When to See A Doctor About Frequent Ocular Migraines
Migraines affect up to 37 million people in the US alone. Depending on symptom severity, this neurological disorder can be debilitating and disrupt your ability to work or carry out everyday activities.
Are you suffering from frequent ocular migraines that leave you drained and unable to function during bad bouts?
If so, it might be time to seek ocular migraine treatment. Ocular migraines aren’t something that can be fixed overnight, but there are various treatment options available.
Continue reading to find out when to seek treatment for migraines.
Ocular Migraines Defined:
Before we get into the details of when you should seek treatment for migraines, let’s quickly define what ocular migraines are.
Ocular migraines (also known as ophthalmic migraines) are characterized by visual disturbances or vision changes. These vision symptoms are temporary and usually short-lived, typically lasting under 30 minutes.
You may experience symptoms such as blind spots in your vision, flickering lights, temporary vision loss, zigzag lines, or floating lines.
These symptoms are also common in migraines with aura. However, there are a few key differences. Vision changes from migraines with aura often appear and dissipate before the migraine headache starts.
With ocular migraines, vision changes typically last longer.
The pain associated with ocular migraines tends to be located right behind the affected eye.
What Causes Ocular Migraines?
Ocular migraines can be caused by various factors, including lifestyle and genetics. Between 34% and 64% of people who suffer from migraines have a family history of the condition.
Common triggers or contributing causes can include:
- Not enough sleep
- Head trauma
- Hormonal changes
- Low blood sugar
- Skipped meals
- Sudden weather changes
- Sudden environment changes
- Strong smells
- Sudden, loud noises
- Motion sickness
- Flashing or bright lights
When to Seek Ocular Migraine Treatment
Ocular migraines can be both painful and concerning, especially if you’re experiencing acute vision changes.
Fortunately, most ocular migraines are benign and don’t pose an immediate danger.
However, if you’re experiencing vision changes due to migraines, you should get them evaluated by a healthcare provider. If you notice any new changes in vision or headaches, it’s best to consult your doctor or neurologist.
You should also seek treatment if you’re experiencing the following:
- Vision changes in one eye but not the other
- Vision changes without a headache
- Vision changes that last longer than 60 minutes or less than 5 minutes
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Speech changes
If you are over the age of 50 and start experiencing an onset of changes in vision or headaches, you should seek prompt medical evaluation.
If you’re experiencing an uptick in ocular migraine frequency and severity, we’d also recommend you seek treatment as soon as possible.
What if none of the above scenarios apply to you? Even if your migraine symptoms don’t pose an immediate risk to your health, it’s still a good idea to address them.
Migraines can be excruciating, lasting anywhere from 5 to 72 hours. During this time, you might be unable to attend work, drive, care for your family, or even read.
You deserve to get help so you can take steps to target the cause and manage the symptoms.
Why You Should See a Neurologist for Migraines
If you suffer from frequent ocular migraines, you might need to book an appointment with a neurologist rather than a general practitioner.
Migraines are one of the most common neurological diseases, and a neurologist will be able to provide more specialized diagnosis and treatment.
During the initial appointment, the neurologist will conduct a physical and a neurological exam. They will test things like muscle coordination and strength and get an overview of your general neurological health.
This examination will help them rule out any other diagnoses.
Your neurologist will also examine your medical history and ask questions about your migraines’ frequency, severity, symptoms, and history.
You might also need to undergo additional imaging tests if your neurologist needs to rule out specific medical conditions. In some cases, the neurologist might require you to get further assessments with other specialists.
After your initial visit, consider keeping a symptom log to facilitate the diagnosis.
Depending on your diagnosis, your neurologist may prescribe medication. If the medicine is ineffective, the neurologist will work with you to find an alternative that is better suited. They may also advise you on lifestyle changes that can help with the symptoms and help you identify migraine triggers.
Identifying migraine triggers and working out ways to reduce or avoid them can help you mitigate attacks and manage the symptoms.
You might need to see a neurologist regularly if you suffer from frequent ocular migraines. Regular check-ins can help you maintain the best treatment for your migraines and address any issues that might come up.
Ocular Migraine Treatment Options
Migraines are a chronic condition for which there is no proven cure, but various treatment options exist. With the proper treatment, you can experience a reduction in symptoms.
Periods of remission may also be possible in some instances.
Treatment can depend on various factors, such as:
- The types of migraines and symptoms you suffer from
- The severity
- Associated symptoms
- Any other medical conditions you have
- Prescription medications you are taking
- The frequency of your attacks
- Your age
These are some of the things that treatment plans can include:
- Medication (such as acetaminophen, NSAIDs, triptans, antidepressants, blood pressure-lowering medications, or antiseizure medications)
- Lifestyle changes such as avoiding migraine triggers, managing stress, or making dietary adjustments
- Hormone therapy (if migraines are tied to your menstrual cycle)
Are You Suffering From Frequent Ocular Migraines?
Frequent ocular migraines can cause you to miss work or school days, leaving you dreading the next episode.
Fortunately, available treatments can help you mitigate and manage the symptoms. If you suffer from frequent ocular migraines, you should seek treatment.
Here at Neurocare of Nevada, we specialize in various neurological disorders, including migraines. Contact us to book an appointment and get the help you need.