The sense of sight is a very powerful tool to see the world. Through the eyes, one can perceive different things, ideas, and features, and even cultures for that matter. The eyes help us make sense of the world around us, even transforming thoughts into reality.
Remember how the first sight of something new or attractive made you glow with wonder. Do you remember the first time you saw something spectacular like a huge waterfall…or a bright rainbow after the rain? Our eyes are the gateways to beauty and splendor.
But the gift of sight is not enjoyed y everyone. Even people who are not clinically blind yet have certain impairments can lose a lot of the visual information that can be found around us. Some people with visual impairments get blurred vision, and much worse, visual migraine. A certain condition that deals with altered vision is called visual migraine. There is temporary visual disturbance caused by a vascular spasm in the brain, usually accompanied by headache. This so-called vascular spasm occurs when there is a decrease of blood flow to the “occipital cortex”, or the part of the brain related to vision.
Symptoms of visual migraine may include seeing a “shimmering light”, distorted or blurred vision, pulsating and flashing lights, among others. The headache experienced with this kind of migraine can be very painful and debilitating. Nausea and vomiting are also experienced during a visual migraine attack. A typical episode of visual migraine lasts for fifteen to twenty minutes, then fades away. Fatigue is the common after effect of this kind of migraine.
Symptoms of headaches related to the eyes are as follows: burning eyes, fatigue, migraine, sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia), nausea and vomiting, visual aura (certain visuals when a person is under visual migraine), throbbing pain, and headaches that begin after extensive use of the eyes, which usually happens after reading, using the computer, or watching television.
Visual migraine is usually caused by stress and prolonged periods of exposure to bright lights. Using the eyes in a stressful manner or in any stressful activity may result in such condition. The use of eyeglasses can sometimes strain the person’s eyes and may give headaches. Sometimes, headaches are felt if the person experiences sinus conditions, allergies, tumors, hypertension or hormonal changes, not really related to one’s eyesight.
There are three major types of visual disturbances when experiencing visual migraine. Being tired and stressed causes a formation of an irregular polygon of “nothingness” which is usually experienced following the headaches. The size of the circle of “nothingness” grows as time passes (for about half an hour), then disappears. Another type would also be associated to visual processing. This time, colors are seen but with irregular waves and distorted images. The last type is quite different. It occurs with patterns that are triggered by relaxation, and can quickly lead to a sense of unreality by somewhat getting a 3-D image from what the person already sees.
If visual migraines are to be discussed further, it is factual to know another type of disorder related to visual migraine. Although rare, retinal migraine is also associated to the vascular spasm in which results in full loss of vision. This rare form of migraine causes total blindness in any of the eyes, and usually lasts less than an hour, also with recurring headaches. The headache may occur before or after this attack of retinal migraine. Having visual migraine or even retinal migraine can be disturbing for most people. Proper treatment of these said disorders may help in dealing with such apparitions, or even visual loss (retinal migraine).