. If these symptoms last more than an hour, this can be a sign of something more serious, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Migraine With Aura Treatment
When you’re having a migraine with aura, stay in a quiet, dark room. Try putting cold compresses or pressure on the painful areas.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen may help. Your doctor can prescribe larger doses of NSAIDs.
Prescription medications called triptans or ditans — such as almotriptan , eletriptan , frovatriptan , lasmiditan , naratriptan , rizatriptan , and sumatriptan — can help. Ergots may also treat migraine pain.
Other medications can ease related symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
Some devices are designed to short-circuit a migraine by turning on your brain in a particular way.
SpringTMS and eNeura sTMS use a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation . Place the device on the back of your head for about a minute to release a pulse of magnetic energy.
A vagus nerve stimulator called gammaCore, when placed over the vagus nerve in your neck, releases mild electrical stimulation to relieve pain.
You’ll need a prescription for any of these devices.
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What Causes Ocular Migraine
Migraine aura is considered to be a result of abnormal electrical activity involving certain regions of the cortex of the brain. This abnormal activity spreads across the cortex at a slow rate of about 3mm per minute and this spread is responsible for the growth and movement of the visual disturbance over the 20-60 minutes that the visual aura lasts. Retinal migraine may be due to the same type of disturbance except occurring at the back of the eye in the retina, or it may be due to a reduction in blood flow to the retina.
Like other types of migraine, harsh lights and electronic screens can be triggers. Straining your eyes by staring at a screen for long periods of time, spending time in fluorescent or other harsh lighting, driving long distances and other taxing visual activities can increase your risk for attacks. Talk to your eye doctor about how to avoid attacks.
How To Eliminate Migraines
Ultimately, we can check for the various stressors to learn what may be triggering your headaches and how stress has shifted your cortisol, digestion, hormones and neurotransmitter levels. We can also look at your genetics to see what your body specifically needs to heal.
- A food sensitivity panel will identify any allergies or triggers causing inflammation in your body, and in turn, leaky gut.
- We can test your gut bacteria for imbalances and other digestive issues via a stool panel.
- A cortisol panel will show us how cortisol is progressing throughout the day or if levels are too high or too low And then we can use that information about your cortisol levels to know which herbs and nutrients to use to help bring your cortisol levels back to optimal.
- A neurotransmitter panel will show us if serotonin, GABA, dopamine, and adrenaline levels are too low or too high. Then we can address them using nutrient precursors.
My Adrenal Recovery and Wellness Program includes several of these panels, as well as consultations with me to identify the root issues and work through my Dr. Doni Protocol to reverse your symptoms and ultimately eliminate migraines.
If we suspect that hormonal imbalances are causing your migraines, we can also assess that through a .
We can check for environmental toxins and/or mold toxins with advanced panels. And then I can guide you to get them out of your body safely.
Wellness wishes to you!
Dr. Doni23rd January 2020
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Retinal Migraine Occurs In One Eye
Retinal migraine usually occurs in one eye, and there may be an abnormal spread of electrical activity in the retina. The migraine may also be caused by the sudden constriction or blockage behind, or in, an eye. It may occur with, or without, a throbbing headache at the side of the head. The patient may also simultaneously experience sensitivity to light or nausea. The temporary loss or distortion of vision in one eye makes it difficult to conduct close visual work and makes it dangerous to drive. This type of migraine is generally of short duration, an hour or less, and then vision returns to normal. However, some researchers have found that irreversible vision loss is also possible.
Retinal migraine, as defined by the International Headache Society, is actually fairly uncommon. Most cases are diagnosed as ophthalmic migraine.
How Long Does It Take For Your Eyes To Adjust To A New Prescription
For most people, itll take a few days to get completely used to a new prescription, but this can vary depending on whether youre brand new to glasses or how much your prescription has changed for existing glasses-wearers.
The good news is that its something that everyone goes through, so there are several tried and tested tips that can help you get adjusted:
- Put your glasses on when you start your day a sudden change later in the day can feel more disorientating. It also helps to start forming habits
- Take off your glasses if your eyes are ever itchy, red or sore pop them back on when the symptoms have passed
- If you wear bifocals or varifocals, try turning your head rather than just your eyes
- Even if it feels weird, try and persevere with wearing your glasses. The longer you wear them, the quicker your eye muscles can adjust.
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Can I Have A Visual Migraine Without A Headache
Definitely. It is actually very common to have a visual migraine without any headache. The medical term for this is acephalgic migraine, which literally means migraine symptoms without headache. Except for the absence of a headache, the visual symptoms in acephalgic migraine are identical to the episodes that accompany a classic migraine aura.
Migraine Aura Causes: Symptoms Treatment And Remedies
by Melinda Wilson | Migraines
An aura caused by migraine, silent or an ocular migraine usually involves some kind of troubles with vision. This blurry vision or flashes of light usually affect both eyes at the same time. The difference between this type of aura and the classical one is that most of the time it is not accompanied by the throbbing pain in the temples.
However, patients usually suffer from a lot of other irritating symptoms that usually last for an hour or so. These symptoms are not serious however they can affect the quality of the patients life. Read on to learn more about migraine aura causes.
An ocular migraine with blurred vision affects both eyes and can cause troubles with reading, writing, driving and working on a computer. A retinal migraine is another type that usually affects only one eye and is a much more serious condition.
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How Can Stress Cause Headaches
Everyday stress can bring on headaches in a variety of ways. Thats because stress causes us to change our behavior without even realizing it.iv
You may still experience the occasional tension headache, but practicing the above techniques should help reduce their frequency and severity. Looking for a quick and effective way to get rid of a stress headache? Try an over-the-counter headache relief medication like Excedrin.You may still experience the occasional tension headache, but practicing the above techniques should help reduce their frequency and severity. Looking for a quick and effective way to get rid of a stress headache? Try an over-the-counter headache relief medication like Excedrin.
And while relaxation therapies and simply cutting down on the stress in your life can help to reduce the occurrence of tension headaches, chronic tension headaches may be indicative of a more serious issue. Consult a doctor to discuss and learn more about your headaches.
Causes Of Migraine Aura
Migraine aura is believed to be caused primarily by cortical spreading depression .
Brain cells use electrical ions around the cellular membrane to maintain equilibrium. In aura, there is a temporary malfunction of this cellular balance which causes a slow wave of electrical disturbance, the CSD.
This wave of intense excitation across the visual cortex is what is thought to lead to visual aura symptoms including shimmering patches or curves, stars or blind spots etc. After the wave passes it could also cause an abnormal inhibition of activity which may explain the blind spots, partial or temporary blindness.
Neuroimaging studies show some evidence that suggest CSD leads to a temporary decrease in blood supply to certain areas in the brain. The lack of blood supply and the electrical disruptions may account for the wide and varied range of symptoms. It may also help explain differences that can be experienced by the same individual on different occasions.
Why some people have aura and others dont is likely due to several anomalies that researchers dont yet fully understand. It is hypothesized that there are several genetic factors that play a role in a patients predisposition to migraine with aura. Research is taking place to understand potential genes involved in aura which will hopefully lead to specific treatments to prevent aura.
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Causes Of A Sudden Increase In Migraine With Aura
Migraine can be difficult to manage and cause debilitating pain. Auras add to the discomfort, causing issues even before a migraine episode starts. On their own, migraine auras are a concern. Studies have shown that the presence of aura in migraine attacks can be a sign of more serious neurological conditions, including a twofold increased risk for ischemic stroke.
No one exactly knows why auras develop before migraine attacks, but a leading theory is that theyre the result of cortical spreading depression and potentially vascular changes.
Cortical spreading depression is a phenomenon present in a variety of neurological conditions. A triggering event, either electrical or mechanical, causes a disruption in the brains normal electric activity. Neurons power the brains signals, but in the case of cortical spreading depression, a wave of depolarization affects electric activity in the brain. Spreading depression can affect one or more regions of the brain.
Migraine auras may begin in the occipital lobe of the brain affecting vision then travel to areas of the brain that trigger headache pain.
More research is needed to learn exactly how cortical spreading depression and auras are related, but there are a number of triggers that have been linked to both this phenomenon and auras. An increase in these triggers could have the potential to increase the frequency of migraine with aura.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Bad Tension
Compared with migraine, tension-type headache is generally less severe and rarely disabling. Compare your symptoms with those in this chart to see what type of headache you might be having.
|Aura before onset of headache||x|
Note: Rebound headache may have features of tension and/or migraine headache. Adapted from a table produced by the American Council for Headache Education.
Although fatigue and stress can bring on both tension and migraine headaches, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body’s hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.
There also are differences in how types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. Although some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension-type headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension-type headaches for most people.
You can’t tell the difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache by how often they occur. Both can occur at irregular intervals. Also, in rare cases, both can occur daily or almost daily.
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Regenerative Medicine Treatments For Cervical Vertigo
The emerging field of Regenerative Medicine addresses issues such as cervical vertigo, among many others. Using cutting-edge technology, experts are able to provide treatment for a wide range of conditions. CellAxys offers two forms of Regenerative Medicine:
- Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy: this form of therapy involves taking a patients own mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are harvested from a patients bone marrow. They are then processed to be more concentrated, then reinjected into the problem area. In the cervical spine, they would be injected into the facet joints. Mesencymal Stem Cells contain healing properties which could be used to repair the damage that has occurred.
- Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy: this form of therapy begins with a blood draw. The blood sample is then placed in a centrifuge, which is able to separate the platelets from other properties in the blood. Platelets contain proteins and growth factors that allow healing to occur wherever they exist in the body. The concentrated platelet solution is then injected into a patients injury site, similar to mesenchymal stem cell injections.
These forms of treatment use imaging techniques such as live X-ray or Ultrasound to guide the needle to the injury site. This ensures that treatment is as effective as possible.
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What Are Rebound Migraines
Women who use acute pain-relief medicine more than two or three times a week or more than 10 days out of the month can set off a cycle called rebound. As each dose of medicine wears off, the pain comes back, leading the patient to take even more. This overuse causes your medicine to stop helping your pain and actually start causing headaches. Rebound headaches can occur with both over-the-counter and prescription pain-relief medicines. They can also occur whether you take them for headache or for another type of pain. Talk to your doctor if you’re caught in a rebound cycle.
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More On The Headache Issue
Some people believe polarized lenses cause headaches or migraines. While there have been reports that the tint of certain windows take on a checkerboard pattern when viewed through polarized lenses and cause nausea, there is little evidence to suggest polarized lenses cause headaches.
The likely culprit is poor quality lenses that fail to efficiently block out enough light. Truth be told, polarized lenses are more likely to fend off headaches rather than cause them.
Treating And Preventing A Sudden Increase In Migraine With Aura
Theres a lot thats unknown about why migraine with aura or cortical spreading depression develop. Its unclear at the moment whether impending migraine and blood flow changes itself triggers electrical changes in the brain or whether the electrical changes are the cause of blood flow changes and migraine.
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Treating Migraine Aura Without Headache
When migraine aura without headache is frequent or severe, your doctor can recommend treatment options, such as low dose aspirin, calcium channel blockers or other medications.
My favorite treatment has been baby aspirin, if they dont have any contraindication for baby aspirin, says Dr. Digre. Calcium channel blockers often will treat aura without headache if its frequent.
For people who experience onset of migraine aura later in life, the symptoms can be very severe and last for several days. In that case, Dr. Digre usually prescribes a calcium channel blocker, but other medications can be used.
There arent any specific lifestyle adjustments to treat migraine aura without headache. However, taking steps like getting adequate sleep, decreasing stress and avoiding known migraine triggers may help prevent aura without headache.
The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.