Specsavers logo
September 6, 2022

What you need to know about ocular migraines...


Tuesday 6 September 2022

To mark Migraine Awareness Week (September 5 – 12) Specsavers is sharing advice on ocular migraines, a rare condition that can cause frightening episodes of vision loss.

Triggered by numerous everyday activities, ocular migraines can seem alarming to those experiencing symptoms. However, experts at Specsavers are assuring people that the migraines are usually nothing to worry about. 

An ocular migraine - also known as a retinal migraine - often causes partial or total loss of vision in one or both eyes and can be accompanied by headaches. 

Giles Edmonds, Specsavers clinical services director, says: ‘In most examples of ocular migraines, both eyes are affected though often more one than another. It’s common for vision to become blurred or dimmer, with some people experiencing flashes of white light or mosaic-like blank spots.

‘This loss of vision usually lasts between 10 and 20 minutes before gradually returning. It’s common for these symptoms to be accompanied by, or followed by, headaches.’

The causes of ocular migraines are not fully understood but it is thought that they occur when the blood flow to the eye becomes restricted due to a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels. Once the vessels relax, normal blood flow returns and symptoms clear.

The symptoms of ocular migraines can be triggered by a range of everyday activities including exercise, smoking, and even bending over. 

Common causes of ocular migraines include:

  • Stress

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Dehydration

  • Low Blood Sugar

  • Excessive Heat

  • Exercise

  • Smoking

  • Bending Over

Mr Edmonds assures that while ocular migraines can feel alarming to those experiencing the symptoms, they’re usually nothing to worry about.

If experiencing an ocular migraine, Mr Edmonds says: ‘We would recommend resting your eyes until your symptoms pass, and taking painkillers as recommended if you have an accompanying headache. Otherwise, the best thing you can do is to keep track of your attacks to help you avoid exposure to common triggers in the future.

‘However, if your eyesight suddenly deteriorates it is important to see your optometrist or doctor for an emergency appointment – particularly if this is the first time it has happened. They will want to make sure other more serious cases of sight loss are ruled out.’

For those concerned about ocular migraines, or who have noticed a recent change in their vision they can book an appointment at www.specsavers.co.uk, or to find out more about ocular migraines, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health/ocular-migraines.