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Ocular Migraine


An ocular migraine is a temporary vision disturbance in both eyes. You may also have a headache during or after the disturbance. The cause of an ocular migraine is not known. An ocular migraine that happens in only 1 eye is called a retinal migraine.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your symptoms do not go away after 1 hour.

Call your doctor or neurologist if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


Some medicines may only be given while you are in the emergency department. You may also need medicines later to prevent or stop migraines or other symptoms:

  • Migraine medicines are used to help prevent or stop a migraine.
  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting. This medicine can also help relieve pain.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage ocular migraines:

  • Rest in a dark, quiet room. This will keep your symptoms from getting worse. Do not look at a computer screen. Sleep may help relieve any headache pain.
  • Apply ice if you have headache pain. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your head. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.
  • Apply heat if you have pain or muscle spasms. Use a small towel dampened with warm water or a heating pad, or sit in a warm bath. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours. You may alternate heat and ice.
  • Keep a symptom record. Write down when your ocular migraines start and stop. Include your symptoms and what you were doing when it began. Record what you ate or drank for 24 hours before the migraine started. Keep track of what you did to treat your migraine and if it worked. Bring the symptom record with you to visits with your healthcare provider.

Prevent ocular migraines:

  • Prevent a medicine overuse headache. If you have migraine headaches, medicines may be used to prevent or stop them. Take these medicines only as long as directed. A medicine may be limited to a certain amount each month. Your healthcare provider can help you create a plan so you get a safe amount each month.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can trigger a migraine or make it worse. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity, such as exercise, can help prevent a migraine or other symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days.
    Hispanic Family Walking for Exercise
  • Manage stress. Stress may trigger a migraine or other symptoms. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing.
  • Create a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same times each day. Do not watch television before bed.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Include healthy foods such as include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Do not have food or drinks that trigger your migraines.
    Healthy Foods
  • Prevent dehydration. Dehydration can trigger a migraine. You may need to drink more liquid during the day. Your healthcare provider can tell you how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Follow up with your doctor or neurologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Ocular Migraine (Aftercare Instructions)

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.