Why are my migraines affecting my vision?

Ocular Migraine

A migraine that involves visual disturbance is called an ocular migraine. Ocular migraines can develop with or without the accompanying pain of a typical migraine.

An ocular migraine is a rare condition characterised by temporary vision loss or even temporary blindness in one eye. Ocular migraines are caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. Regular migraine attacks can also cause vision problems, called an aura, which can involve flashing lights and blind spots. But these symptoms usually happen in both eyes.

Ocular migraine symptoms generally include a small blind spot that affects your central vision in one eye. This blind spot gets larger, making it impossible for you to drive safely or read with the affected eye. In some cases, the entire visual field of one eye may be affected. Generally, the episode lasts less than an hour.

Visual migraine symptoms can vary, and may include:

Visual migraines often appear suddenly and may create the sensation of looking through a cracked window. The visual migraine aura usually moves across your field of view and disappears within 30 minutes.
  1. A flickering blind spot in the centre or near the centre of your field of view
  2. A wavy or zigzag ring of coloured light surrounding a central blind spot
  3. A blind spot in your vision


Many people are able to identify individual migraine triggers, but research has shown that it is more likely a combination of factors that trigger migraine. Triggers vary from person to person and may include:

  • bright lights
  • loud sounds
  • powerful odors
  • stress, anxiety
  • changing weather
  • alcoholic beverages, especially red wine
  • too much caffeine or withdrawal from caffeine
  • artificial sweeteners


The first step to preventing migraines is to avoid triggers. These often include:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Hormonal birth control pills
  • Exercise
  • Bending over
  • High altitude
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • Excessive heat

If you are experiencing visual migraines, it might mean it is time to book in with one of our optometrists. Assessing the health and performance of your eye can provide us with the best information to help you move forward.

Beckenham Optometrist has been operating in Avalon for 22 years and our team is passionate about delivering the most comprehensive level of eye care to the community through a personalised and friendly approach. Beckenham Optometrist can be contacted on 9918 0616 or at info@beckenhamoptometrist.com.au.

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