Optical Migraine Symptoms: Q & A

Optical migraine symptoms cause vision loss and may not accompany a full blown migraine attack. When temporary abnormalities occur in your field of vision, it might be an optical migraine.

Let me be more specific.

Optical Migraine Symptoms

What is an Optical Migraine?

An optical migraine is when there are temporary abnormalities which occur in your vision.

These migraines can actually cause vision loss or distortion. An optical migraine only affects one eye and does not typically occur with a migraine headache.

The optical migraine can come before a regular migraine but it does not always and you can still have optical migraine symptoms. Optical migraines are rare, but they still affect one out of every 200 people who suffer from migraines.

That is still hundreds of thousands people! 44 Million divided by 200 = 220,000!

Your Questions Answered

Optical Migraine Symptoms Blurry Vision

I have picked just a few of the more common questions I have been asked about optical migraines and the associated symptoms.

I hope this clears up some of the basics.

Is there cause to worry if you are having an optical migraine?

No, there is no cause for excessive worry, but the visual disturbances can frighten you initially. They can cause retinal damage so I recommend getting your eyes checked as well as seeing your doctor. So, as soon as you notice something out of the ordinary go see your family physician so s/he can diagnose it all properly.

What is the cause of the optical migraines?

It is believed that the cause is the constriction of the blood vessels. This reduces the blood flow to the eye and can be caused by some foods, just like the triggers for a normal migraine attack.

What are some of the foods that are believed to bring on an optical migraine?

Some of the foods include: chocolate, shellfish, and nuts. With some people, caffeine and alcohol can trigger the migraine.

Are there other causes or triggers that cause the optical migraines?

It is felt that fatigue, stress, a woman's menstrual cycle, and even eye strain can also be possible causes.

Are there warning signs that present themselves before an optical migraine?

The first sign that an optical migraine is starting is the presence of one or more blind spots. These spots usually start in your central vision and get larger.

What are the flashes of lights?

This is often called scintillations. It typically occurs shortly after the blind spots starts. Flashes of lights, which are often multicolored, can be seen in the vision. This symptom may be caused by a retinal detachment and can indicate a serious medical emergency.

What are the zig-zag patterns?

During an optical migraine, vision can present itself with a zig-zag pattern. This symptom can look like you are looking through a window that has been cracked or a wavy window.

Are there other symptoms with optical migraines?

Different people may present in different ways, but some have complained of seeing stars and spots, while others complain of nausea and vomiting.

How long does an optical migraine last?

Typically the vision loss lasts under five minutes, but has been known to last up to an hour. After the optical migraine is over, the visual disturbances disappear and the sight returns to normal.

What is the treatment for an optical migraine?

Actually, there is no treatment for this type of migraine symptom.

If you are one of the people that have a migraine headache after the optical migraine, taking medication at this time would be a good idea.

Having optical migraines disrupts daily activities such as reading, driving or watching television.

Although there is no known treatment for these migraines, you should have your eyes examined. An optical migraine does have the potential to cause retinal damage and your eye health is very important. 

Be wise and get your eyes checked.

Ways to Relieve Optical Migraine Symptoms


Rest your eyes whenever you can.

Experiment with ice or heat on your eyes. See which one works best to relieve the pressure.

Wear polarized sunglasses or try out Theraspecs FL41 tinted lenses.

Use a glare screen on your computer.

It might take a bit of time to find what relieves your optical migraine symptoms.

Check out this headache music, I find it helps me to relax too.

Come back and visit again soon.

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With this new information, what one thing can you do now to reduce your attacks?