Do you get crushing eye pain before an attack? You may not, but if you do, here are 4 key acupressure points to help relieve it. When I feel my eye muscles start to crush down, on one or both eyes, I know I'm in for a long, nasty migraine attack.
This type of migraine has other names too: optical migraines, ocular migraines, visual migraines, monocular migraines, and they can also be called painless, Acephalgic or silent migraines.
Many migraines have visual disturbances and a host of other symptoms that accompany them. And the pain and symptoms can vary greatly between individuals.
For example, you might experience the pain in both eyes, and it continues onto a full blown attack on one side of the head. Or you might just have very mild symptoms and don’t really need any further treatment, as the episode passes in half an hour or so.
If you have moderate to severe attacks, which means the eye migraine symptoms progress to the pain phase, you will do best to use medications to help abort or manage the pain phase. It is common not to have any pain with an optical migraine, but if you have classic migraines the aura will most likely be followed the pain phase.
More extreme examples would be retinal detachment and stroke, which are different things all together. I don’t mention this to scare you, but it is important if you experience any of these symptoms, that you get to your doctor right away to make sure it is not from something more serious.
If you experience mild or no pain, the whole episode could last around 20-30 minutes and then stop, or it could lead on to the pain phase.
A warning signal to be highly aware of is seeing black. Seeing black could mean that something is wrong! So, nothing sparkling or expanding, just black in your vision. If this doesn't pass in about 20 minutes, then something may be up... so get to the hospital immediately. This could be a sign of a stroke - Migraine Stroke Symptoms: What to Watch For.
Eye migraine has the same triggers as classical migraine: fatigue, skipping meals, caffeine withdrawal, stress and certain foods can trigger a migraine.
They have the same causes as a typical migraine: the chemical reactions cause cortical spreading depression that effects the electrical impulses in your brain, hormones get released, and the blood vessels spasm.
At your earliest warning signal you need to take action. If you wait for the pain phase to kick in, it's too late. Then the hangover comes later.
Getting your timing right when treating an acute attack is crucial.
For mild to moderate migraines you might be able to reduce your symptoms by using caffeine or natural alternatives. Over the counter medications like ibuprofen aka Advil® or Motrin® or acetaminophen aka Tylenol® might work well.
For severe migraines it might be best to consider using abortive medications from the family of triptans, specifically designed to target migraines. Aleve® if you can take it, is a combination of ibuprofen and naproxen. They are not considered for people with a history of heart attacks, strokes or any other vascular disease.
If you get migraines regularly you might want to consider a good prevention strategy or seek a more natural approach. But long term management may be required.
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So how do you treat your eye migraine symptoms so they don't progress to full blown migraine attack?
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the eyes relate to the internal organs: the iris is the liver; the corners of the eyes relate to the heart zang; the upper and lower eyelids are related to the spleen; the pupil the kidney. There are more, but let's not get too detailed here.
While using acupuncture needles is considered to be more effective, you can also use your fingertips for massaging these points right at home, when you need to.
I've written all about an acupressure point routine you can use for migraines here - Want A Good Migraine Pressure Point Routine?
Here are some good points to help relieve eye migraine:
There are quite a few acupressure points around your eyes so don’t worry if you don’t get the placement exactly right…
1. First, start with the inner edge close to the bridge of the nose.
2. Resting your hands on your cheeks, use your ring finger (index or middle finger is fine too), massage the point using gentle pressure and small circular movements. You can do both sides or one at a time.
3. Do this for about three minutes.
4. In the same small circular movements, massage at the end of your eyebrow, close to the temple area.
5. And then press below the center of the eye, on the top of the cheek bone.
6. Finally go directly up to the middle of the eyebrow and press there.
You can even press directly on the eyes to relieve pressure but be careful. Gentle pressure only. Place your palms on your cheeks and use 2 or 3 fingers to press gently.
1. Put your index fingers on either side of your nostrils and slowly start your small circular movements in a downward pressure. So… not pressing into the nose but onto your face and bone.
2. Remember to use gentle pressure here.
3. You can do this massage daily if you’d like, only for five minutes or so to help prevent a future attack.
This acupressure point is great to treat headaches too. It’s located at the very top of your nose, just above and right between your eyes. It’s on either side of the spot where the bridge of your nose meets the inside of your eyebrows. 
1. Using both hands, instead of making small circles (you can if you want) just use your index fingers to apply firm but gentle pressure to both points at once.
2. Hold the pressure to at least 10 seconds, maximum 15.
3. Release the point, wait a few seconds and repeat. You can do this for about 10 minutes, or more if the pain is escalating.
If the pain is escalating, and it feels like a migraine is imminent, be sure to take action.
1. Place your index finger and thumb at the tips of the nail bed of each finger and press quite firmly until you pull away - ping - your fingers together.
2. Do the same for each toe. You can massage these points as well but pinging them is more effective to move chi.
3. You can do one or two cycles until the pain has subsided.
Eye migraines typically last between twenty to thirty minutes and although the symptoms can be scary at first, you will learn to manage them. They are considered harmless and don't cause any long-term damage.
Yes, I know... it sounds crazy. But you might reduce muscular stress which in turn will reduce your eye migraine attacks. Try this and let me know how you go...
I talk about this on almost every page of this website. Do not underestimate the power of making healthy lifestyle choices. Routines are proven to reduce migraine attacks.
So create and maintain routines around: sleep, meal times (eating nutritious food), and exercise.
I can also recommend protecting your eyes whenever you can. Watch computer screen use... glare and not blinking enough cause eye strain. I have a few pages on this already:
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Eye Migraine Page Source:
1. Healthline (2018) The Best Pressure Points to Treat Headaches. Available [online] at: https://www.healthline.com/health/pressure-points-for-headaches. Accessed Feb 10, 2019.