5 Signs You have Retinal Migraine

by James on 9 January 2009

A diagnosis of retinal migraine may be more and more common, but there’s still confusion over what exactly it is.  There are five signs that you can use to tell if you have retinal migraine, but don’t miss the important warning at the end…

  1. One eye:  First, the eye symptoms tend to be monocular, meaning they’re only in one eye.
  2. Visual disturbances:  So what’s going on in this one eye?  There are a variety of disturbances which other migraine sufferers may be familiar with.  This might include flashing lights, or patterns in your visual field.  There may be an area where your vision is impaired (ie dark spots), or even loss.  Even blindness in one eye is possible with retinal migraine.
  3. Temporary:  Permanent vision loss is another matter.  With retinal migraine the symptoms are reversible.
  4. Headache:  A headache typically starts during the visual disturbances, or within an hour after they stop.  The headache typically lasts between 4 hours and 3 days, is often one-sided and pulsating, and usually either includes sensitivity to light and/or sound, nausea, or both.  There is an increasing body of evidence showing cases of retinal migraine without headache as well.  There is an argument that the "headache" not be necessary for a diagnosis of retinal migraine, but usually it’s still included.
  5. Repeated:  In order to actually be diagnosed with retinal migraine, you need to have had at least 2 attacks.
Retinal migraine

Now that you’ve got the 5 signs, it’s time for the warning.  It’s very important that other causes have been ruled out.  It’s easy to get a misdiagnoses here, so some things are very important:

  • It’s helpful to see your doctor during an attack, so she can ask the appropriate questions to diagnose you.
  • You need to have a normal eye exam in between attacks.  Remember, this is temporary.  There are a number of things that can cause similar visual disturbances, such as brain damage, tumours, ischemic optic neuropathy (damage to the optic nerve) and other optic disorders.  Even if the symptoms are coming and going, it’s very important to rule out other causes.
  • Make sure your doctor has your medical history, and family medical history as much as possible.  This will help her narrow down the possibilities to the most likely.
  • If your symptoms don’t quite fit the above criteria, you may have another type of migraine.  Migraine aura without headache is a typical suspect if you have no headache, especially if you’re having symptoms in both eyes.  Migraine with aura is another possibility if you have the headache but your visual symptoms are more varied.  If you’re not sure about what your doctor is telling you, get a second opinion.

Researchers suspect decreased blood flow to the eye or optic nerve may be to blame for the unique symptoms of retinal migraine.  However, like other types of migraine, the overall cause is still a mystery.

The good news is that retinal migraine often decreases or disappears with typical migraine treatment.  Be sure to see a specialist and discuss your options.

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Farrah March 30, 2009 at 4:59 am

I suffer from pretty severe migraines. I’ve been getting them a few times a week for months now, and I’ve had mild to moderate headaches since I was around the age of six. My migraines tend to be more painful in my left eye, but I am totally blind, so I don’t know whether or not they would cause problems with my vision were I to have my sight. I do have Coates Disease and Retinitis Pigmentosa and have been to my retina specialist within the past few weeks. He said that my migraines weren’t being caused by anything that he saw in my eye, but is a retinal migraine something you can notice by looking at the eye? I’ve been to a neurologist, and before doing any scans on my brain, he prescribed 10mg of amitriptyline and told me that I could take one to three of the tablets every night before bed. The medicine worked, but it caused me to have even more nightmares than I already do. I was dreaming about deceased friends and family members. The drug caused me to be physically drained every day. I am a highschool student, so not being able to stay awake or remain focus isn’t something I can tolerate. My neurologist passed away, and a different neurlogist, who had never seen me in her office before, prescribed topamax. I was on the Topamax as long as it took me to ease myself off it. I found out how dangerous it could be, and I just didn’t think the sideaffects and risks were worth it. It made me very angry in the short time that I was taking it. Now I am trying a homeopathic aproach to treat my migraines. I am taking one tablet of migrafew before bed every night, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Please, if anyone knows anything more about what i have described here, send an EMail to me at [email protected].
Some of the simptoms of my migraines include: vomiting, nausea, severe eye pain, headache above the left eye, headache with drastically reduced pain on the other side of the head, temperature sensitivity, and sensitivity to light and sound.
I’ve always thought that maybe certain foods such as bread, spaghetti noodles, and chocolate were triggers for my migraines, but maybe not. Would it help to keep a food diary? I eat a lot of these things, so would it even be possible to deduce?
Thank you,
Farrah

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Gerri January 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Farrah,

I had abdominal migranes since 1986 – My neurologist told me Strawberrys, chocolate, caffeine, and nutra-sweet are the 4 major triggers. I found out that nutra-sweet was my trigger. Fortunately in 2007 I out grew the abdominal migranes, but now I get killer headaches with my left eye in extrem pain everytime. I know I need to see a neurologist – but being older an known it will just mean I will be put on drugs again. I rather deal with the pain. BTW: I was on phenobarbital for 20 years and it really did work. My abdominal migranes I did not have any pain – I just dehydrated *vomited my gutts out* then was in a coma for 48 hours once I was admit into a hospital.

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Joy July 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Have you heard of vision loss following by a migraine after exercise? I am a runner and have started getting migraines after an intense run. I lose vision in both my eyes and then get a headache. The headache is manageable, but its the vision loss that really upsets me. I’m a Nutritionist and have to admit, I’m completely baffled on this one. Please help!!

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Donna June 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Hi

I have a disease called Pigment Dispersion Syndrome, and what happens is when I exercise the pigment in my eye falls off and blocks the mesh-work that allows the eye to balance the pressure within it. The increase in eye pressure leads to temporary sightloss (everything goes white for me) and then I get a headache around my eyes. It is easily treatable, but needs to be monitored as it can cause associated glaucoma. I have drops to manage my eye pressure. The eye pressure only goes up after exercise / jumping about or, for me, when my pupils are dilated so isn’t picked up on routine eye checks. I think they can measure the shape of your cornea and take a look inside to see if you have it. I hope this is helpful. Regards, Donna

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mary October 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I am also a runner who has lost my vision after running. The first time in both eyes the next two times in the left eye. While I am running my left eye looks like I am looking through a fog/haze. Then about an hour or so after my eye hurts not my head. This only happens after about mile 7. I have had cat scans/ mris and an eye specialist who basically said deal with it because his son get these ocular migraines which is what they think I have. This morning I woke up after having an attack yesterday (Ran 13.1 slow) and my eye looks like somebody punched me. Any ideas. This sucks not being able to run

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Bart March 26, 2012 at 9:21 am

You might try a low dose of pilocarpine drops before running. It may decrease the pigment shedding that causes the high pressure that results from shedding the pigment during strenuous activity.

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Joy October 5, 2009 at 11:36 am

Hi Mary, I had the same thing happening to me for a few months, as you can see from my previous comment. I know how frustrating it can be as a runner too. I took a very close look at my diet and realized it was linked back to some food additives like MSG and polysorbate 80. I am a very clean eater (I’m a nutritionist) so it was extremely baffling for me. However, I found that these additives were in some very not-so-obvious foods. Email me and we can chat if you like. [email protected]

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JAMES October 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

IV,E BEEN HAVING THIS BLURRY VISION FOLLOWED BY THE MIGRAINE. LATELY IVE BEEN WALKING AND DIETING. i HATE THE BLURRY VISION THAT LASTS ABOUT 15 MINUTES.

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helen August 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm

i have the same issue, actually it only happen twice but it scare me…i dont know why this has to happen to me. Its starts off with a flash of light, blurry vision for 15minutes, and then a major migraine. I’m so scared im 26 and i dont know where this is coming from…i have to sit in a dark room for hours, i wish i knew of a cure. The last time it happen i was at work i went to the ER and they gave me some type of meds that anger me…I’m scared and i dont know what is going to happen

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JENNIFER March 4, 2011 at 8:45 am

I HAVE THE SAME ISSUE, IT STARTED WITH A FLASH OF LIGHT, BLURRY VISION FOR LIKE 45MINUTES, AND THEN MAJOR MIGRAINE AND IT’S BEEN 3DAYS LATER. i WAS SO SCARED WHEN i LOST MY SIGHT IN MY LEFT EYE. THE BRIGHT LIGHT IS BOTHERING ME NOW. I HOPE SOMEBODY IS OUT THERE THAT I CAN TALK TO ABOUT THIS.

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Rachel February 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

I feel your pain..i get dizzy first then blurred vision that lasts three to six hours and the headaches usually come 20 mins after the blurriness starts.
usually the headaches lasted three to four days afterwards and i would also be in a dark room the whole time.
now however, the sensitivity to light has not gone away after the first symptoms of my migraine appeared..that was almost 7 months ago now!! I am able to manage with tinted glasses because the sensitivity to light did improve a small bit after i was admitted to hospital but it has dragged out so long now i don’t know what to do.

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Bart March 26, 2012 at 9:24 am

15 – 20 minutes is the classic time frame for visual migraine. If possible … and it’s not always possible … find and then avoid your “trigger mechanism”. It can be any number of foods, additives, etc, or more often than not unidentifiable.

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ronald patterson October 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm

My wife has started having flashes of light in her left eye. No particular headache. I have read the above comments, and wonder if we need to see an Opthalmologist or a Neurologist? We have no insurance, but I’m fearful not do something. Any information as to the danger

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ANNE February 14, 2010 at 6:45 am

I get flashing lights in both my eyes which lasts for about 10 minutes and then about 15 min later a headache.

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Carol February 18, 2010 at 7:29 am

If you are having light flashes you need to see a retinal specialist immediately. I have had that and there is a chance you are having a retinal detachment. I have had detachments in both eyes and you really need a good eye doctor to detect this. Mine was caused by very bad nearsidedness. You usually do not get a headache with a detachment just light flashes.

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Cynthia March 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I began retinal migranes sans headaches several years ago while under a lot of stress. They were diagnosed and went away after several episodes. Years later when I began medication for cholesterol they came back with a vengence, like five a day. I changed meds and they started again. Doctors didn’t believe it was the statin drugs but I found several others online that had experienced same.

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frank May 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Statin drugs are a dangerous killer and a comlete scam.Avoid them at all costs

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yani rahman March 30, 2010 at 9:12 am

Nearly one month i notice a floater appeared on my left eye.it been bother me so much n recently my right eye appear flash of lights appear,due to financial problem n other medical problem left me frustrated and angry.WHAT SHOULD I DO?

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ann April 10, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hi I have suffered from migraine for the past ten years but usually get flashing zig zag lights over one eye no headache and this would only occur about three times per year. However for the past severn weeks I have had attacks 2-3 times per week and yesterday lost the vision in one eye completely for about an hour really scarey, have come up with the conclusion that I could be doing too much exercise any ideas any one ???????????

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Rachel April 19, 2010 at 6:43 am

I’ve been getting migraines for the last 12 years and been through every treatment available. I recently went back on daily tablets (sandomigran) and they have been great apart from the nightmares but i’d much prefer that to pain and vomiting. Last week i got my first ocular migraine and was freaked out. I was dizzy and pale and had loss of vision in my left eye. Lasted about 20 mins. 8 hours later i got another 1 and it was exactly the same. Saw the doctor today and he said my daily tablets should prevent any migraine and to take 1000mg of asprin under my tongue to relieve it faster. He also said if i have another 1 i need to get a head ct. Different things work for different people it’s best to work out options with your doctor.

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Holly May 6, 2010 at 9:19 am

I have suffered from Retinal Migarianes since I was a kid. I will see blind spots, zig-zags, and sometime go blind all together, all these thins in my right eye only. Once my vision comes back I have a massive migraine, adm sensitive to light and sound, and vomit. I was told the time would in between them would stretch as I got older, and they have. I had my first one in two years yesterday. Man did I forget how painful they are. I usually sleep them away, but after reading this am nervouse there may be a bigger problem.

The thing that confuses me is that I can’t find a specific migraine that covers all my symptoms. Any advice?

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Adele January 25, 2011 at 9:16 am

Your condition sounds similar to mine. However, I get the auras in both eyes and the blindness in only one. I get headaches sometimes, but they are never debilitating (I don’t vomit, feel nauseous, or anything). Because retinal migraines only feature vision loss and ocular migraines feature the zigzags, flashing lights, etcetera (I got this information from Mayo Clinic and other sites, so I believe this article is a bit off when it says that retinal migraines include the zigzags and whatnot), I’m wondering if I suffer from both retinal and ocular migraines. I see symptoms of both in your case as well.

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kirsty July 19, 2011 at 4:13 am

hi there, im 26 and neva had a migraine untill just ova a year ago. my first one i was curled up on floor felt sik as couldnt put head on pillow etc etc for 3 days. since then i have had a few episodes of what they call a migraine aura i have not seen anyone bout this yet to tell me if it is or not too scared to being only 26. but usually i dont even know its coming just all of a sudden i start loosing vision in one eye and then its all blurry cant see anything then within 15 mins the otha eye goes i literally cant see anything at all but these circles with fluorescent zig zagged edges to them , i cant walk anywhere cos i cant see and then i start to feel sik as dizzy and i will get my sight bak after 30-45mins but then about an hour later i get the headache but i dont always get the headache with it, Scares the hell outa me! dont really know what to do, i hate my eyes being touched and dont want someone prodding at them! any thoughts? could it be something serious?

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Bart March 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

If you’re on BCP’s, or a new type of BCP since this all started, I’d suggest getting off them. There’s a significant relationship between BCP’s and stroke in young women.

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rose August 11, 2010 at 6:00 am

hi
i woke up as usual and after doing a few household jobs washing floors etc i started to get kaleidoscope vision – colours and lights and faces looking unclear and lit up and muddled, it scared the heck out of me, my hubby took me to a and e and on the way there i had lost the left part of my visual field and could only read the right part of text ie signs and number plates. i had a ct scan and it was inconclusive but they noted low density to the back of my brain so i am waiting to have a mri scan – please help if you have had this – worry and stress is making me feel foggy and like i am not seeing as clearly as usual but i think this is mental due to being a worry worry pot. any tips x

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yvonne moore August 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm

I get the flashing lights in both eyes the silvery dot that gets bigger and moves across my vision always lasts 20 mins,
then if I inadvertently eat msg or aspartame I get brown shapes that block the vision in one eye only, lasts 5 mins , I always get a panic attack too and afterwards I feel very exhausted

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DonneeDarko December 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

I’m 61 years old and have never had a migraine or seen light flashes, though I have had floaters in my eyes periodically for many years. Two nights ago I started seeing flashes of light in my right eye followed immediately be a new and very big floater. I knew I should go see an ophthalmologist asap. Then in the middle of the night I was awakened by the worst headache I’d ever experienced, and it didn’t respond to ibuprofen. About an hour later, I developed persistent nausea and vomiting, even though my stomach was empty. First thing in the morning I called my doctor’s office and was advised to go to the ER to get a CT scan and rule out a neurological cause. Though the headache, which was centered above my right eye, and nausea persisted, the CT scan showed nothing unusual, and the subsequent eye exam also showed no retinal damage. In the ER I was treated with anti-nausea drugs, which worked. The only analgesics I can tolerate are nonsteroidal. I was given a shot, but the headache lasted most of the rest of the day. I just read that it takes at least 2 episodes to diagnose retinal migraine. I hope I don’t get a second one. But if I do, I now have antiinausea meds and potent analgesics that I can take myself. Incidentally, the light flashes have not stopped.

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Bart March 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

A CT is not the diagnostic imaging test of choice for possible vascular problems. You may speak w/ your doctor about an MRI or an MRA if you have a recurrence. In your instance I think the CT was a waste of time and money.

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Arnie January 10, 2011 at 3:21 am

I am 21 years old since i was a 2nd year highschool i was suffering headache. I have a sign if my head will aching as the side of my eyes my vision is blard, then after 5 minutes it will gone then my head will aching. Then also if my head is painful i will vomit many time. This happen until now. Do I have a migrane? or worst than it?..

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Adele January 25, 2011 at 9:09 am

First, I’d like to say that the symptoms listed on this page for retinal migraines are for both retinal migraines (which features vision loss in one eye) and ocular migraines (which features the flashing lights, zigzags, etc.). These are two different conditions. Retinal migraines do not feature the flashing lights and zigzags, only loss of vision. Here is some information on the differences between the two conditions from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ocular-migraine/AN01681

I was diagnosed with retinal migraines after waking up with blindness in one eye one night and being given a variety of tests at the ER, which included a CT scan, an eye exam, a cartoid artery exam, an EKG, and an ECHO (echocardiogram) – all of which turned up normal with the exception of the ECHO (which showed that I have a congenital heart condition unrelated to my migraines). I’m in my early 20s, but all of these tests were to ensure that the blindness was not from stroke, blood clots, etc. Since then, I have had about seven episodes. Two have featured completed loss of sight in one eye, while the remaining episodes featured vision loss in the upper half of my field of vision. For the most part I’m used to them now because I know it’s temporary, but I will never get used to the complete loss of vision in one eye. It has caused me extreme anxiety both times.

I have also had the auras for a few years (long before I experienced the blindness) in both eyes that were sometimes accompanied by headaches (though often not) and had no idea what they were. I thought everyone got them. As a result, I’ve never told doctors that I was experiencing this, even when I went to the ER for the blindness. Now I’m wondering if I suffer from ocular migraines as well, since retinal migraines only encompass symptoms related to vision temporary vision loss in one eye.

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James January 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Hi Adele,

Thanks for your comment, and the link. There actually may be “pattern” visual disturbances as well in retinal migraine. So why the differences between the article at the Mayo Clinic and this one?

You actually raise a very important issue about definitions and diagnosis. Important enough that I won’t discuss it at length here, but I’ll actually dedicate a post to it (this week, all going well).

The short answer is that there are differing views about how to diagnose so-called ocular and retinal migraine. And in actual fact, Dr. Robertson (the author of the Mayo Clinic article) and I don’t disagree as much as it might appear.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and bringing up some important issues. They’re worth talking about. I hope you can find some significant help in the weeks ahead – maybe we can help. :)

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Joyce January 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Hi Adele.
I woke up this morning blind in my right eye. It lasted under a minute and scared the p*ss out of me. Following the blindness I had 5 minutes of random pain around and behind my eye. Followed by my eye feeling sore and scratchy. Now I have a headache just above the cheekbone and still the scratchyness. I went to the dr and she said that my description was a text book description of a visual migraine. And she was happy I had booked myself an eye exam for later this afternoon.
So we will see what the eye doctor says.
I’m assuming you have researched a lot….have you found out much about what triggers them? My dr said I needed to pay attention to it. I’m wondering how long the trigger is in your body before you react to it?! Do you know?
I wonder about gluten or chocolate :( ( my dr mentioned chocolate) or just sugar in general…how do you figure this out?

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Sarah February 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I have been having migraines since 7th grade. They were terrible, just a little blind spot and then minor head ache for a few hours, until recently. First i get vision abnormalities. I cannot see the right side of whatever i am looking at or in my right side peripheral vision. This normally lasts twenty minutes then goes away. And about 15 minutes later i get an INTENSE migraine. I shake, get nauseus, hear ringing, and i become confused. For instance I have a hard time reading and forget how to spell words. Also sometimes when i talk my sentences wont make any sense. The pain is also on the right side of my head and towards the back. I have found that sitting still and icecream reduces the pain in my head a little. But when i stand up i black out and become VERY dizzy. I am also very irregular. after the migraine my head hurts when i move it for the next day and my stomach will be gassy. I am going to the doctors tomorrow, again, but i am afraid she will just tell me its my hormones and basically deal with it and send me on my way with medicine, that never seems to work. I just want any help for any relief!

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Thomas April 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I found out that the retinal migrianes i am getting are caused by annatto extract. Exactly 4 hours after i eat something with annatto in it bam starts with the vision then the headach. Try avoiding yellow cheese like american and cheddar. a lot of manufactured and processed things have it there to make things yellow. I bet if you avoid annatto you will watch your headaches disappear.

Want to test my theory? On a day you have no work and nothing to do eat a piece or 2 of cheddar that list annatto as the ingredient. then wait to see if you get a retinal headache. i can cause one everytime this way.

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mpt2222 June 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I have been experiencing similar episodes as described, to the point now where they occur monthly over the last year. I never have headaches, but lose complete or near complete vision in my left eye only, most often when lifting weights. Sometimes, i experience some sparkling sensations and others its more graying randomly throughout my field of vision until completely grayed. I’ve been through every test to rule out other causes (bloodwork, MRI/MRA, carotid ultrasound, CTA, multiple phycical eye examinations, etc.) with no likely issues found. It seems when no other cause is found, it’s easiest to just lump it into some form of rare migrane, but i get concerned since i don’t perfectly present the prototypical symptoms of any form of migrane. What else could cause this? Are there neurologists that specialize in these rare symptoms?

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kljny June 25, 2011 at 7:35 am

MPT2222- Wow! Reading your post, and i’d swear I wrote it! I had never experienced this phenomenon until this past december. I was actually at my doctor’s office when it happened. I have Multiple Sclerosis, so we felt that i may have been starting with a relapse. As I sat there totally blind in my left eye and extremely anxious, it left as quickly as it started. I had a bit of blurriness for a few hours, but then I was ok. My MS Neurologist feels that i had a retinal migraine, but it was the first time I had ever experienced it. I have since had 3 episodes. The most recent one was last night while I was driving my teenage daughter and 4 of her friends to a concert. I had to pull over, call my husband, and wait for him to meet up with us and take over the trip with girls. Scared the hell out of me!! I have seen an Opthamologist with all tests being negative for any damage in my eye (I see him yearly to monitor my optic nerve for any damage that my MS may cause). I have regular MRIs and except for what I normally expect to see, I have nothing happening to point to damage that would cause my brief blindness in my left eye. I have no headache at all with it….just a sensation in my face and of course….a bit on panic!

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mpt2222 June 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

My sister has MS, so that was my first concern when i first experienced a loss of vision in my left eye, but they ruled that out as a cause for me. My episodes only last a couple minutes…8-10 at most and there is no blurriness before or after. I really hope this is just a rare form of opthalmic migraine, but the fact that over the last year, it only occurs when doing strenuous weight lifting makes me worry about vascular causes. I was diagnosed with atherosclerosis presenting in my right carotid a couple years ago in my late 30′s, so i wonder if there is a relation.

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Vicki Murray June 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I have suffered from migraines since puberty. My headaches used to lay me out for several days but always started with a visual disturbance that I can only describe as “zig zags” in my right eye There was a time when I could logically associate my headaches around my menstrual cycles; however, I can no longer do that. When I was in high school, my mom scheduled me to see a doctor who ran the headache clinic at a major hospital in Pittsburgh. The doctor gave me a list of typical migraine triggers, and I could directly relate my headaches to either MSG or dark chocolate. Other food items on the list included any and all processed foods, navy, pinto and lima beans and cheese along with caffeine. So, essentially, my diet was limited to bland foods. Oh, citric acid was also on that list.

In 2004, I survived a massive stroke caused by a blood clot in my brain stem. I can no longer take the medication that really helped with my headaches. The generic name is “Midrin.” Now, my medicare won’t even cover Imitrex. It only covers meds that don’t work to the point where I may as well be taking tic-tacs. This is the first that I’ve read about Retinal migraines. I have had every scan under the sun regrading my head, but I also want to warn others that they are finding a correlation between strokes and migraines. Scary stuff.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Vicki Murray June 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Oh, and I am wondering if anybody’s hands feel like they have pins and needles in them during a migraine. To me, that is some scary stuff.

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Vivienne mansfield July 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

I first had a visual disturbance the zig zag lines blacked out spots in my vision 10 years ago after my 3rd baby my 1st attack my vision was affected on and off for about 6 hours and then for a few weeks after that I was getting them every week no headaches the doctor told me they were migraines they then stopped well I maybe got 1 or 2 a year but I did know what triggered them so avoided them that was until Easter this year.
I woke up on Easter Sunday and after about 10 mins I realised I couldn’t see the whole of my sons face it seemed to be affecting my left eye which confused me as it’s always affected my right eye I had the usual kaleidoscope effect for about 20 mins they always make me feel very scared but I’ve told myself to stay calm because it makes it worse if you panic that would normally be it for me but 4 hours later I had the whole visual effect in my left eye, my words wouldn’t come out right I was sick and I felt very cold and then the headache it knocked me off my feet for 3 days anyway to cut a long story short I’ve now had 4 attacks in 2 months the patten of my visual episode seems to be changing I did stop drinking tea and coffee about 4 months ago and I’ve joined the gym 2 months ago but I only swim so don’t really over do it, I’ve now become scared to death of my next attack

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Steven September 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

@Vivienne mansfield
Hi Vivienne,
Your symptoms sound simlar to what i had.
A neurologist specialising in migraines prescribed me beta-blockers to regulate the blood flow to the part (back) of the brain that controls your vision.
I am surprised that other people who have suffered from retinal migraine are not prescribed these as his theory how to control it seemed very logical
I only took them for 3 months.
The condition is now much better and I have not had an attack in nearly 1 year.
Hope this helps

Steven

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Vineet July 15, 2011 at 3:09 am

Hi,

I am getting severe eye pain twice a month on my left eye for the last 5 years.
It starts with a slight pain, increases in the next 2 hours, becomes unbearable and then goes away after around 10 hours. Sometimes I use paracetamol to reduce the pain. Met many eye specialists. Most of them told that it is due to eye dryness, tried many eye drops, with absolutely no difference in my disease. Kindly suggest the reason for this and any possible solution.

After going through many websites, I get the feeling that it is due to migraine, but I am not getting any vision problem when this attack happens. And other point is that the frequency is quite regular.. it happens once in every 2 weeks.

thanks and regards,
Vineet

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Bart March 26, 2012 at 9:33 am

Many migraine sufferers have severe headaches without visual disturbance, and even more have visual migraines without headaches, so your lack of visual phenomena doesn’t rule out migraine at all.

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Melissa April 4, 2012 at 7:50 am

Hi

I never used to get migraines until mid last year. At first they just start as normal headaches then the pain became more severe. First I got migraines with aura and now I’m getting the retinal migraine loss of sight and blurry eye. This is really stressing me out because I get the attacks upto 3 times a week. I work in a call centre and would like to cofirm if the headsets that we use might be a possible trigger.

If anyone knows please advise?

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Tyson Richard April 16, 2012 at 1:57 am

I’m 31, male, 6 foot 3.. I now weigh about 260… I play basketball 1 to 2 times a week so consistently.. I get these less now that I’ve changed my eating habits…. it seems. I started a running routine recently and dropped some weight. I thought I was done with these until the other night during basketball. same old symptoms, tiny hint of kelidascope vision that grows until I can barely see on one side usually the right, followed up by the headache that rules them all… I may have a helpful tip for fellow sufferers, and when I can begin to detect the colors in my vision, I take 4 200 mg ibuprofen right away.. this seems to either prevent or lesson the pain.. this may just be a coincidence though.. however if you are like me, and you will try anything once to prevent that pain.. when I eat msg, a headache always follow, but I can’t say that the vision problem happens when I have msg though.. I wish the doc’s would fix this or tell me it won’t kill me just learn to live with it

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Rajan May 6, 2012 at 5:20 am

HI Tyson, Vie vienne, mansfield, Melissa- I wud like to share the same feeling what you all have been experiencing so far. far
I’m male 29 single living with family. I have been suffering from migraine headache since childhood. I have experienced at least 3 times this year (2012) and the reason for my migraine headache is nothing but the cool stuff, whenever I have cold items- even a little amount that results in migraine immediately or the next day and it lasts 15 to 20 minutes. Another reason is the climate change, when winter comes I will get affected often due to chillness affect. Also when I touch cold things. All i have furnished here is true as i have experienced in my life so far and still. I am working in office which is air conditioned. when it comes to know some changes in my vision I’ll confirm the later headache then the rest of the day would be in a mess, I couldn’t do anything there after but the only plan to go home.
At the same time the vomiting sensation is the worst thing that I hate. I don’t know how to stop the effect of migraine headache though am going to gym and active all the time. I always aware in all situations to face migraine head ache. But I never tried yoga or meditation, I suppose It may cure. I rarely eat cold things nowadays and get protected myself from the Zig Zag, kaleidoscope matters what the doctors call as migraine headache. Has anyone faced like me kindly post.

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Moemoe May 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

I’m 16 years old and for the past month I’ve been getting these horrible headaches right in my left temple. And along with the headache I can’t see out of the corner of my eye because it’s all white like someones shining a really bright light. I usually take about 3 ibuprofen or so and it usually goes away about an hour later or so. Is that normal for a headache or migraine? (I don’t really like to use the word migraine because I don’t want to overexagerate if it’s just a headache)

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kyle May 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

So I randomly will be sitting and all of a sudden vision gets white in one eye the moves to the other and experience temp blindness and follows with a sever headache and its been happening.g this whole week if someone could help me out that would be great and lately have had a really bad diet like eating nothing

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Rajan May 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

Hi Kyle! Thanks for your mail.
You are identical somewhat with me. I would suggest you to avoid cold stuffs, Have water with little warm, Avoid Egg, Non-Veg during Night time. Don’t ever leave your hands or wash your face in the cold water. Do it in the normal water during the day time.
Do exercise regularly that must result with sweat.
If you are in Europe or western part then protect yourself from cold conditions. According to your age, if you are below 35 or 40 try above said things, However you need to consult an ophthalmologists and get their advises. Please let me know how you feel after doing these things.
Thanks
Rajan

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sankar July 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm

i am suffering from headache and my one side eye power decreased means not vision clear what are the reason may be occurred help me

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Aditya July 17, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hiii i m Aditya,,, i usually face a problem at every 2-4 months interval in which vision of my one eye starts diminishing with blurring effects which may continue upto both eyes, an approx half an hour it is followed by a painful headache , moreover if i ate something there will be a vomiting but this vomiting relieves the problem after 3 hours sleep.
Kindly tell me what kind of food/diet i should to prevent it , my email id is [email protected]

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Gem August 8, 2012 at 7:44 am

Hi
I’m only 15 but i suffer from similar things listed on this page. It starts with blurry vision, sometimes in just one eye but soon becomes both. Then both my eyes seem to go fuzzy and i can’t see unless i focus really hard on something which just gives me headache. After then i get a really bad migraine and the only way i can get rid of it is usually sleeping. I do freestyle dance which is very energetic and i can feel like this after dancing for two hours or walking a mile to my lesson, dancing for around half an hour and then walking the same distance back. Do i need to see a doctor?

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James August 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Yes, Gem, I would encourage you to see a doctor right away, if you haven’t seen one for these headaches/symptoms before. If possible, get to a doctor who has experience with migraine.

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Anita August 26, 2012 at 12:52 am

Dear Kyle,
I am very feared because I am worried about my eye sight, I lost my left eye sight in the age of 12 years and now I am 26 years old and still there is no resolution to my eye sight and there is big white scar in my eye and it is completely blind and I have to use lenses to cover it and because of it i left my study after MSC because further study was very tough.Please Please suggest me any way So that I can get back my eye sight and also please send me any Doctors contacts in India so that it can be covered.
Please I am requesting to you and i will be great thankful to you.
Please help me
Please call me also at 00918146672456

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Rajan September 1, 2012 at 10:55 am

HI Anita!
It’s great that you have completed MSC with the loss of one of the eye sight and trying to do further. I really appreciate. Don’t you have friends’ support? Keep confident you’ll definitely get your eye sight soon.
Believe me
Trust in GOD.
Thanks
Rajan

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Aditya September 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Hiii friends , this is aditya here , i also suffer”s many Retinal Migraine Attacks earlier , just wants to share that , as here v r talking about Retinal Migraine pain , the most simple way of avoiding it is to ” Remove Stress from ur Mind ” this is the basic keyyy ,,,, this is guided to me by Rajan ,, i implement n it works ,,, just try to calm down ur mind , by doing things u like the most , as i like drawings it makes me feel silent , relaxed , i m keeping my my mind relaxed n i have no attack till nowww ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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Brian September 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Hello all, within the past month I’ve had 2 episodes when my vision suddenly got blurry, real hard to focus if at all. It started like looking through glass and colors vibrating/zigzagging more prominent on the left eye. The first time it occurred the left totally black and couldn’t see anything, the 2nd time just had the vibrating/zigzagging stage but didnt go dark, but in both eyes. After the first I had slight start of a headache but it was very mild. The second, just had a pressure behind both eyes, I work on a computer all day, wonder if it could be triggering it. Also been noticing an occasional white haze for several months. Could this be a retinal migrane even if I don’t have severe migrane ? Who should I see for this, a neurologist or ophthalmologist? Thank you
Brian

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Steven September 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

Hi Brian,
Sounds very similar to my experiences.
At first my headaches were very mild but the “visual effects” were very active.
I wouldnt bother with a opthalmologist. I spent 3 days doing test with them (NHS) and they had no idea what was wrong with me.
5 minutes with a (private) neurologist and he diagnosed me with retinal migraine. I went for an MRI to be sure it wasnt anything else.(I thought I had a brain tumor, embolysm or something really bad)
He prescribed me some very mild beta blockers to regulate the blood flow to that part of the brain (at the back of the head) and after suffering really badly for over a week, this worked a treat and the retinal migraines stopped immediatley….. I have stopped taking them a few times and the syptoms sometimes come back after a day, sometimes after a week….. guess I will always have to take them but they are so mild Im not too bothered.
You may not find out what triggers it, , I doubt its working on a computer…. more likely cafeine or and additive in something you are eating.
Hope this helps.
Cheers

Steven

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Rajan September 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

HI Brian!

I would like to have some words with you. Also see my case if anything that suits you for the cause of the migraine.
Let me clear one thing here. The food we intake is converted into blood by the process and circulated or distributed all over the parts of the body. The blood contains proteins, sugar, cells,etc.,
Each cell needs sugar and glucose to supply energy. many of you might have known these basics, however what am trying to say is, In your body which part is getting too much of work load will consume more amount of energy. However it might not the reason for the people who are all suffering with migraine, because the field of work may different. So the point is the same kind of deficiency in blood that people facing here including myself. I would say blood is the main source of function and malfunction of the parts and organs in human. So it’s not the problem with eye. it’s the problem persisting with your blood. Follow proper diet, consume fruits and vegetables spices, spinach, sprouts etc., these food consumes less energy for digestion and saves lot of energy being wasted- means stores and supply energy to your body and keeps you active all the time.(Know eating techniques) Non veg. needs more energy to burn or digest so there will be lack of energy. Please note that if your eye got a problem then the cause should be lack of glucose.
If the problem sustains then you have been missing some ingredients in your blood that is affecting your eye for a long time or sometimes within short period.

Now the important point you have to note is. Keep tracking of your activity, diet, mental and physical behavior, medication etc., before the occurrence (migraine). I am confident you will find out the source for the problem. Once you find out, keep on tracking again until next time. this time the cause might be different. Doing these check up’s yourself you will be able to find out the reason- if you people really want to get rid off this migraine you should fight against and that’s the possible way.
At any point don’t get panic. Being panic, diseases would enter in your body easily. Be strong and face anything after all we are human being.
I regret if you find any false information here.
Think and act positive.

Take care
Rajan

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Aditya September 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Thats a great guidence ,,, Rajan for peoples who gets panic n loose hope ,,,,,
” it means that the blood that reaches to our cells is the basic cause n can be maintained by taking a good proper nutritious diet” ,,,
thanku Rajan

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Brian September 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Thanks! Steven for your help, that sure helps me in not wasting time and money with an opthalmologist and knowing I’m not the only one thats experienced this, I’ll go to a neurologist first.

Thanks! Rajan, you’re right about the blood, “the life of the flesh is in the blood”. I strive to make heathy food choices but I still have A lot room for improvements. Ive been dealing with fatigue, and recently started on some Monster drinks, not a lot but maybe too much caffeine could be triggering this, I’m not saying this is caused it, but I think caffeine is an inflammatory. Im fairly confident that the root problem is from lyme Diease I contracted in 2007, for about a year up to 2 weeks ago I’ve been increasingly getting more fatigued,more brain fogged, muscle, bone, joint pain,etc….time doesn’t permit to list all, and when these sudden vision problems started to occur my body was racked with pain. I couldn’t get doctors to treat me for Lyme again (or even check), i’ve started treating myself with holistic herbal approach targeting Lyme Diease, and in 2weeks I’m feeling better and even able to some good outddoor physical labor in the yard, which I haven’t been able to do before for a while. And It appears the vision issues are improving, but too early to tell, but I do know that I haven’t had a vision episode like the first time of entirely loosing my vision and seeing only black in left eye.

Thanks to all
Brian

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Kevin September 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I have been getting what I have been told is ocular migraines. They used to affect me only a couple times a year, but now they are much more frequent. What happens is both of my eyes white out and I can only see an outline of any object around me. I get very dizzy, very short of breath, and I get a terrible pain in my lower neck and then it feels like I have an extra weight hanging from my head, making it hard to hold my head up. I have also had numbness in my arms and hands while this is happening. The last time I had this happen, I actually passed out for approximately and hour. I had an MRI and a CT scan, but neither showed any abnormalities. I have been put on a couple drugs to try to help with the issue, but they do not seem to help at all. My question is: has anyone else had these type of symptoms and what was done to help with the issues? Thanks.

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Thiyagarajan October 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

HI Kevin. It seems that we are all in the same boat!
No worries as the checkup showed that you are normal.
Go through this artticle which explains the problem well and also remedies – http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/ocular-migraine.htm.

‘It appears migraines are triggered by activation of a mechanism deep in the brain, which releases inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head and brain. But why this happens and what brings about the spontaneous resolution of an ocular migraine remain unknown’.
- a para from the site.

Ok. Everything will be fine. Now take initiative for the prevention of migraine. Check your food habits everyday to find the causes for your headache and also your living condition.
Note: Eating technique -Close your mouth, Chew properly your food intake and make it as fluid and swallow so that the minerals, vitamins and proteins will reach your blood completely and that will cure all your problem.

I was suffering from migraine since my childhood and I was not aware but later when i grew up I understand why it comes to me and what should I do for prevention. (Please check my first posting here for better understanding my issues over migraine). I have the tendency now to avoid migraine which means I can control now.
I had faced migraine head ache twice a month mostly, Now I reduced it myself by only once in three months or four,

The thing you have to do right now is treat yourself as a doctor for some time and find the causes that lead to your headache. Because you only know about your health conditions and habits well.So,no looking back, we should advance the next stage for remedies.

Everyone has the capability to avoid their health related issues by taking care and giving respect to the health. By doing so we see God in ourselves.
I regret for too much of lectures.

Thanks
Thiyagarajan

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Chris December 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

I just had one of these yesterday and have had them over the years and I had to go home yesterday cause I can’t see when happens so I can’t drive. The headaches are horrible and it feels like I am trying to look through water on the backside of a waterfall very blinded by this.

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Melanie November 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Have you ever considered medical marijuana? It’s worth a shot anyways compared to all these awful pills.

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Alyssa December 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm

I today at work (as a cashier) I had a rainbow like ray that made it where It blocked my vision for 45 minutes, then after I lost my peripheral vision for a good hour in my right eye. I have had a migraine all day long and im sick to my stomach every sense I have also been very dizzy. does this sound like retinal migraine?

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