Sometimes headaches or migraines are accompanied by vision issues which can be very disruptive to a person’s day. These ocular migraines usually fade rapidly and are often not a cause for alarm, but there are some cases when a migraine accompanied by visual disruptions—known as a retinal migraine—signals a much more serious underlying condition.
So how do you know if your ocular migraines are harmless or serious? The board-certified ophthalmologists at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates have answered some FAQs to help you know the difference.
What are the symptoms of ocular migraines?
Ocular migraines that involve your vision can contain auras that are present in both eyes. Auras are disruptions in the vision that usually don’t last long and may or may not be accompanied by a headache. According to Mayo Clinic1, these symptoms can include:
- Flashes of light
- Zigzagging patterns
- Blind spots
- Shimmering spots
- Sparkling lights
- Blurred vision
- Fuzzy areas or swirled colors
- Sensation of looking through broken glass, water, heat waves, etc.
- Loss of color vision
- Depth perception issues
What are the symptoms of retinal migraines?
Retinal migraines are rarer than ocular migraines. They can affect one eye, rather than both, and are much more serious than ocular migraines. Retinal migraines can come before or accompany a headache and the symptoms can be recurring. The symptoms include2:
- Diminished vision
- Areas with decreased vision
- Temporary blindness
- Twinkling lights
- Tunnel vision
- New dark spots or floaters in one eye only
- New flashes of light in one eye only that persist over an hour
When should I see my ophthalmologist?
If you are experiencing any vision changes, such as ocular migraines or retinal migraines, you should see your ophthalmologist at Colorado Ophthalmology & Associates right away. We can track the changes you’re experiencing and help determine a course of action to try to head off future migraines.
If you have suddenly lost vision in one eye or have experienced decreased vision or changes in one eye, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) immediately. This could be a symptom of a much more serious condition, such as a stroke, diabetes or concussion.
What is the treatment for ocular migraines?
Patients suffering from recurring migraines are encouraged to keep a headache diary and try to pinpoint the triggers and then avoid them. Common triggers could be anything like disrupted sleep patterns, alcohol, caffeine, food additives, perfumes, dehydration, hormones or stress3.
Over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms until they subside. Prescription medications are also available and some things like beta-blockers might be prescribed to be taken daily as a preventative measure.
Get help with your ocular migraines today!
If you’ve been suffering from migraines that affect your vision, come to one of our two Colorado locations for an initial exam so we can track your vision changes and evaluate your eye health. Our ophthalmologists are experienced in evaluating and treating ocular migraines and are ready to bring our expertise to help you start to feel better. Call us today to make an appointment:
During this time of uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering if it is safe to come to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates for routine care and emergent eye conditions. Rest assured, your good health is our top priority. We are actively working within some of the strictest guidelines to maintain a safe and sanitary facility for our patients and staff.
What the CDC Recommends
We adhere to the CDC recommended coronavirus safety guidelines for medical providers including measures such as: spacing out appointments and maintaining 6’ social distancing within the building and waiting room. We continue some of the highest standards of facility sanitation and make sure our equipment, rooms and furniture are thoroughly disinfected between patients.
Our staff all wear masks and we require our patients to wear masks as well. Before coming to work, each staff member is required to take his or her temperature to ensure good health. Patients are instructed to do the same before coming to the facility. Additional screening measures are in place to be on the alert for any symptoms of illness.
Going Above & Beyond
In addition to the CDC guidelines, we have implemented additional measures of our own design to be extremely cautious during this time. We have removed any unnecessary items from the waiting room and exam rooms, such as magazines and extra chairs, to facilitate ease in cleaning efforts and to eliminate germ transmission. Non-essential personnel have been allowed to work from home or to schedule work after clinical hours. Non-essential visitors have been restricted from the facility.
All surfaces are disinfected between patients including chairs, light switches, counters, sign-in pads, computers and more. Hand sanitizer is readily available and encouraged for patient use. Our physicians and staff maintain strict hygiene protocol including frequent and careful hand washing as well as protective face coverings.
Prior to your appointment, you will receive a phone call informing you of the proper procedures to prepare for your visit. We are working to maintain clear communication with our patients to alleviate any confusion or unease during this time.
Talk with us any time
If you have any other questions or concerns about our response to COVID-19, please call us today at (303) 320-1777. Our two Colorado locations are working hard to provide some of the best ophthalmological care during this difficult time while making sure your health and safety is our top priority.
Playing a variety of fast-paced sports is one of the joys in life, but not every participant takes time to think about the connection between visual acuity and physical ability. If there is a slight variance to the eye, the result could be vision changes that reduce your performance. In addition to visual acuity, players need to be concerned about eye protection. Whether you enjoy basketball, softball, martial arts, tennis or even badminton, there can be a high risk of eye injury in any activity or sport.
Important vision skills required to excel in sports include things like depth perception, eye tracking, eye-hand-body coordination, peripheral vision, visual memory, visualization, visual reaction time and visual concentration.1 Not only can your performance be adversely affected by having a vision issue, but your physical safety could also be compromised.
If you are involved in playing a sport or activity, Colorado Ophthalmology Associates provides sports vision testing to determine if any vision correction is needed to enhance performance. Additionally, we can recommend the best protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries during play. These two considerations—visual acuity and eye protection—are important to discuss with your eye doctor before playing any kind of sport.
What does a sports vision test include?
There are several techniques and technologies used in testing for sports vision. Your board-certified ophthalmologist will use a few different tests to determine your visual acuity and eye health.
These tests may include a focus on:
- Overall visual proficiency
- Refractive errors
- Eye tracking
- Ocular alignment
- Contrast sensitivity
- Eye dominance
- Depth perception
- Reaction time
- Eye-hand coordination
What are the most common sports eye injuries?
An elbow to the eye, a finger poke, a hit with a ball, a collision or an impact can all cause mild to severe eye damage. The most common injuries we see are:
- Retinal detachment
- Scratched cornea
- Blood between cornea and iris
- Fractured eye socket
- Traumatic cataract
How can I protect my eyes while enjoying my favorite sport?
Prevention is the #1 focus when playing any sport. Having the right protective eyewear is crucial as your frontline defense against a blow, hit or a collision. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the following for your favorite sport:
- Shatterproof goggles
- Shatterproof lenses
- UV protection
- Sports glasses
- Face shield
- Eye shield
What sports are the most dangerous for eyes?
Basketball is the most hazardous sports for eye health. Baseball, softball, airsoft, pellet guns, paintball, racquetball, hockey, boxing and martial arts all pose high risks for eye injury and blindness.2
Get your sports vision exam done today!
If you love to play, consider getting a sports vision screening today to make sure you’re seeing everything you need to see to bring home the win. Our two Colorado locations provide convenient access to quality vision exams. Our board-certified ophthalmologists can also make recommendations to make sure you have the right protective eyewear or prescription googles to keep you covered for your favorite activities. Call us today to make an appointment: