Eye migraines: What are the possible causes?

Eye migraines or ocular migraines typically produce visual symptoms with or without a headache. Even though the precise cause is not known, migraines can be triggered by changes in the flow of blood to the visual cortex of the brain or occipital lobe which are areas responsible for vision.

Potential triggers for eye migraines

  • Flashing lights
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Dental problems
  • Allergies
  • Chemicals in medications or food

Flashing lights

Eye migraines can be triggered by pulsating light at just the right rate. The light can enter the eye at an angle and trigger the peripheral retina which releases electrical impulses that are perceived as flashes of light that results to an aura. Always bear in mind that strobe lights can rouse the whole retina and trigger seizures. In addition, exposure to the pulsating of fluorescent lights can make vision distressing.

Eye migraines

Eye migraines can be triggered by pulsating light at just the right rate.

Abnormalities with the neurotransmitters

Eye migraines can be triggered by the abnormal functioning of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Take note that this chemical allows the transmission of nerve impulses from one nerve to the next.

During a migraine attack, the serotonin causes the constriction of the blood vessels which reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. In uncommon cases, this process can result to a stroke.

Migraine triggers

The triggers for an eye migraine include caffeine, red wine, stress, cheese, nuts, monosodium glutamate and birth control pills. Always bear in mind that migraines are often due to stress and vary from one individual to another. Other triggers can include fruit, sweets, nuts, cereals, breads, dairy as well as meat, alcohol beverages such as red wine, oral contraceptives and estrogen replacement therapy.

What is a retinal migraine?

A retinal migraine is an uncommon condition that can result to vision loss or blindness. During an episode, the blood vessels that supply the retina and optic nerve constrict. A diagnosis is usually made by ruling out other possible causes of pain and vision loss such as a detached retina or blood clot.

What is temporomandibular joint disorder?

The stress can cause an individual to clench his/her teeth which results to pain in the temporomandibular joint. It is important to note that this pain can radiate all over the head, including the eyes.

Inflammation, abnormalities with the teeth and impaired jaw movements can contribute to a TMJ disorder. The condition is a main cause of migraines since the trigeminal nerve responsible for tooth and jaw function also provides sensation to the sinuses, face, eyes, palate, lips and teeth.


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