Retinal Migraine, also known as ocular migraine, is a rare type of migraine that is descibe as a repeated bouts of partial or total loss of vision in one eye. This condition may be preceeded or accompanied by other symptoms like headache or nausea.

Retinal Migraine is caused by the constriction or narrowing of the blood vessels in the eyes which result to reduce blood flow to one of the eyes. Once the migraine is over, the blood vessels relax and open up again then the vision is restored.

Some activities or conditions may trigger retinal migraine, including:

  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Use of Birth Control Pills
  • Being in Higher Altitudes
  • Hot Temperature
  • Consuming too much processed foods such as hotdogs, cured meat, snack chips and seasonings
  • Intense Exercise
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Retinal migraine is generally identified by the temporary change or loss of vision in one eye that may lasts for about 10-20 minutes. This also involves symptoms of a regular migraine such as headaches, nausea and vomiting.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Scotomas (Seeing a pattern of black spots)
  • Blurry, dim vision or twinkling lights called “scintillations
  • Painful throbbing of the head
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Increased sensitivity to sound


Aside from reviewing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor might perform a physical exam to diagnose retinal migraine. He or she may used an instrument called ophthalmoscope to see if there’s a decreased blood flow to your eye. To confirm diagnosis, your doctor might perform several tests to rule out other conditions that may have the similar symptoms.



The doctor may prescribed medication depending upon the patients’ age and the frequency of the attacks.

Medications that is used to treat symptoms of retinal migraines include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)- relieves pain and inflammation. Examples are aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Beta-blockers– relaxes the blood vessels in the brain
  • Antinausea medications-prevents nausea and vomiting
  • Calcium channel blockers– prevents the constriction of blood vessels
  • Antidepressants-helps prevent migraine
  • Anticonvulsants -helps prevent migraine

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