Ocular migraine doesn’t refer to a specific type of migraine; rather, it is a way of referring to migraine headaches that occur around or above the eyes. These headaches are also called migraine with visual aura because these headaches often have visual symptoms (like light sensitivity, visual distortion, or seeing flashes of light) before the pain sets in. You might think that because ocular migraines are located above the eyes they would be less painful than standard migraines—after all, you don’t have as much brain tissue pressing directly on sensitive nerves as you do beneath your forehead. But this is not so. Ocular migraines can be just as painful as standard migraines and may even be more difficult to treat. The key difference between ocular and standard migraines is that ocular ones might indicate an imminent stroke, which makes them more urgent than other types of migraines. In addition, there are some unique and challenging aspects of treating ocular migraines compared to other types of headaches.
Why Does My Head Hurt When I Move My Eyes?
Like standard migraines, ocular migraines often have visual symptoms before the pain sets in. Some of the most common visual symptoms are seeing flashes of light, seeing colored spots or blobs, seeing halos around lights, and seeing zigzag lines.
An aura is a symptom that precedes a migraine headache by up to 30 minutes. Auras are very common in ocular migraines and can be an important clue that the migraine is about to occur. The aura does not always appear in all people who have ocular migraines; however, if you experience any type of aura before you feel the pain from your migraine headache then it’s likely that you have an ocular migraine.
Ocular migraines are more common than standard migraines; they account for approximately 15% of all migraine headaches. However, since there are some unique aspects to treating ocular migraines compared to other types of headaches, it’s still rare for doctors to know how many people experience them (and even rarer for patients with these headaches to be aware that they have them). Because so few people with ocular migraines seek treatment it’s also difficult to know how many people suffer from them or how many get better when they do seek treatment.
Ocular migraines are very similar to standard migraines in terms of their symptoms and treatment. In fact, the only difference is that people with ocular migraines might see flashes of light (flashes of light) before the pain sets in. The best treatment for an ocular migraine is to get it treated as soon as you first notice the visual symptoms. Once you’ve reached that point, there are some additional treatments you can try if your doctor recommends them (see below).
Like standard migraines, ocular migraines can lead to complications if they aren’t treated properly, which can sometimes lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. If you think that you have ocular migraines or if you notice any visual symptoms associated with an ocular migraine then it would be wise to contact your doctor immediately and make sure they know about your symptoms so they can take appropriate action when necessary. Ocular migraine complications include macular edema (swelling of the macula, which is responsible for central vision), retinal detachment, and blindness. An eye exam will tell your doctor whether or not these problems exist and will let them know how serious the problem is. If a retinal detachment does occur it’s possible for surgery to be performed to fix it; however, this type of surgery is not always successful so a person with a retinal detachment should have regular checkups with their eye doctor to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ocular Migraine?
- You feel a sudden, severe headache that seems to originate in one or both eyes. The pain is often described as throbbing or pounding, and it might feel like a vibration or “rolling” sensation in the affected eye. It might be accompanied by light sensitivity (photophobia) and/or visual symptoms (like seeing flashes of light, seeing halos around lights, seeing stars around lights, seeing spots before your eyes, seeing spots after your eyes).
- You also have problems with your vision—that is, you may experience blurred vision or double vision (diplopia), which is also called “dysphoria.” This can happen at the same time as the pain in one eye.
- Sometimes you might have a headache that is more severe than usual but not accompanied by other symptoms (for example, it might be just an ordinary migraine).
- Some people who get ocular migraines may also experience neck pain and/or nausea along with pain in their eye(s).
- Some people with ocular migraines will have trouble focusing on things close to their face or have difficulty reading or concentrating on small print tasks like computer screens or books. They may also have problems with depth perception such as being unable to judge how far away objects are from them (called “prosopagnosia”).
- Some people report that they get tired much more quickly than usual when they are experiencing an ocular migraine.
- The pain in your eye(s) can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, but usually, it lasts less than a day.
- Some people experience more severe symptoms than others when they have an ocular migraine (for example, some people report that the pain is so severe that they feel like they are going blind).
- Some people with ocular migraines also have frequent episodes of “aura” or warning signs before their headaches occur that is, they may have mild symptoms such as seeing flashing lights or seeing halos around lights just before their headaches occur. They may also experience numbness or tingling in one side of their face that precedes an attack of the headache by a few minutes to an hour or two (this is called “Lhermitte’s sign”).
How To Tell A Normal Headache From An Ocular Migraine?
- There is no way to tell for sure whether you have a normal headache or an ocular migraine without having it treated by a doctor.
- The distinction between the two can be difficult because some people with ocular migraines will also experience other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light sensitivity, and visual problems like seeing halos around lights.
- If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above and/or if you have had several headaches in one day that seem to come on at the same time then this might be an ocular migraine.
- If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above but your headache occurs in only one eye or if it is accompanied by mild visual symptoms such as halos around lights (instead of a full-blown “aura”) then this might be an ocular migraine.
- If your pain is severe and/or if it lasts longer than 24 hours (and/or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms) then this might be an ocular migraine—but again, it could also just be a normal headache (either tension or muscle-based). You should still see your doctor to rule out possible causes of severe pain like brain tumors or a blood clot in your brain (a stroke).
If you are experiencing a migraine, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. Ocular migraines can be difficult to diagnose and treat, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and get treatment quickly. Ocular migraines can be difficult to diagnose because they often look like other conditions, like a retinal detachment or a tear in the retina, which require urgent treatment.