An ocular migraine occurs when blood flow to the eye is constricted by the tightening of surrounding blood vessels. This can cause temporary vision loss and distortion, and pain similar to a headache. The symptoms usually go away after 5 minutes and the sufferer can then resume daily activities. Some sufferers of ocular migraines fear that their pain is due to an ischaemic stroke which is caused by restricted blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Is there really an ocular migraine stroke?
While an ocular migraine is very painful and inconvenient, it is not as life-threatening as a stroke. There are a few notable differences in symptoms between having a stroke and having an ocular migraine. When you’re having a stroke, there can be a distinct change in the five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and feel). You could experience sudden memory loss and confusion, or even be unable to recognize the faces of people you know. Strokes can also cause the sufferer to have slurred speech and be unable to walk in a straight line. If any of these symptoms start happening, you need to seek medical attention immediately and if possible, you should search for an ocular migraine treatment and brief review here.
Ocular Migraine Stroke, Risks and Symptoms
Those who are used to having frequent migraines know the symptoms of an oncoming migraine as an “aura”. The aura is the signal to the sufferer that a migraine will be attacking shortly. For some, the aura is seeing spots or blotches in your vision. This change in vision can be wrongly interpreted as ocular migraine stroke symptoms as it’s common to experience the same vision impairment among other symptoms during a stroke. However, since everyone is so different it is difficult to say what a standard aura feels like. Most can agree that if your aura lasts longer than an hour without the migraine landing, then that could possibly be a symptom of stroke and you should seek medical guidance.
The best way to know if your ocular migraine is actually a stroke is to be familiar with what your migraines are typically like. You can do this by keeping a migraine log describing the aura, symptoms, and length of each migraine you have and any triggers that might have caused it. When you are familiar with the routine of your ocular migraines, the smallest difference can be a sign that something more serious is happening. Be aware of the aura and symptoms you consistently have. If a new symptom starts happening, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor.
If you go to your doctor and explain that you are experiencing new symptoms, they will likely want to run some tests. Doctors and migraine specialists run tests on your brain and functioning to confirm that your migraine was in fact just a migraine. By looking at the brain (and your eyes if it was an ocular migraine) they can see if there is damage from a stroke. It’s always better to be on the side of caution when dealing with migraine pain and brain-related symptoms and therapy(1).
The next time your migraine feels like your having an ocular migraine stroke, now you’ll know the differences between the two. If you notice a change for the worst in your ocular migraines, or you start experiences stroke symptoms when you don’t normally have migraines, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
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