Ocular/Ophthalmic Migraine


The classic migraine is a severe headache, sometimes accompanied by nausea. Ocular migraines are visual disturbances, which may or may not accompany a migraine headache.

Symptoms will vary from one individual to the next. The event typically lasts between 10 and 30 minutes, and common symptoms include:



An ocular migraine can occur either in conjunction with a headache or without one, and may or may not be accompanied by nausea. Generally, when it accompanies a headache, the visual disturbances happen before the onset of headache symptoms. In younger people with common migraine headache, it is typical for ocular migraines to occur as well. As people age, it becomes more common to experience ocular migraines without headache symptoms.

In general, there are no serious complications caused by ocular migraine. Treatment, in most instances, is not necessary unless the headache symptoms are bothersome.

Certain foods are known to trigger migraines. If you experience an ocular migraine or headache, you can try to determine the food responsible by doing the following: keep track of the foods you consumed in the previous 12 hours, then compare to later lists you compile as you get future migraines--if you notice that some foods are present on more than one list, you can be pretty sure that that food triggered the migraine, and you can avoid it in the future. Common food culprits include aged cheeses, wines, chocolate, and caffeine.

Be aware that there are other problems which can seem similar to ocular migraines. Retinal detachment, stroke, and severe high blood pressure can all give similar symptoms, but are much more serious. Therefore, don't diagnose ocular migraine by yourself. See your eye doctor or family doctor for the diagnosis!