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Visual Migraine Causes and Triggers

Through research, experts have learned that there are several types of migraine. Aside from the most prevalent, which are common and classic migraines, there are those that exhibit distinct symptoms and have to be dealt with separately as well.  One of these is visual migraine.

Visual migraine is also referred to as ophthalmic migraine. However, the more popular term that is better remembered and understood by most is ocular migraine. It is a condition which is distinct from the common migraine people are familiar with because it is sometimes not accompanied by pain.

When someone has a visual migraine attack, his vision becomes blurry when a small blind spot appears in the center of vision, with a zigzag line and flickering lights inside it. The distortion can start from the central vision and move to the periphery or vice-versa.

Some people who have had episodes like this sometimes mistake it as a sign of a stroke or brain tumor. Visual migraines are usually harmless and do not require treatment. However, it could be a symptom of a more serious underlying illness and a visit to the physician is nevertheless recommended.

The means by which visual migraine occurs is more or less similar to that of a typical one - expanded blood vessel in the brain. The difference is the location of the vessels. Whereas common migraine starts when the arteries near the brain surface are enlarged, ocular migraine affects the arteries in the vision center of the brain.

Attacks usually last for fifteen to twenty minutes and may or may not be accompanied by a headache. Other symptoms similar to the common migraine might also appear, such as fatigue, nausea and vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.  Knows triggers for this particular type of migraine include caffeine, cheese, dehydration and stress.

It is believed that the condition of the eye mirrors the health of the body and living a healthy lifestyle will significantly decrease vision migraine attacks. Caffeine is a known trigger and should be eliminated from the diet. Another substance to be avoided is MSG, which causes headache and is also a potential toxin to the retina.

Regular exercise is also very advantageous because it helps prevent a host of other diseases as well as relieves stress. Others can resort to implementing a diet that consists of foods that are rich in beta-carotene, which helps keep eyes healthy. Smokers also need to reduce or stop their habit because smoking produces cyanide which, like MSG, is a retinal toxin.

Since visual migraine is an entirely different type of migraine, it cannot be treated with medications that are used by those who suffer from the more prevalent forms of the disease. The best option then for a visual migraineur is prevention..

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