Do You Have Migraine Eye Symptoms? - Axon Optics

Do You Have Migraine Eye Symptoms?

migraine aura eye pain
Shirley Williams, “Visual Migraine: The Jagged Edge”, 2001. © 2001 National Headache Foundation

Migraine Eye Symptoms

Because migraine is a neurologic disease and not just a “headache”, it can have a variety of symptoms other than head pain. Visual disturbances and eye pain are two common ocular examples of migraine eye symptoms.

1) Aura

About 1/3rd of people  with migraine experience a visual disturbance or “aura” that precedes their headache. A typical migraine aura lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. As the visual disturbance recedes, the headache typically begins. Migraine aura can take on a number of forms. Many who experience aura describe flashing lights, blind spots that expand and migrate across the visual field, zig-zag lines that scintillate and obscure portions of the visual field, “heat waves”, spots and dots, prisms, or broken glass. Here are a couple of examples from the internet. The jagged edges in this example is typical:

This migraine eye symptom is thought to originate in the visual cortex, the part of the brain responsible for vision. The eye itself is usually not the source of the aura and most migraine sufferers will report that the aura is visible even with their eyes closed. While most migraineurs do not experience aura in association with their headaches, a minority of migraineurs, especially later in life, experience migraine auras, but no headache.

2) Eye Pain

The nerve that is responsible for the pain associated with migraine is the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve, or fifth nerve, is one of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves – nerves that project directly out of the base of the brain (the brainstem) instead of projecting out of the spinal cord. This nerve also supplies sensation to the eye and eye socket, so it’s not surprising that some migraine sufferers experience eye pain or eye socket pain as part of their migraine eye symptoms.

Learn more about Light Sensitivity and Migraines.

3 thoughts on “Do You Have Migraine Eye Symptoms?

  1. Mark Bellamy says:

    I’ve started having regular aura migraines when I look at monitors with white backgrounds for too long. I adjusted my monitor to show white as a chrome white but I still get the aura after awhile. I considered indoor sunglasses for when I get the blurs so they’ll go away. Anyone have any advice….from what I read you don’t want to wear sunglasses indoors as it messes up your iris response to bright light.

  2. Sandy D says:

    Couple of ideas for you: try changing the brightness or contrast of your monitor — I personally have the brightness on 90% and contrast on 75%, which helped reduce the aural migraines and eye strain, but I noticed a huge difference once I got into a more natural light setting by a window. Before that change (and since not everyone can be by a window), I convinced my boss to purchase the fluorescent lights that give off more natural lighting. That helped quite a bit as well.

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