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Ocular migraine (also known as retinal migraine) is a condition of the eye that manifests as brief attacks of complete vision loss in one eye. It can be a very frightening experience, but they are often harmless and last for a brief time after which the eyesight of the affected individual goes back to normal. Some persons experience ocular migraines once every few months, although the frequency can vary from one individual to another.


The symptoms of ocular migraine include partial or complete loss of vision in one eye which usually lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes before vision gradually gets restored. It can be accompanied by headaches (which may happen before, during, or after the vision loss). When experiencing an ocular migraine, it is unusual for vision loss to last beyond one hour. And it is usually the same eye that is affected repeatedly. There may also be flashes of light in the affected eye.


Ocular migraine results from the sudden narrowing of the blood vessels in the eye, which reduces the flow of blood into the eye. Any of these factors can trigger the narrowing: stress, smoking, high blood pressure, consumption of oral contraceptive pill, low blood sugar, excessive heat, etc. The occurrence of ocular migraine is more common amongst women, in individuals below 40 years, and in people living with underlying diseases such as sickle cell or epilepsy

Treatment for ocular migraine

Usually, ocular migraine can be treated by just taking pain relief medication for the headaches and reducing exposure to whatever might have triggered the migraine. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe any of these medicines: aspirin (to minimize pains and inflammation), a beta-blocker (to relax the blood vessels), and a calcium channel blocker (to help prevent the blood vessels from constriction).

However, if you suddenly experience a deterioration in your eyesight, make an immediate appointment so your optometrist can carry out tests on your eyes to detect the possible onset of any eye disease.