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Ocular Migraine

Ocular Migraine
Dr. Monika Bhanushali
Dr. Monika Bhanushali
August28/ 2016

Ocular migraine is a very rare condition. It is also known as retinal migraine or ophthalmic migraine. The most characteristic feature of this migraine is that it appears only in one eye. Hence it is also called as monocular migraine.

Its occurrence is very rare. it may affect almost 1 person out of every 200 people having a history of migraine.

May times, ocular migraine is confused with visual migraine. Visual migraine is a condition which precedes an attack of migraine. It is also known as visual aura. In the common occurring attack of migraine, may of the people experience an aura like sensation. In this aura phase, people often complain of visual loss. These migraines are due to pathology in the brain hence the vision loss is noticed in both the eyes. Where as in the ocular aura is a condition solely because of the involvement of the single eye hence patient complains of vision loss only in one eye.

Cause of Ocular Migraine:

It is caused by sudden constriction of the blood vessel supplying blood to the eye. It causes reduced blood supply to the retina of the eye. Due to this reduced blood supply to the eye, there is temporary loss of vision. As the spasm in the blood vessel is reduced the blood supply returns to normalcy and the patient is able to see again.

Risk factors:

It is most commonly seen in

  1. Age less than 40
  2. Females
  3. People history of migraine
  4. Family history of migraine
  5. hypertension
  6. history of seizures
  7. history of depression

Triggers of the ocular migraine:

  1. smoking
  2. stress
  3. birth control pills
  4. low blood sugar
  5. sleep deprivation
  6. skipped meals
  7. food allergies
  8. high altitude

Symptoms of ocular migraine:

a person might be suffering from ocular migraine if following symptoms are present:

  1. loss of vision:
  • in one eye which is sudden and lasts for more than 1 hour
  • dimming of vision
  1. head ache
  • throbbing head ache may or may not be present.
  • The head ache is usually on the one side of the head
  • It is present as the same side as the vision loss.
  • Exacerbates on movement
  1. Other symptoms:
  • intolerance to bright light
  • intolerance to loud sound
  • nausea
  • vomiting


The doctor examines the eyes thoroughly. The doctor will take a complete history of the attacks. Mostly the retina is normal in cases of ocular migraine. Some conditions such as blood clot, tumours are ruled out.


The ocular migraine is treated with following modalities:

  1. identifying the triggers
  2. pain relievers for the head ache
  3. rest to the eye in the duration of the attack


  1. Avoid triggers: Recognising triggers of the ocular head ache and avoiding them helps in reducing the frequency of the ocular migraine attacks.
  2. Visit ophthalmologist: to rule out any other medical condition of the eye.

 Although ocular migraine gets resolved on its own after a period of an hour or two, people having ocular migraine have higher chances of permanent vision loss. It is wise to talk to your doctors if you have above mentioned symptoms

Dr. Monika Bhanushali
Dr. Monika Bhanushali

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