How to Get Rid of a Visual Migraine

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.

A patient with a visual migraine may see flashing lights. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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 MayoClinic.com.

Things You'll Need

  • Cold compress

  • Medication, over-the-counter or prescription

Tip

Avoid migraine triggers including chocolate, cheese, dairy, baked goods, certain fruits, nuts, onions, peanut butter and processed or marinated foods. Smoke, odors, bright lights, stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits or allergies may trigger or exacerbate symptoms.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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