The Three Types of Ocular Migraines

A young woman holds her head and closes her eyes. A graphic of three rings circles around her head indicating the types of ocular migraines

If you’re like most people, you probably think that migraines always refer to a kind of painful headache. In the U.S. alone, almost 40 million people tend to suffer from migraine headaches. However, people can physically see the most obvious symptom of an ocular migraine and may or may not feel any associated pain at all. The term ocular migraine does not always refer to the same experience. Learn more about the three types of ocular migraines. 

Painless Ocular Migraines

Most often, people describe symptoms of an ocular migraine as a blurred spot or flashing lights in their field of vision. With a painless ocular migraine, you may not actually suffer from a headache. If you do have a headache, it’s often a very mild one. Issues with other senses or motor control might accompany the visual symptoms occasionally. These symptoms typically last for less than 30 minutes and might be relieved by relaxing in a shaded, quiet place. If these symptoms do appear, you should stop any demanding activities, like driving, until they disappear.

Most of the time, doctors do not associate ocular migraines with other medical issues. Consider visiting an eye doctor for an exam to further understand your vision problems.  

Migraine With Aura

A migraine with aura is a recurring headache that occurs during times of sensory disturbances. About 20 percent of the time, people who suffer from migraine headaches will also experience the symptoms of an ocular migraine. In this case, you should consult with your doctor to discuss treatment and possible migraine triggers to avoid. Caffeine, stress, or even certain kinds of food may trigger migraines in some people.

Retinal Migraine

If you experience diminished vision or even blindness in one of your eyes, you might be experiencing a retinal migraine. These are much more rare than painless ocular migraines but may also indicate a more serious medical issue. If you believe you may have suffered from a retinal migraine, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor right away.

Take the Next Step for Healthy Vision

Most of the time, ocular migraines are not a serious medical problem. Understanding the differences between these types of ocular migraines can help you prioritize your health. Schedule an appointment with Florida Eye Specialists for a professional diagnosis and advice about managing your symptoms. Our team of eye care professionals can help develop the best treatment option for your eye health.

*This post was was originally published April 11, 2019 and was updated on March 31, 2021 to update links and change blog title.