How Migraines Affect Your Vision
How Migraines Affect Your Vision
Migraines aren’t your typical headaches. In the U.S. alone, 38 million people suffer from migraines. A migraine involves unique symptoms, including headache, but also limb numbness, nausea, vomiting and affected vision. These key symptoms - especially regarding vision - make migraines more painful than a regular headache.
Today, we’ll discuss how migraines affect vision. Many migraine sufferers report a range of vision symptoms, from light sensitivity to blurred vision. Let’s look at how migraines affect vision and what you can expect during your next migraine.
Vision symptoms of Migraine
During a migraine, you may feel extreme sensitivity to light and sound. In addition, these symptoms may be more severe, including:
● Flashes of light
● Blind spots
● Wavy, blurry or affected vision
● Seeing shapes
● Vision loss
These are typical vision symptoms for a migraine. However, you should seek emergency medical attention if your headache is severe or accompanied by fever, confusion or trouble speaking.
Why this happens
Much is still unknown about migraines. While 1 in 4 people suffer from aura, including visual aura, the mechanics of why isn’t yet clear. Researchers believe that migraines affect nerve pathways and may change your chemical balances. Specifically, they think the trigeminal nerve is involved. Some are even studying whether the chemical serotonin is part of migraines, since these levels drop during attacks and affect your trigeminal nerve.
Even though the role of the trigeminal nerve in migraines isn’t yet confirmed, doctors know that there are many triggers for vision symptoms during migraines. There are five many areas that can trigger visual symptoms:
● Hormonal triggers: Imbalances in the body, especially in levels of estrogen and progesterone, may cause migraine symptoms. In particular, this may happen before menstruation, during pregnancy, menopause or while using oral contraceptives.
● Emotional triggers: New studies suggest that stress and anxiety may trigger migraines and symptoms. This may be brought on by chemical changes related to stress and anxiety - especially serotonin, which is involved in managing stress.
● Physical triggers: Feeling tired or fatigued, or having low blood sugar may also trigger migraines.
● Dietary triggers: Skipping meals, being dehydrated or eating tyramine-high foods may also trigger migraines.
● Environmental triggers: Environmental triggers are especially important for vision symptoms. Triggers such as bright lights or loud noises, including computer screens, may also affect your vision and migraines.
How to prevent migraines and vision symptoms
There are a few things you can do to prevent migraines and reduce your vision symptoms. First of all, try to avoid the migraine triggers mentioned above. In particular, if you want to prevent vision symptoms, you should:
● Quit smoking: Smoking can make your migraine symptoms worse and weaken your body in general.
● Consider changing oral contraceptives: Hormonal imbalances can really make your migraines more frequent. To better regulate your hormones, you can reduce estrogen levels by changing from oral contraceptives.
● Exercise regularly: Regular exercise is good for keeping your body tension-free. It can also help you get to sleep at night, which is a major factor in chemical balances.
● Stay hydrated: Migraines may also be triggered by dehydration. Make sure you’re drinking enough water during the day. Eight glasses of eight ounces should do the trick.
● Get good sleep: Creating a sleep routine is also a good way to keep your body in balance and avoid triggers related to fatigue and hormonal imbalances.
● Eat right: Fill up your plate with fruits and veggies, and cut back on processed foods if you want to avoid dietary triggers. You should also eat regular meals.
You know best what triggers to avoid in order to prevent migraines. In addition to stopping a migraine before it even starts, you should follow these visual-specific tips:
● Try tinted glasses: If you struggle with visual symptoms during a migraine, you may benefit from using tinted glasses. These glasses can be used while you work at your computer or watch some kind of screen. They help limit visual stimuli during everyday activities.
● Keep a journal: It’s essential that you find out what triggers your migraines. If you’re not yet sure of what’s causing them, keep a migraine journal that includes food, drink, activities and feelings leading up to your migraine. This may help you better understand your migraines and help prevent them.
● Work smart: Be sure you’re taking breaks from screens during the day. In this modern age, we’re more connected to our phones, tablets and computers more than ever. Whether you’re at your desk or reading from your phone at night, be smart about it. Take breaks from screens and find ways to create a comfortable workspace with low to moderate lighting and the right temperature.
● Stay relaxed: Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Try to keep a stress-free routine or ways to calm down during the day if you’re starting to feel anxious. Sign up for a yoga class during the afternoon or set alarms during the day to stand up and take a break.
● See a chiropractor: It’s also a good idea to see a chiropractor, since a professional chiropractic clinic can offer services to relax your muscles, adjust any imbalances and create a stress reduction plan. This may be a big help to prevent migraines and the vision symptoms that come with it.
By following these migraine tips, you’ll be sure to keep your vision symptoms down! Avoid visual migraine triggers - especially factors such as light and noise - and take back control of your migraines by creating the best possible environment for preventing them.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, the ultimate Anchorage chiropractor near you.
He became passionate about being a chiropractor after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.