Understanding Your Health: Retinal Migraine Vs Ocular Migraine

May 03, 2023


Migraines are more than just headaches. Migraines can involve visual components, such as auras and blind spots. These types of migraines are often referred to as ocular migraines.

If you’re familiar with migraines, you may notice the terms ocular and retinal migraine mentioned often. The eye experts at OOMC are here to discuss retinal and ocular migraines, so you can learn more about what you’re experiencing.

Do you have questions about visual migraine symptoms? Schedule a consultation, with our eye specialists!

What Is an Ocular Migraine?

Ocular migraine“Ocular migraine” is a commonly used term for several migraine types, with visual components. Visual components may include blind spots, auras, and vision loss.

Ocular migraines can occur without any pain involvement. Those with ocular migraines may experience a range of visual symptoms or just one or two.

How Do Migraines Happen?

Migraines can be triggered by your environment as well as electrical activity inside your brain.

Migraine triggers can be individual to the person, although some common triggers include electronic screens, like phones or computers, fluorescent lights, and other strains on your eyes.

Retinal Migraines: A Subset of Ocular Migraines

Retinal migrainesRetinal migraines are a subset of ocular migraines that involve visual symptoms that start in only one eye. These visual disturbances take place before the pain of a migraine attack.

The symptoms of a retinal migraine are often more distracting than an aura. Retinal migraine symptoms can include:

  • Twinkling lights
  • Decreased vision
  • Temporary blindness

These symptoms usually last under an hour, although everyone may have slightly different experiences.

Other conditions can additionally produce visual symptoms. If you’re unsure of what you may be experiencing, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment

While there’s no definitive test for an ocular or retinal migraine, your doctor can take steps to rule out other potential conditions, such as eye diseases or headache disorders.

A doctor will perform an assessment, take a medical history, and review your symptoms. You may be referred to an optometrist or ophthalmologist, like those at OOMC, to discuss potential eye issues.


There are steps you and your doctor can take to prevent ocular and retinal migraines. These will depend on your specific needs and experiences.

It may be recommended, if possible, to avoid triggers for your migraines. This may include not consuming certain foods, sleeping more, and ensuring you eat enough.


Your doctor will recommend treatment options. Many migraine treatment options include over-the-counter medication, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and anti-nausea medications.

Other options for treatment include resting your eyes when a migraine occurs. Many find it helpful to lie down in a dark room and avoid screens during a migraine.

Learn More About Migraine Treatment Options, Today

If you’re experiencing ocular migraines, the doctors at OOMC practices can help. Book a consultation to discuss treatment options based on your specific needs.

Our practices work in tandem with your current physician, ensuring you receive a personalized approach to your migraines.

Give us a call to schedule your consultation, today.

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