What Are the Causes of an Optical Migraine?


Quick Answer

Ocular migraines are very rare and caused by tightening of the blood vessels that supply blood flow to the eye, according to WebMD. Ocular migraines can cause temporary blindness or visual distortion in one eye, typically lasting under five minutes. Ocular migraines are often confused with migraines with auras.

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Optical migraines, commonly referred to as ocular migraines, are painless, short-term visual abnormalities that may impact one or both eyes. Ocular migraines may pertain to two distinct medical conditions: migraine with aura and retinal migraine. The former involves visual symptoms in both eyes and is usually harmless, while the latter only affects one eye and may be related to a serious underlying health issue, notes Mayo Clinic.

Experts believe that ocular migraines are likely due to the same causes that trigger migraine headaches, which may be genetic in origin. Research studies show that approximately 70 percent of migraine sufferers inherited the condition from family members, states All About Vision.

Although the actual mechanism of action of migraines is not fully established, scientists speculate that the onset of migraines is due to a biochemical interaction deep within the brain. This likely triggers the production and release of inflammatory substances into the neural network that surrounds the head and brain.

Modern medical imaging techniques have also discovered irregularities in blood flow to the brain during ocular migraines. As of 2015, specialists are also still unable to explain in detail why ocular migraines self-resolve within 20 to 30 minutes following an attack.

People who are at a higher risk for ocular migraines are women, people under 40 years old, people who have a personal or family history of migraines and people who have depression, lupus or epilepsy.

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