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Eye & Vision Message Board

Eye & Vision Board Index

I was going to say it sounds like migraine aura until you said it happens in one eye only. A regular migraine aura occurs in the brain; however, there is such a thing as an ocular migraine which happens in one eye only and does occur IN the eye. Beyond this, I don't know.


"In a related condition called ocular migraine, which is even less common than migraine with aura, individuals experience the same visual disturbances that occur during an aura, but the symptoms only occur in one eye. The aura that occurs before an ocular migraine is commonly followed by a migraine headache. And the same triggers that can bring on migraine with or without aura also can cause ocular migraine.

Ocular migraine can produce various degrees of vision loss or obstruction. Some patients, says Dr. Mays, report blind spots or "holes," referring to missing sections in the normal visual field, or they may experience a shade of black or gray over the visual field. Some people compare the visual phenomena of ocular migraine to the patterns produced by an old television with faulty reception, says Dr. Mays. "Others say it’s like looking through watery glass."

Ocular migraine symptoms are temporary and do not harm the eye; but they can interfere with daily activities, such as reading and driving and can interrupt the work day.

Confusing auras
Although ocular migraine and migraine with aura are very similar experiences, one key difference is the source of the vision disturbances. In migraine with aura, the occipital cortex of the brain is the source of vision disturbances. In ocular migraine, it is the retinal blood vessels inside the eye. The retina is the thin lining on the back, inner part of the eye that prepares images for processing by the brain. An individual experiencing the aura of ocular migraine could cover or close one of the eyes and stop the symptoms. Not so for an individual experiencing traditional aura. "The symptoms affect both left- and right-sided vision," says Dr. Mays. "The source of the problem is the brain, not the eyes."

For some reason, says Dr. Mays, auras that occur without a subsequent migraine often get labeled—by patients and physicians—as ocular migraines. She speculates that it’s a combination of a lack of knowledge about migraines and the notion that if there are visual problems but no migraine, it must be an "eye," or ocular, problem."

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