Bhubaneswar: You may be cognizant about the neurological condition called migraine that leads to severe headache but how aware are you when it comes to visual migraine?
Migraine, as it is already known, triggers light to intense headache in people and in some cases, turns patients sensitive towards light and sound around them. The headache may range from few hours to few days or weeks and in severe cases, people end up feeling nauseous, dizzy, numb or tingling. Although this condition is treatable, there is apparently no permanent cure for it.
What is visual migraine?
Sometimes, people suffering from a severe headache due to migraine, complain of visual distortions such as short and sharp flashes of light, asymmetric patterns and sometimes, temporary vision loss. This is called visual migraine or ocular migraine.
However, in few cases, the visual disturbances come without headache. That’s called silent migraine.
Visual or ocular migraine is basically of two types: migraine with aura and retinal migraine. Here’s a brief understanding of both along with their causes:
- Migraine with aura: in this case, both the eyes are affected. A person happens to see blind spots, bright flashes of light and other patterns. Some also report numbness, difficulty in speaking and weakness in a side of the face. This lasts from five to 60 minutes. Causes might range from stress and anxiety to dehydration, excess caffeine consumption, menstruation, loud sounds, strong odors, etc.
- Retinal migraine: in this case, only one eye is affected. The vision of that eye might decrease temporarily or even vanish for a brief span of time. According to researchers, this type of visual migraine possibly runs down the family. It is rare but, in some cases, it causes permanent vision impairment. So, it’s wise to consult a doctor. Retinal migraine could also be triggered by stress and dehydration but some other contributing factors are smoking, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, heat, etc.
How to treat or prevent it?
Well, there are prescription medicines available apart from over-the-counter medicines like aspirin and naproxen. An article by Medical news Today says that doctors prescribe ‘migraine with aura’ patients with some beta-blockers, anti-depressants, anticonvulsants etc and calcium channel blockers to patients suffering from retinal migraine.
However, instead of depending on regular dosage of medicines, avoiding the triggers is more recommended in such cases.
How fatal is visual migraine?
Other than the rare case of permanent vision impairment, visual migraine could also lead to stroke. According to a study, people (especially women and older people) experiencing migraine with aura are at greater risks of ischemic stroke, which stops blood supply to a person’s brain.
So, if you are experiencing frequent headaches or are avoiding those recurring headaches due to migraine, a tele-consultation with your doctor could serve in your best interests.