If you ever had a migraine, you know that it can be incapacitating. Throbbing pain, vision troubles, nausea and even vomiting are just a few of the symptoms associated with migraines. Although there are a few subtypes of migraines, some can directly affect your eyes.

A migraine with aura or classic migraine, is the most common type. These reoccurring headaches strike with or after a vision disturbance known as aura. The symptoms typically occur about an hour before the head pain. The common vision disturbances you may experience include: blind spots that may be outlined by shapes floating zigzag patterns across your field of vision shimmering spots similar to stars vision loss or changes in vision and, flashes of light. These symptoms commonly last approximately 10 to 30 minutes and given how they affect your vision it is best not to drive or operate heavy machinery if aura migraine symptoms begin. 

Retinal migraine is a rarer type of migraine that is believed to be caused when a blood vessel in the eye spasms and reduces the blood flow to the eye. It may cause temporary vision loss, but unlike the aura migraine it will affect only eye. It can last for a few hours to months but it is reversible. This type of migraine may be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience vision loss in one eye, it is best to consult with your optometrist as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for migraines. Some over-the-counter medications can help relieve the pain and in more serious cases, your family doctor can prescribe stronger medications taken daily to alleviate the symptoms. But there are some migraine triggers that can be avoided to help reduce the symptoms as well as certain lifestyle changes that can prevent the frequency of the migraines.
-Stress might be a trigger for migraines.The best solution is obviously to move away from sources of stress which is not always possible, but there are temporary solutions to reduce stress such as exercise or natural supplements. Even a slight decrease in your stress can greatly help to reduce the occurrence of migraines.
-Smoking is not just bad for your overall health but can be a main cause for migraines. Although it is a very difficult habit to break, there are many options available to help you quit. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
-Dehydration can definitely trigger migraines. It is important to drink lots of water during the day. This flushes out toxins and helps with your overall well-being.
-Getting enough sleep is also very important to help prevent migraines. It is recommended to stop using digital devices at least one hour before going to bed. The blue light our phones and tablets emit, messes with our circadian rhythms and can significantly affect our sleep.
-Eat a healthy diet. The food you eat has an impact on your whole body. Cook your own meals and choose nutritious ingredients that will positively impact your health. Fast food, take-out and processed foods often contain nitrate, MSG, tyramine and artificial sweeteners that may contribute to those nasty headaches.

If you have been suffering from migraine pain that affects your eyes, speak with your IRIS optometrist for advice.