Retinal migraine (ocular migraine) is a rare type of migraine that involves an aura, with visually predominant hallucinations. It is a condition with brief attacks of temporary blindness or visual disturbances like flashing lights in one eye. In most cases, the vision becomes normal after a short while, and the signs are harmless. Some people get a retinal migraine every few months, although the frequency can vary. Retinal migraine is a separate condition different from headache-type migraine or migraine with aura, which usually affects the vision of both eyes.
Signs and symptoms of Retinal Migraine
- Seeing twinkling lights, also known as scintillations
- Areas of lessened vision are also called a scotoma
- Temporary loss of vision, or blindness
- Any of the above happenings repeatedly
- Headache before during or after the vision attack
Causes of Retinal Migraine
The cause of retinal migraines remains mostly unknown. A spasm of the blood supply to the retina at the time of migraine is observed.
It may be triggered by:
- high blood pressure
- oral contraceptive pill
- excess exercise
- high altitude
- low blood sugar
- excessive heat
Retinal migraine is more common in:
- people aged under 40
- personal or family history of migraine or other headaches
- people with an underlying disease – such as lupus, hardening of the arteries, sickle cell anaemia, epilepsy, antiphospholipid syndrome, and giant cell arteritis
Pathophysiology of Retinal Migraine
Retinal migraine develops when the constriction or sudden narrowing of the blood vessels to the eye happens, reducing the blood flow to the eye. After the relaxation, blood flow is resumed and vision restored. In most cases, no abnormalities are found within the eye and permanent damage to the eye is uncommon.
Diagnosis of Retinal Migraine
No specific test is there to diagnose retinal migraine.
Treatments of Retinal Migraine
Measures for pain relief like in any other headaches and reducing exposure to triggers. Medicines used are the following:
- calcium channel blocker
- tricyclic antidepressant
Prognosis of Retinal Migraine
Mostly the attacks are short and self-relieving
Complications of Retinal Migraine
- Retinal damage
- Vision loss
Ayurvedic Concept of Retinal Migraine
There is not a single disease name explained in Ayurveda for retinal migraine. But Ayurveda explains the eyes as the seat of Pitta and associated with headaches like suryavarta and anantavata, ardhavabhedaka etc. So, a vitiation of Vaata and Pitta can lead to this disease.
Ayurvedic Nidana of Retinal Migraine
Dry food intake & excessive food intake
Wind from the east side
Causative factors for the vitiation of Vaata & Pitta
Irregular sleep or lack of sleep
Taking bath in cold water immediately after heat/sun exposure
Ayurvedic Purvaaroopa of Retinal Migraine
Ayurvedic Samprapti of Retinal Migraine
Ayurvedic Lakshana of Retinal Migraine
Seeing bright lights and visual hallucinations with or without the headache
Ayurvedic Divisions of Retinal Migraine
Ayurvedic Prognosis of Retinal Migraine
Ayurvedic Treatment (Chikithsa) of Retinal Migraine
Lepanam with Soolahara dravyas
Intake of jeernaghrutam
Uttamammtrasnehapanam with Chatu:sneham
Commonly used Ayurvedic medicines for Retinal Migraine
Home remedies for Retinal Migraine
There is no cure for migraines at home but some measures can be helpful to lessen the suffering due to migraines.
- using flexible cold packs or masks
- staying in a quiet, darkened room
- sleeping, when necessary
- herbal extracts, like jatipatri, karpoora and turmeric
- neck exercises
A migraine episode is often a response to a trigger. To figure out the culprit, a person might try keeping a diary and recording what they did, ate, and drank before an episode.
It may be particularly helpful to avoid:
- low blood sugar
- physical overexertion
- certain foods, such as chocolate and any that contain tyramine
- certain medications, like some birth control pills
- bright lights and flickering screens
The following strategies can also help reduce the frequency of migraines:
- getting enough rest and sleep
- reducing stress
- drinking plenty of water
- improving posture
- avoiding dietary triggers, such as caffeine, alcohol, and cheese
- exercising daily
Diet for Retinal Migraine
- To be avoided
Heavy meals and difficult to digest foods – cause indigestion.
Junk foods- cause disturbance in digestion and reduces the bioavailability of the medicine
Carbonated drinks – makes the stomach more acidic and disturbed digestion
Refrigerated and frozen foods – causes weak and sluggish digestion by weakening Agni (digestive fire)
Milk and milk products – increase Kapha, obstruct channels and obesity
Curd – causes vidaaha and thereby many other diseases
- To be added
Light meals and easily digestible foods
Green gram, soups, honey
Freshly cooked and warm food processed with cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, ajwain etc
Protect yourself from the cold climate.
Better to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight wind rain or dust.
Maintain a regular food and sleep schedule.
Avoid holding or forcing the urges like urine, faeces, cough, sneeze etc.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
Yoga for Retinal Migraine
Regular stretching and mild cardio exercises are advised. Also, specific yogacharya including naadisuddhi pranayama, bhujangaasana, pavanamuktasana is recommended.
Regular exercise helps improve the bioavailability of the medicine and food ingested and leads to positive health.
Yoga can maintain harmony within the body and with the surrounding system.
Simple exercises for lungs and heart health
All the exercises and physical exertions must be decided and done under the supervision of a medical expert only.
Research articles on Retinal Migraine