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Ocular migraine is a problem that is associated with the occurrence of headache and transient, one-sided visual disturbances. It is a very rare type of migraine, but especially when it occurs for the first time, it can be very disturbing, both for the patient and the doctor, because of what other causes of sudden monocular blindness may be.

Ocular migrainecan be defined very differently - at the very beginning, it should be emphasized that this term is used to describe very different extremely different ailments. In fact, ocular migraine (also known as retinal migraine) is associated with the appearance of ailments in the form of unilateral visual disturbances in patients.

It happens, however, that an ocular migraine is defined as one of the forms of migraine headaches, which is a migraine with an aura.

This is due to the fact that various types of visual disturbances typically appear in the course of migraine aura. However, one feature definitely distinguishes both of these problems from each other: in the case of migraine with aura, vision problems affect both eyes, while in the course of ocular migraine, the disorders occur only within one eye.

Ocular migraine is in fact one of the rarest types of migraine - it's hard to even cite any specific statistics on its prevalence. It has been suggested that women, like other types of migraine, are more likely to develop the disease.

Ocular migraine: causes

It is generally believed that the causes of ocular migraine, at least in part, may be the same as the underlying causes of the much more common, classic migraine headache. In such a case, the incidence of this disease would be influenced by both genes inherited from parents and various environmental factors.

However, it is noted that some pathomechanisms may be unique to ocular migraine only.

The problem in this approach could be caused by one-sided, transient ischemia of the eyeball structures, caused by the spasm of the vessels supplying them with blood.

You can also come across hypotheses that the cause of ocular migraine would be various disorders related to the transmission of impulses withinthe retina of the eye of nerve fibers.

Ocular migraine: symptoms

The main symptom of ocular migraine is visual disturbance that affects only one eyeball. They typically take the form of a visual field defect - some patients experience only partial blindness in one eye during an attack of this type of migraine, while others may even have complete blindness.

  • Sudden loss of vision - causes

These symptoms persist for various periods of time - sometimes it is a few, and sometimes several minutes - but in general, after the ocular migraine subsides, the functioning of the patient's organ of vision completely returns to normal.

Ocular migraine is sometimes associated not only with vision problems. It may be accompanied by a headache (it should be emphasized, however, that in this problem pain is not always associated with visual disturbances).

The headache associated with ocular migraine usually appears on the same side where the patient has had visual disturbances. Its nature and intensity usually correspond to a typical migraine headache.

Still other possible symptoms of ocular migraine are:

  • sensitivity to light, sounds and various other stimuli
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Ocular migraine: recognition

The diagnosis of ocular migraine consists mainly in collecting a medical history with the patient (focusing on the symptoms they experience) and conducting an ophthalmological examination.

The second of these is extremely important - finding that there are no abnormalities in the retina of the eye may confirm the presumed diagnosis of ocular migraine.

If the patient has ocular migraines, their subsequent attacks are unlikely to make him anxious. However, it is definitely different with the first episode of retinal migraine - in this situation, the occurrence of unilateral visual disturbances is usually a source of severe anxiety.

No wonder - other possible causes of a sudden loss of visual field in one eye or complete monocular blindness can be such serious conditions as, among others:

  • vascular disorders associated with various autoimmune diseases
  • giant cell arteritis
  • blood clot in the vessels supplying blood to the eye structures
  • retinal detachment
  • stroke
  • central nervous system tumors

Before diagnosing ocular migraine, it is necessary to rule out the above-mentioned, as well as other conditions that may alsoresult in monocular visual disturbances - it is for this reason that a patient who is struggling with ailments corresponding to ocular migraine for the first time, may be subjected to an unusually large number of tests, including the aforementioned ophthalmological examination, but also a neurological examination or imaging tests (e.g. computed tomography of the head).

Ocular migraine: treatment

In the treatment of ocular migraine, measures are similar to those used in people suffering from typical migraine headaches.

Patients may be recommended emergency medications (such as, for example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), as well as preparations taken to prevent subsequent attacks of ocular migraine - examples include, for example, anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants or medications from the group of beta-blockers.

A significant difference, however, concerns the emergency treatment - in patients with ocular migraine, the use of triptans is rather avoided (these drugs are considered to be one of the most effective in relieving migraines, but due to the fact that they can lead to constriction of blood vessels - which in turn may be the cause of an ocular migraine attack - for this type of migraine, they are rather not recommended)

Patients who develop ocular migraines are also advised to try to avoid factors that contribute to pain attacks.

They are different, but usually the attacks are provoked by, among others, inappropriate amount of sleep, certain foods or severe stress.

  • Migraine diet

The patient must therefore simply observe his body and try to identify those factors that increase his risk of ocular migraine, and then try to avoid them.

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