How to Know If You Are Having a Retinal Migraine

Key symptoms distinguish retinal migraines from migraines with aura.

Retinal migraines — also known as “ocular migraines” — are rare, affecting approximately 1 in 200 people. They’re often confused with migraines with aura, though they’re actually very different.


The hallmark symptom of a retinal migraine is vision loss in one eye lasting less than an hour, and often in reoccurring bouts. It’s important to distinguish between vision impairment in one eye one as opposed to one side of your field of vision; the latter being a symptom with aura. Like other migraine types, ocular migraines generally cause head pain for most. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to lights and sound. It should also be noted that vision loss in one can be a sign of a different, more serious issue; if you experience vision loss in one eye, consult a doctor immediately. 


Retinal migraines aren’t fully understood by scientists. It’s thought that the vision impairment may be caused by a spasm of blood vessels around the eye, which cuts off blood flow. For some, ocular migraines may be precipitated by exercise.


If you think you might be suffering from retinal migraines — or if you’re experiencing vision loss in any way — it’s best to see a doctor.



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