The aura stage, or “light show” as many sufferers call it, usually follows the onset. This stage affects more than just the focal point of your vision. You might see something that looks like a lightning bolt moving about in your peripheral and central vision. Some people compare this stage of an ocular migraine to looking through a kaleidoscope. Everything appears very fluid, and you can become quite disoriented. Retinal detachment displays similar “light shows,” only these types of light flashes typically last for only a split second and come in flurry form, rather than kaleidoscope form.
The causes of ocular migraines differ from person to person, and sometimes they are just unexplainable. Some say chocolate or caffeine triggers them, while others believe stress and certain medications are a factor. Still, other sufferers say they experience ocular migraines randomly. Once an ocular migraine has begun, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to stop. The migraine aura typically disappears in about 30 to 40 minutes, and headaches (if you get them) come about 10 to 15 minutes after the aura stage.
My advice to those who suffer from ocular migraines is to just relax and enjoy the show. The more relaxed you can be, the better the odds are that you won’t bring on a stress-induced headache—a common side effect—when the show is over.
Other than that, just be aware of what’s happening and be sure to contact your primary care physician or eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the symptoms above.
This is a guest article by Matthew Alpert, O.D., who is the lead optometrist at Alpert Vision Care in Woodland Hills, CA.
Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.