What You Should Know About Optical Migraine
Author: Jumby Navarro
Everyday as we go about our work whether at home or in the office we experience random headaches which may be mild to severe and which may sometimes affect our daily activities. There are times when it is not only headaches that we experience but coupled with the headaches we have blurred vision, spots or other forms of optical changes. When these occur we usually associate these symptoms with migraine or an aura but we do not really know what kind or type is it or if it is really a migraine. Could these optical changes or visions together with the headaches be associated with an optical migraine?
Difference of a Migraine and an Optical Migraine
A migraine is a recurring type of painful headache occurring on only one side of the head. An aura may preempt a migraine attack with sudden visual changes, blind spots or bright lights and even auditory changes like ringing in the ears or buzzing sounds.
On the other hand, an optical migraine is an aura that comes without the headache or the pain that comes with a common migraine attack. It is also known as ocular or visual migraine. Just like with the common migraine, those who have optical migraine experience flashing lights or a blind spot and the attack would last for a few minutes to not more than an hour. Although some optical migraine attacks may come with a headache, the pain is not as severe and will come within an hour after the aura has subsided. This form of migraine occurs only on one eye at a time.
How to Determine an Optical Migraine
Optical migraine is diagnosed if the aura or the visual pattern experienced is always the same. If changes in the visual pattern occur a doctor should be consulted immediately because there might be more serious problems.
Visual disturbances may not necessarily be caused by migraine. Other possible causes of visual changes are partial seizures, a transient ischemic attack or mini stroke, multiple sclerosis, a brain tumor or a detached retina in the eye.
An additional factor in determining optical migraine is family history. It is hereditary and usually affects women more than men.
Causes of Optical Migraine
The real cause for optical migraine is not yet known, however, there are theories being investigated on that this migraine may be caused by endocrine disturbances, allergies and a temporary build up of fluids in the brain.
Certain foods and drinks can also be the causes of this type of migraine: red wine, chocolates, chicken liver, aged cheese, preserved meats (in nitrates) and foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate). Some causes that may instigate optical migraine and which is usually followed by classical migraine are: stress, premenstrual changes, too much alcohol consumption, use of contraceptive pills and irregular eating habits causing hunger. Over exercise and exposure to intense sunlight may also cause an optical migraine attack.
Other possible causes that can be readily addressed such as fixation to the television, habitual late night reading with wrong lighting or excessive concentration and long periods of computer work.
With all these information, you would be able to determine if you are having an ordinary headache, a common migraine or an optical migraine. Be sure to consult a doctor as soon as there is a change in your aura to avoid any problems in the future.
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