“An ocular migraine is a rare condition characterized by temporary vision loss or even temporary blindness in one eye. Ocular migraines are caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye.” – allaboutvision.com 

When you hear the term, “Ocular Migraine” you most likely associate it with the head pain and light sensitivity that accompanies regular migraines. Its name is misleading, as ocular migraines do not always accompany a traditional headache/migraine. (Although they can occur at the same time.)

Ocular migraine symptoms generally include a small blind spot that affects your central vision in one eye. This blind spot gets larger, making it impossible for you to drive safely or read with the affected eye.

In some cases, the entire visual field of one eye may be affected. Generally, the episode lasts less than an hour.

Ocular migraines typically only affect one eye. Ocular migraines are often confused with Visual Migraines, which may sound similar but the symptoms differ.

Traditionally, a visual migraine affects both eyes. Visual migraines often appear suddenly and may create the sensation of looking through a cracked window. The visual migraine aura usually moves across your field of view and disappears within 30 minutes. 

Symptoms can also include…

  • A flickering blind spot in the center or near the center of your field of view
  • A wavy or zigzag ring of colored light surrounding a central blind spot
  • A blind spot that slowly migrates across your visual field

The symptoms of a visual migraine typically affect both eyes and last 30 minutes or less. A migraine headache may occur shortly after the symptoms of a visual migraine subside or no headache may occur. 

While both Ocular and Vision Migraines may be caused by things that trigger migraine headaches, and imaging studies have revealed changes in blood flow to the brain during ocular migraines and migraine auras. But why this happens and what brings about the spontaneous resolution of ocular migraines and visual migraines remain unknown.

While experiencing a sudden blindspot that subsides after 30 minutes can be frightening, it is usually harmful. However, if you start experiencing symptoms of Ocular and Visual Migraines for the first time, make sure to let your eye doctor know especially if you are experiencing any head pain.

Understanding eye health and common ailments that can affect our vision and ocular health can help us make choices that positively impact our vision health!