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How to Get Rid of a Visual Migraine

author image Marcy Brinkley
Marcy Brinkley has been writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Chicken Soup for the Soul," "Texas Health Law Reporter" and the "State Bar of Texas Health Law Section Report." Her degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; a Master of Business Administration; and a Doctor of Jurisprudence.
How to Get Rid of a Visual Migraine
A patient with a visual migraine may see flashing lights. Photo Credit: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Visual migraines, also called ocular migraines or auras without headache, cause temporary blindness or restricted vision, flashing lights and other visual disturbances, according to the National Headache Foundation. Other symptoms include confusion, numbness, mood changes, amnesia and vomiting, according to Robert S. Kunkel, M.D., in an article published in the June 2005 issue of the “Cleveland Journal of Medicine.” Most patients experience attacks infrequently and do not have pain. Treatment includes comfort measures, medication and avoidance of migraine triggers.

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Step 1

Close your eyes until the visual disturbances fade. If possible, lie down in a dark room or cover your eyes with a towel to block out all light. If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop your car. Activity, lights, noise or stress may exacerbate the symptoms.

Step 2

Use over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, if you experience discomfort. Many visual migraine sufferers do not experience pain, however.

Step 3

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Step 4

Try biofeedback, yoga or meditation to promote relaxation.

Step 5

Take prescription medications if you and your health care provider agree. Several fast-acting prescription medications may be effective in shortening visual migraines, including isoproterenol, meclofenamate, naproxen or nitroglycerin, according to Robert S. Kunkel, M.D., in an article published in the June 2005 issue of the “Cleveland Journal of Medicine.”

Step 6

Avoid taking medications prescribed for other types of migraines. Triptans do not act quickly enough and may not be effective.

Step 7

Try preventive medications if you have frequent visual migraines. Your health care provider may prescribe calcium channel blockers, including verapamil, or anti-seizure medications, such as valproic acid, gabapentin or topiramate, to reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms of visual migraines.

Step 8

Contact your health care provider if you lose vision in only one eye. You may have an underlying medical condition or detached retina, according to

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