What Are Ocular Migraines?

An ocular migraine is a frightening condition that can leave you with temporary vision loss in one eye. It is sometimes referred to as a retinal migraine. Although some people also use the term “ocular migraine” to refer to visual migraines, the two conditions are not the same. Visual migraines affect both eyes, typically only last about 30 minutes and are much more common than true ocular migraines. In fact, about 20 percent of all migraines occur with auras.

woman suffering from ocular migraines

On the other hand, true retinal migraines typically affect a single eye for about an hour and are much rarer. Only about one out of every 200 people who have migraines will be affected by this condition. If you are unsure whether or not you are having an ocular (retinal) or visual migraine, cover one eye at a time. If you notice that the symptoms are only in a single eye, you are experiencing an ocular migraine.

Symptoms of Ocular Migraines

Some of the symptoms of an ocular migraine include seeing flashes of lights, floating lines and zigzag patterns. You may also experience spots that may cause partial to complete temporary blindness. These symptoms may occur at the same time as or after a migraine headache, which will typically be felt behind the eye in which you are noticing symptoms.

The exact cause of migraines is not known, but it is believed that they may be the result of spasms in your blood vessels. In ocular migraines, the reduction in blood flow occurs in the retina. For visual migraines, the change occurs in the blood flow to the occipital lobe or visual cortex, which is the area of your brain that is responsible for vision. Because visual migraines are a result of an issue occurring in the brain, you will still have symptoms even if you close your eyes, which is not true in the case of ocular migraines.

The loss of vision in one eye can also be a symptom of other serious conditions, such as a retinal detachment, so it is very important to consult with an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Eye Health for College Students

Most college students keep such busy schedules that it’s easy for them to overlook issues such as eye health, and many of them believe themselves to be too young to give potential eye problems serious consideration. However, eye problems can affect those of all ages and all walks of life, and students may be particularly vulnerable because of the amount of time they spend studying and otherwise interacting with books, digital screens, and other study aids. Following are three things about maintaining optimal eye health that all college students should know about.

Screen Strain is Real

Digital eye strain is one of the leading causes of vision problems in college students. Most fail to give themselves enough breaks when using digital study materials, which leads to the eyes becoming overly dried out. Because this results in blurred vision as well as eye pain and irritation, students are advised to look away from their screens for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes during study marathons. You might also consider using screens designed to minimize eye strain and alternating digital and traditional study materials.

Clean Contacts Matter

College students also may neglect to pay proper attention to cleaning and maintaining their contact lenses. Dirty contact lenses potentially cause eyes infections. To avoid this, avoid falling asleep with your lenses in, and always wash your hands thoroughly when removing and putting them in. Don’t shower while wearing them, and make sure to clean them regularly.

Sports Injuries Affect Eyes Too

Most people think of sports injuries as involving legs, backs, and arms, but they affect the eyes as well. College students who engage in sports should always ensure that they’re wearing adequate eye protection. Sports-related eye injuries have the potential to impact your eyesight for the rest of your life negatively. It’s a good idea to use appropriate eye protection even when you’re simply riding your bicycle across campus or around town.

Please reach out to us at your convenience if you’d like more information on taking the best possible care of your eyes no matter what stage of life you’re in.

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