What is a visual migraine?

Written by jackie pate
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A visual (ocular) migraine is a migraine with visual disturbances that can vary from person to person. During the migraine, changes may occur in blood flow, which causes visual disturbances. You may have a visual migraine with only visual disturbances and no pain.

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Symptoms of a visual migraine may include visual disturbances, feeling of numbness in an extremity or face, confusion and difficulty with speech or language. Visual disturbances are the most common symptom and can include loss of vision, zigzag lines, shimmering spots, blind spots and flashes of light.


Causes of a visual migraine include stress, sensory stimuli, fatigue, head trauma, hunger, some foods and medications, environmental changes and hormonal changes.


Treatment for visual migraines includes over-the-counter pain relievers, triptans, ergots and anti-nausea drugs.


Preventive medications can include cardiovascular medications, antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs. Stress management can also help in preventing visual migraines.

Tests and Diagnosis

You doctor may perform an eye exam, computerised tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam to diagnose if you are suffering from visual migraines.

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