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Ocular Migraines

What is an Ocular Migraine ?

Ocular migraines are actually a group of different conditions of unclear origin, that all usually affect your vision temporarily, with or without causing pain. They are different from your classic migraine headache, which causes moderate to severe headache lasting up to 72 hours, and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as photophobia, nausea etc. 

They tend to affect women more than men. 


There are two types of ocular migraine: ophthalmic (migraine with aura) and retinal migraines.

Ophthalmic Migraine Symptoms (migraine with aura)

  • Visual changes in both eyes

  • A blank spot or blurred area in the visual field

  • Flickering or shimmering of light in the peripheral vision

  • Bright colored streaks or zigzag lines 

  • Sensitive or painful area on the face or head during, before or after the migraine

Retinal Migraine Symptoms

  • Loss of sight in one eye, lasting less than one hour

  • Possible headache

  • Photosensitivity and photophobia (symptoms are made worse by lights)

  • Throbbing or pulsing feeling

  • Feeling worse when you move around

Migraines with aura though possibly very painful, are not dangerous in the sense that they cause no permanent visual or brain damage, and do not require treatment. Retinal migraines however have more potential for long-term vision loss.


Signs of an emergency : 


Acute glaucoma can produce migraine-like symptoms, such as

  • eye pain and intense headache (usually on the forehead one brow),

  • halos around lights

  • dilated pupils

  • vision loss

  • red eyes

  • nausea and vomiting


If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should go to the emergency room. Narrow-angle glaucoma is typically recognized through a comprehensive eye exam.

We always recommend that you get examined and followed by your eye doctor in order to rule out major concerns at the same time as seeking integrative treatment with us.

Acupuncture is a very safe and efficient treatment method for migraines.

The Cochrane Systematic Review (2016), a commonly cited source, has concluded that acupuncture is a useful alternative treatment that reduces the duration and frequency of migraine—both chronic and episodic



Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of acupuncture in the treatment or prevention of migraine, tension-type headache, or chronic headache disorders. Headache. 2016;56(7):1238–40.

Image by Anthony Tran

What can taproot acupuncture & herbs
do for Ocular Migraines ?

At taproot, we provide you with a complete integrative protocol that includes acupuncture, micro-current stimulation for your eyes, personalized herbal formulas and supplements, as well as lifestyle and nutrition recommendations. 

The causes of ocular migraines are still unclear, but more and more scientific evidence points to  inflammation and poor circulation.

Inflammatory substances that are released in the blood vessels and nerves of the head and brain can trigger ocular migraines. Furthermore, ocular migraines seem to be tied to blood-vessel spasms in the retina or in the back of the eye. 

Acupuncture treatment benefits the eyes and can reduce migraine frequency by

  • regulating blood flow and improving the circulation to the back of the eye and to the brain in general

  • reducing inflammation on a systematic level.

  • reducing stress and triggers

  • relaxing the muscles of the neck and shoulders.