I guess I will file today’s post under the “Tip of the Week” Section, as it has been awhile since I shared a tip with my readers. Have you ever had an ocular migraine? Maybe you have experienced this strange and annoying phenomenon, but just didn’t know what the heck it was. I meant to do a post updating you all on the things I wanted to share about where I am going in 2016, but had to take a little detour for self care due to having an ocular migraine again last night. Let me tell you, they are not fun. Like with most annoying things I have experienced though, I find a way to cope.
In a nutshell an ocular migraine is a visual experience and isn’t the same as a regular old migraine. You may not even experience any pain with an ocular migraine. I know I didn’t the first time I had one. I was freaking out wondering what on earth was wrong with my eyes (because I was seeing a rainbow wavy line in my vision), but I have a friend who has them and when I described them to her she told me what was going on and that her doctor said they are not usually a serious thing. My aunt told me she has been getting them recently too. I have dealt with these off and on for probably a decade or so. Usually I only get them once every year or so, so they don’t affect my life too much. This year however I have already had about 4 of them.
(** Disclaimer: please don’t write me all worried and freaking out as I tend to not share things I experience for this very reason. I can remember sharing about my vertigo once and you’d think I was at death’s door or my brain was seriously in trouble by the responses I got. I know people mean well, but that doesn’t help.at.all. Worrying doesn’t do jack squat in these situations. The best thing to do is relax and not panic. However, please DO feel free to write or comment to share your own experience or ask questions if you want.)
I am getting so I can kinda tell when one is going to occur. Like I said, there is no pain or headache first (at least for myself), so that isn’t an indicator. It seems to happen when I am feeling especially over tired or when my eyes are tired, and lately nausea comes with it. I didn’t sleep well over the weekend and I woke up feeling kind of icky and over tired on Sunday. We went to a barbecue at my parents house and came home around 7pm. I was actually so tired that I climbed in bed to try to fall asleep early, but couldn’t because my husband had the tv blaring and the AC set to 67 or 68 (he needs it cold and a tv on to sleep). I kept getting more and more nauseous the more I laid there. I took some ginger and that didn’t help. I couldn’t stay asleep anyway with it being so cold in there and the TV up loud, so I told my husband I was going to get up and have a bite to eat to see if that helped.
What is an Ocular Migraine Like?
And then I saw it. A tiny speck of something starting in my vision. A very small little blind spot. It makes it a little uncomfortable looking around as the blind spot will start to grow and for me it turns into a moving (shimmering) wavy rainbow colored line called a metamorphopsia. It is so hard to describe, so here is a visual:
The annoying (and anxiety producing) part is that even when you shut your eyes, it does not go away. You can see this wavy rainbow line vibrating in the dark of the inside of your eyelids. If you have experienced this before you will say “AHA!” and know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t , the best comparison is the feeling you get when someone takes your photo in low lighting with a flash and it takes awhile for that blind spot of a camera flash to go away. Only, this is worse and far more annoying.
I continued to have the nausea (with no other symptoms other than the wavy line vision) until the ocular migraine passed. Once it passed I felt back to normal, nausea gone too. Sometimes I will get a minor headache over my eyes or a little pressure in my head after one of these occurs. But it is not usually painful. I don’t know how other people feel when they get these, but they make me feel nervous and uncomfortable. Like many of the annoying things I experience from time to time, you have to be patient,relax and wait it out. Being prone to anxiety anyway, it can be a challenge for me.
So what can you do then? What Helps?
- Immediately get away from all sources of light. ESPECIALLY light from computer, tablet, and smart phone screens. TV’s too. Those types of light can actually be one of the contributors or causes of an ocular migraine.
- Lie down in the dark and rest. My ocular migraines seem to last about 15-25 minutes, and because it is uncomfortable to look around with blind spots anyway, I just go lie down and shut my eyes. Your eyes are probably telling you that you need the rest anyway.
- Try to stay calm and relax while you wait for it to pass. It WILL pass, it is just annoying. I know it is hard to relax when you can see it even with your eyes shut, but freaking out about it doesn’t make it go away any more quickly. 30 minutes is probably the longest you would have to wait.
- After the migraine passes I go easy on my eyes and stay away from screens for awhile. Drink lots of water and make sure to get extra sleep.
This is one of those things where you just have to drop everything and patiently wait it out. Here is a helpful article I found on ocular migraines if you want more info: http://www.totalhealthmagazine.com/Brain-Health/Ocular-Migraines-Eye-Migraines.html
As far as what causes them, I can only tell you that for me, I notice they tend to crop up when I am having one of my sleeping problems (occasional insomnia or lack of quality sleep has been an issue for me for like 15 years now) or when my eyes are fatigued. I was staring at a computer screen for hours over the weekend to finish up a large-ish graphic design project for a client. I do take breaks now and then to rest my eyes, but I have noticed a direct correlation with these migraines and having looked at a smart phone or computer for a long time prior too. I am sure my sleep issues are the cause of the majority of the annoying random things I get, but we can chat about that in another blog post.
As far as inspired living tips with all of this? Don’t let the challenges in life keep you down. I have had so many of them for a young person over the years that I could be a negative and a constant complainer if I chose to. What good does that do though? It won’t help me get rid of these issues. Even as motivated as I am with all of my life goals, I have to listen to my body and slow down when it says to. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done except rest. If you have ever noticed what a patient person I tend to be, I am sure it is a result of having no other choice but to be patient and wait for these things I deal with to pass. I do get really down occasionally about having these little (and sometimes big) annoyances. I was talking to my mom about that yesterday. But I just have to tell someone how I feel, release it, and move on. It doesn’t do to dwell on the oddities of life. Also, remember to focus on what is RIGHT with your life and on what brings you joy. This is the energy to spend the majority of your time in.
If you need support, feel free to comment and connect with me. Remember, you aren’t alone. I am on this journey with you, as together, “We Live Inspired”. ~Rebekah