Ocular migraine

An ocular migraine is an episode of vision loss in one eye, usually lasting less than one hour and is associated with a headache.
Ocular migraine

An ocular migraine can mimic other serious conditions, so it is very important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible if experiencing these symptoms.

Causes & risk factors

Ocular migraines are typically caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. Risk factors include:

  • Similar causes and risk factors for migraines.
  • More common in women than men.
  • Most common from age 30-39.
  • Family history of migraine.


  • A blind spot in the central area of vision which can start small and get larger.
  • It usually lasts less than 60 minutes.
  • Usually presents in one eye.
  • It can also affect the peripheral (side) vision.


  • A comprehensive eye exam with dilation.
  • Thorough case history, including details about prior headaches.
  • Neurologic testing and/or additional blood work or imaging may be necessary to rule out other, more serious, causes.


  • Migraine treatment. Based on the doctor’s recommendations.
  • May include the following:
    • Mild: over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
    • More severe: prescription medications to help with the migraines or also symptoms that accompany migraines such as nausea.


  • Same as prevention for migraines.
  • Avoid migraine triggers.
  • Common triggers include stress, hormonal changes, bright/flashing lights, drinking alcohol (red wine), changes in the weather, skipping meals/not eating enough, or too much or too little sleep.
  • Keep a headache journal including information about what you were doing, eating, or medications taken before or after a headache occurs.
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