Judith Whitehead – Contributing Writer
What are ocular migraines?
Having worked in the ophthalmology field for many years, I have received many phone calls expressing alarming symptoms that scare most people. There are many types of headaches: cluster headaches, migraines, tension headaches and more, but many people do not know much about an ocular migraine.
The symptoms of an ocular migraine can be alarming but in most cases are not serious. People describe them as areas of missing vision with a kaleidoscope effect that impacts one or both eyes.
They can see these “crackles” with their eyes closed or open. They see crackles of light that move around until they may form a semi-circle in the field of vision. For at least 20 minutes, it is difficult to see through the scintillations, until they pass.
Many times, a headache can follow the symptoms.
When this happens, people at times think they are having a stroke in the eye; it can be scary and cause panic if you have never experienced this before.
Just as with a normal headache, some people take Motrin or seek headache relief because, more times than not, a headache will follow.
An ocular migraine is in fact a brief interruption in circulation and can be brought on by stress or anxiety. Nothing will make these short term symptoms leave any faster; they just have to run their course.
During the symptoms, one should just rest until they pass.
If these ocular symptoms last longer than about 20 minutes, there may be cause for concern and one should seek medical attention sooner rather than later. Many people experience these symptoms off and on throughout their lives; some may never have them.
Remember, if they don't stop in a reasonable amount of time, seek medical attention.
Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.