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Every human being has experienced headaches at least once or twice in their lifetime. These headaches can either be mild or severe and they might affect important aspects of one’s daily life like the eyesight and ability to see well. When a headache becomes that severe, it is called a migraine.

What is a migraine?

A migraine is simply a severe headache that occurs repeatedly. Migraines are usually associated with an underlying cause and they can either be a frequent or rare occurrence, depending on the individual affected. Migraines can sometimes disturb vision and result in total or partial loss of vision for some time in one or both eyes. A reduction in blood flow to the blood vessels of the retina and behind the brain often causes this. When migraines affect your vision, you might notice the following symptoms: black spots, wiggly lines, flashing lights, distorted colours and shapes.

What triggers a migraine?

Certain daily habits and activities that we engage in can trigger migraines. A reoccurring combination of two or more of these habits can cause migraines. Some examples are inadequate or excessive sleep, skipping meals, bright lights, loud noises, strong odour, hormonal changes, stress, anxiety, changes in the weather, strong physical activities, foods (e.g. red wine, chocolate, caffeine, etc.)

How to handle visual disturbances caused by migraines.

If your migraines suddenly start affecting your vision and daily activities, the following tips will help to keep you safe.

  • Stop whatever you are doing immediately. If you are behind the wheel, locate the nearest safe spot and pull over for your safety.
  • Stay calm. Most times, visual disturbances from migraines usually last for a maximum of 30 minutes and might not need medical attention.
  • Observe some rest, preferably in a cool, dark environment at home.
  • Take some painkillers (paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac or naproxen) preferably the ones prescribed by your physician
  • Keep a record of every symptom you feel per time and how the migraine affects vision in one or both eyes. This information will come in handy if you need to see your doctor.
  • Make an appointment with your eye doctor to have your eyes checked afterwards. However, if you experience sudden vision loss in one or both eyes, see your doctor immediately for prompt treatment.

We can manage migraines by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Drink lots of water, exercise and stay in well-ventilated areas. Contact us for more information.