Migraines can be incredibly disruptive and uncomfortable, affecting your vision and your wider wellbeing. It can helpful to understand the different types of migraines, and to recognise some of the migraine symptoms.
Migraines can begin in childhood, adolescence or even early adulthood. You may or may not notice subtle warning signs before experiencing a migraine attack. With that in mind, here is a helpful guide for migraine symptoms and how to tell what type of migraine you are experiencing.
Two types of migraines
There are two types of migraines that can affect your vision; these are known as ocular migraines and visual migraines. While both will affect your vision in some way, they can work in different ways.
Visual migraines are much more common than ocular migraines. While ocular migraines are characterised by temporary vision loss or blindness in one eye, visual migraines often affects both eyes.
Ocular migraines are often caused by reduced blood flow, or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. Vision usually returns to normal within an hour. Visual migraine symptoms usually subside within 30 minutes.
Recognising migraine symptoms
Different types of migraines can present various symptoms. Ocular migraine symptoms can include a small blind spot that generally affects the central vision in one eye. This blind spot may become larger, making it difficult to do everyday activities like driving or reading.
In some cases, ocular migraines can include the entire visual field of one eye becoming affected, however the episode usually lasts less than an hour.
On the other hand, visual migraine symptoms can differ slightly. You might experience a flickering blind spot in the centre of your vision. Some people notice a wavy or zigzag ring of light surrounding the central blind spot.
Visual migraine symptoms may include a blind spot that gradually moves across your field of vision. Symptoms will usually affect both eyes, lasting for about 30 minutes. You may experience a migraine headache after the symptoms have gone.
If you feel like you may be experiencing migraine symptoms, but you aren’t sure what type of migraine, there are ways to tell. Cover one eye at a time; if your symptoms are occurring in one eye, it could be an ocular migraine. If symptoms are happening in both eyes, you could be having a visual migraine.
If you experience any sort of blind spot or impairment to your vision, it’s important to see an optician immediately.
Preventing migraine symptoms
There are many different things you can do to try to prevent any migraine symptoms from occurring. You may want to keep a journal of your diet and daily activities, as you may identify possible triggers that you could avoid in the future.
Some triggers of migraine symptoms can be stress-related. If you find this to be the case, you may be able to reduce the frequency of your migraines without medicine. Following lifestyle choices such as healthy meals and proper sleep patterns can help hugely, as can yoga or massages to stay relaxed.