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Ocular Migraine Prevention

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The first step to preventing migraines is to avoid triggers. These often include:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Hormonal birth control pills
  • Exercise
  • Bending over
  • High altitude
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • Excessive heat

Although dietary triggers – such as caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners -- can cause other types of migraines; they seem less likely to trigger ocular migraines.

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Hemicrania continua, or continuous headache, is a rare type of headache that doesn't stop. The pain is felt on one side of the face or head. It varies in severity. Patients with hemicrania continua describe a dull ache or throb that is interrupted by periods of pain that is: jolting sharp stabbing These attacks usually happen three to five times a day. Some patients will have these headaches steadily for months or years. In others, the pain will go away for weeks or months. But then...

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Medications can also prevent ocular migraines. Calcium-channel blockers, such as Cardene and Calan, are the most commonly used drugs. They work by opening up the blood vessels. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin are also sometimes used. Less often, your doctor may prescribe drugs used to prevent blood clotting, depression, and epilepsy.

A device is also an option. Cefaly is the first FDA-approved device for preventing migraines in people over age 18. The portable headband-like device gives electrical impulses on the skin at the forehead. This stimulates a nerve associated with migraine headaches. Cefaly is used once a day for 20 minutes, and when it's on you'll feel a tingling or massaging sensation.  

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on February 28, 2014

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