Ocular migraine

Ocular migraine

Cory SerVaas

Dear Dr. SerVaas,

Can you give me information regarding ocular migraine? I suffered with classic migraine since my early teens (I’m now in my late 70s). Originally the migraines started with disturbed vision and then went into a severe one-sided headache.

A few years ago the classic migraine stopped, but every now and then the disturbed vision continues. It lasts about half an hour and, fortunately, is not followed by a debilitating headache.

Any information you can give me will be appreciated. I enjoy your column and wish it could be longer. Thanks for your help.

Carl Sparacio

Ramsey, New Jersey

We are aware of case histories similar to yours. During an episode of ocular migraine, people typically “see” flickering or shimmering lights or lines inside a blind spot that affects central vision. The visual symptoms usually resolve within 30 minutes. As you mention, a debilitating headache does not develop.

Doctors explain that the visual symptoms are linked to activity in the brain cortex located in the back of the skull. They are not directly related to an eye problem.

The condition, also called acephalgic migraine or migraine aura without headache, tends to occur more frequently as people get older. Nonetheless, always consult an eye doctor about any unusual or lingering vision symptoms to rule out eye disease or a disorder of the eye’s blood vessels.

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