Can migraines affect vision?

Migraines can be debilitating, causing intense headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. But did you know that migraines can also affect your vision? In this article, we'll take a closer look at how migraines can affect your vision, the different types of visual disturbances that can occur during a migraine attack, and what you can do to manage them.

What Causes Migraine-Related Visual Disturbances?

Migraine-related visual disturbances, also known as auras, are caused by changes in the blood flow to the brain. During a migraine attack, the blood vessels in the brain constrict, reducing blood flow to certain areas of the brain. This can cause a variety of visual symptoms, including blind spots, bright flashes of light, and even temporary vision loss.

What are the Different Types of Visual Disturbances?

Please see our list of some below

  • -Aura: visual disturbances that occur before or during a migraine attack, often described as "flashing lights," "zigzag lines," or "blind spots."
  • -Photophobia: sensitivity to light, which can be a symptom of migraine or an aura.
  • -Scotoma: a blind spot or area of reduced vision in the field of vision.
  • -Blurred vision: a temporary loss of sharpness in the visual field.
  • -Diplopia: double vision.
  • -Temporary visual loss: temporary blindness or loss of vision in one or both eyes.
  • -Visual hallucinations: seeing things that aren't actually there.
  • -Visual snow: seeing tiny flickering dots or static in the visual field.
  • -Afterimages: seeing a "ghost" image of an object after it is no longer present in the visual field.
  • -Chromatopsia: seeing colors differently, or seeing colors where there should be none.
  • -Ophthalmoplegic migraine: a rare type of migraine that causes temporary paralysis of the eye muscles, resulting in double vision or drooping of the eyelid.
  • Fortification spectra: Seeing geometric patterns, such as zigzag lines, that can resemble the fortifications of a castle or the walls of a city.
  • Scotoma scintillans: Seeing flickering or flashing lights within a scotoma.
  • Visual aura without headache: A rare condition in which a person experiences visual auras without the accompanying headache or other symptoms of migraine.
  • Visual field defects: Temporary loss of vision or blind spots in specific areas of the visual field, usually in one eye.
  • Visual migraine: A migraine attack characterized mainly by visual disturbances, without or with little headache.

What Can You Do to Manage Migraine-Related Visual Disturbances?

-Avoid triggers: Keeping a migraine diary can help you identify your triggers. Common triggers include stress, certain foods, and certain types of weather.
-Preventive medications: Some people with migraines benefit from taking preventive medications to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks eg Riboflavin supplements
-Pain relief medications: Pain relief medications can help to reduce the intensity of a migraine attack and make the visual disturbances more manageable.

It's important to note that if you experience visual disturbances during a migraine attack, it's always a good idea to see an eye doctor, as it could be a symptom of an underlying eye condition.

Further reading

  1. The Migraine Trust (
  2. American Migraine Foundation (
  3. Migraine Research Foundation (
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