Ocular Migraine Treatment
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about treating ocular migraines. So, what is an ocular migraine? Well, migraine headaches are a lot more common than we used to suspect. We know, for example, that they're very common in children. A lot of people think their children's headaches may be due to the poor vision and they take them to the eye doctor. There's nothing wrong with getting your child's vision checked; we recommend that at least once a year; can be done by your primary care physician; but, a lot of these headaches are not actually due to vision problems. A lot of kids come to me after having seen their eye doctor, and they still have their headaches. So, one thing that's common about migraines is that they may have visual manifestations, sometimes before there's even any headache pain. Some people feel like there's a part of their vision they don't see an entire side. That's called Hemianopsia. Other people will see squiggly lines or spots or flashes or halos around things; those can all be symptoms of migraine headache. In some people, they never even really get the pain, or the pain comes long after the ocular symptoms. That said, treating migraines is about the same no matter what kind of migraine you have. There is one difference, however, which is that if you're taking a migraine medicine, like Imitrex or a related anti-migraine medicine, that you use just at the time of the pain, you don't want to treat just the visual component of the headache. You want to wait to take that medicine until your actually experiencing headache pain. You know, with other aspects, we use the same medicine for both. So, you can use, for example, a preventive medicine. We use these in people who get their headaches very frequently, more than once a week, for example. These medicines come from a variety of medication categories; some anti-convulsents that we use include Topamax, probably the most popular. We also use beta-blockers, which are really invented as a blood pressure medicine, but they also work well for stopping migraines. The most common there is Propranolol or Inderal. Likewise, we can use some antidepressants for migraine prevention; probably the one which we have the most experience, is also the oldest, Amitriptyline. You may find, if you do get pain with your ocular migraines, that simply taking Ibuprofen or Excedrin, which is Ibuprofen and Aspirin and caffeine all mixed together, can be helpful. That said, whatever you're doing as a pain reliever, be sure you don't do it more than about twice a week, because people tend to get rebound headaches when they take their pain medication more often than that. So remember, two times a week is often as you want to do it. Now, you may also find that altering your diet or your habits helps. If you're somebody who drinks a lot of caffeine, it's time to lay off the coffee or the tea or the Mountain Dews. If you're somebody who smokes, you may be ready to give up your cigarettes at this point, and if you're somebody who drinks, it may be time to do a little time without alcohol, all to see if you can make your migraines better. Also, try and get plenty of rest and try and be in as little stress as you possible as you can, knowing that that's hard for a lot of us in this modern life. So, talking about treating ocular migraines, I am Dr. David Hill.