Sudden and strong, like a clap of thunder, these headaches hit you with a blast of severe pain and can reach their peak in just 60 seconds. You may feel relief in about an hour. But sometimes, the pain can last up to 10 days.
Regular migraines can also cause vision problems, called an aura, which can involve flashing lights and blind spots in your vision. But these symptoms usually appear in both eyes.
See your doctor to find out if you have ocular migraines. He can rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Be ready to describe your symptoms as completely as you can -- that will help your doctor know what’s really going on.
Warning signs of an ocular migraine include:
Vision problems that affect one eye, such as flashing lights, blind spots in your field of vision, or blindness. You might have them for only a few minutes or up to 30 minutes. These problems affect just one eye, which makes ocular migraines different from other types.
It can be hard to tell the difference between flashing lights or blindness in one side of your vision -- but involving both eyes -- and having these symptoms in only one eye. If you can’t tell, cover one eye and then the other.
Headache that lasts from 4 to 72 hours. It tends to:
Experts aren't sure what causes ocular migraines. Some feel that the problem is related to:
Spasms in blood vessels in the retina, the lining in the back of the eye
Changes that spread across the nerve cells in the retina
It’s rare, but people who have these migraines may have a higher risk of permanent vision loss in one eye. Experts don't know if medications that prevent migraines -- such as tricyclic antidepressants or anti-seizuremedications -- can help prevent that vision loss. But if you have ocular migraines, even if they go away on their own, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.