An ocular migraine is the medical term used when a person experiences a visual aura. An aura is a perceptual disturbance where the person sees flickering lights, zig-zag lights, spots and sometimes a dimming of vision. This visual disturbance is usually short in duration and many times, precedes a migraine. Ocular migraines usually occur in both eyes simultaneously, and this is what differentiates them from a more serious condition such as retinal detachment, where flashes of light are seen out of one eye only.
Ocular migraines are difficult to predict. The triggering cause is not completely understood, but seems to be caused by migraine activity in the visual cortex of the brain. While these symptoms are usually short in duration, the person who suffers from ocular migraines should stop any activity which requires good vision (i.e. driving, sports, etc.) until the eye returns to normal. Sometimes this type of migraine provides a warning that a painful migraine headache is coming soon, and alerts the person to take migraine medication. Consult your eye doctor if you have unusual visual symptoms to ensure it is not something more serious.
Dr. Carney is available for all your eye care needs by appointment at Welch/Wallace Laser Center by calling (318) 448-0221.