Opthalmic migraine

Opthalmic migraine (or ophthalmic migraine) is a description of a certain type of what is also called an eye migraine. When you're diagnosed with opthalmic migraine, you're actually using a classification which is not standard. The International Headache Society

has standard classifications of headache and migraine that more and more doctors are using. This is why it's often hard to find information on various so-called migraines names.

What is it?

Opthalmic, relating to the eye, usually describes the visual aura that many people get with a migraine attack.  This could be seeing zig zags or geometric shapes, or strange flashing lights (more on migraine aura here).  These symptoms don't always come with migraine (most of the time they don't), but they're still very common.

Sometimes these symptoms are followed by a headache.  Some people may call the migraine aura part of the attack opthalmic migraine, but it's really just aura.  Prodrome is the name for the early stages of migraine that last longer - up to a day or two.  Aura usually only lasts a few minutes.

More commonly, the term is used to describe migraine aura without headache.  This is, obviously, when you have a migraine attack with no headache - also not that unusual.  This version of opthalmic migraine has been most often called silent migraine.

How do I know if I have it?

The type of aura people get, even just the visual symptoms, can be totally different from person to person.  Your doctor will probably want to rule out other causes.  You may be referred to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to rule out eye disease.  Other tests may need to be taken, depending on what your symptoms are.  Diagnosing migraine, especially migraine aura without headache, often involves ruling out other diseases and disorders.  Once you know what you have you can get on with treatment.  (Read about various symptoms falling under the term of eye migraine)

Treating opthalmic migraine

If your opthalmic migraine is actually a migraine aura with headache, there are a variety of treatments available. It partly depends on how severe the aura is, and how severe the headache and other symptoms are. You can check around this site to learn about migraine medication, herbs for migraine and headache, home remedies and much more.

More commonly, your doctor is specifically referring to migraine aura without headache. In this case, it's a question of how severe the symptoms are. In the best case scenario, the symptoms are rare and not too severe, you can get away without any medication at all. If you do feel you need medication (sometimes these symptoms can be pretty disturbing, and interfere with life considerably), there are a number of good options. You can read about them in this article, a better introduction to migraine aura without headache (or silent migraine).

Read one description of opthalmic migraine here.

Read an overview of the cause of migraine here, with links to more information.

You can read the International Headache Society migraine classifications online. Visit the headache classification page, and check the menu on the left.

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