Qu’what is an ophthalmic migraine and how to treat it ?
Headaches, scientifically called cephalalgia, can quickly become a nightmare when they are repeated. And when you have recurring headaches, you often suffer from migraine: affecting 15% of the world’s population and causing real difficulties in everyday life, the neurological disease that is migraine is not to be taken lightly. Among the different forms that migraine can take, there is the so-called “ophthalmic” migraine: discover what is behind this sometimes misunderstood and often unrecognized disease.
C’What is an ophthalmic migraine ?
Contrary to what one might think, the term “ophthalmic migraine” is not used by doctors, who more readily speak of ” migraine with aura “. The term “ophthalmic migraine” could lead people to think, wrongly, that it is an ophthalmic disorder, i.e. a problem with the eyes, that causes migraine and its headaches. This is not the case: it is thus necessary to distinguish an ophthalmic migraine from a glaucoma for example, which this time is indeed an eye disease that leads to damage of the optic nerve, and sometimes headaches.
Doctors are more likely to talk about “treatment of migraines” migraine with visual aura “. The characteristic of a migraine with aura is that the migraine attack, and therefore the headaches, are “announced” by neurological warning signs, called aura. In most patients who suffer from this type of migraine, the aura is visual, that is to say that the symptoms that arrive before the headache are of a visual nature: we will see blurred or no longer see part of the field of vision, the perception of the environment may be distorted, in some it will be colored spots that appear, or bright spots. Other migraines with aura exist, the aura being able to take the form of sensory disorders for example Ophthalmic migraine, it is thus a migraine with visual aura.
Remember that a migraine is characterized by a head pain that is pulsating, unilateral, aggravated by movements and prevents concentration or usual activities.
What are the causes ?
An ophthalmic migraine is a neurovascular phenomenon The migraine attack, the fact that one has these particular headaches, comes from the fact that in the brain, vessels dilate following a nervous stimulation. The fact that in some people, migraine is preceded by a visual aura, it is also a neurological phenomenon, linked to an atypical neuronal activity. The phenomenon remains mysterious at the moment, but ophthalmic migraines, or migraines with visual aura, are not more dangerous than migraines without aura.
The migraine attack is therefore triggered by abnormal stimulation in the brain. Not everyone suffers from migraines, there are genetic predispositions that explain the occurrence of a migraine disease. On the other hand, once you have a migraine (which manifests itself in the form of attacks), different causes can cause you to have a migraine explain the appearance of the attacks :
- Consumption of certain foods such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, chocolate.
- Fatigue, stress, skipping a meal, or any other behavior that makes you “pull on the cord.
- But also, on the contrary, the fact of having slept more than usual, eaten too much, or of being suddenly relaxed after a period of strong stress: migraine attacks appear more readily in favour of any change of rhythm, that is why when you have migraine, you have to pay attention to your rhythm of life.
- Exposure to certain noises, lights, smells.
- And even a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure.
It should be noted that these different factors favour the appearance of a migraine attack, but do not trigger it every time, and not all people who suffer from ophthalmic migraines are sensitive to the same phenomena.
How to treat such a migraine ?
A ophthalmic migraine cannot be permanently eliminated: what must be done is to try to avoid migraine attacks and/or to reduce their intensity. If you think you are suffering from ophthalmic migraines, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor who will give you the right advice to live with these recurring headaches or go to an ophthalmological center in Marseille or elsewhere.
For to relieve a migraine attack which is arriving, one can quickly adopt 4 behaviors :
- Lie down in a quiet room without light
- Drinking water
- Put a cold wet cloth on your forehead
- Take some ibuprofen (or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory), or at least paracetamol (less efficient). Attention: you should not take both at the same time, and it is imperative to respect the dosage in order not to create chronic migraines.
Be aware that the visual aura disappears by itself once the headaches arrive, so it is not what we are going to try to treat.
For to avoid the onset of a migraine attack, it will be necessary to avoid the factors which can trigger the crises, of which we spoke above: one thus avoids the excesses, one makes sport regularly, one does not smoke, one tries to have a regular rhythm of sleep and in reasonable quantity. You should know that in some cases, the doctor may prescribe triptans, drugs that reduce the dilation of blood vessels in the brain (and that cause the pain of migraine).