Welcome to question of the day #56

Eyetools question of the day #56

Some practitioners are of the opinion that migraine onset can be prevented by correcting refractive error. There are many different types of migraine. The cause of migraine is not clear but it is thought that migraines are the result of abnormal brain activity that temporarily alters nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain.

Common triggers are:

  • Stress
  • High blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • Excessive heat
  • Exercise
  • Bending over
  • Smoking
  • Certain types of contraceptives

There may also be a genetic link as people with a family history of migraines are more likely to suffer from migraine themselves.

Migraine usually involves a sharp stabbing pain in the side of the head, and sometimes a visual disturbance (aura) and sickness.

An ocular migraine happens when the blood flow to the eye becomes restricted due to a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels. Once the vessels relax, normal blood flow returns and symptoms clear. Usually, this will have no lasting damage to the eye.

Some studies have found that people with migraine have higher degrees of astigmatism than those that do not have migraine. However, this does not mean that refractive error causes migraine just that, for some unknown reason, it correlates with migraine.

While lack of refractive error correction can cause eye ache and headache, I have seen no good evidence to suggest that not using refractive correction can cause a migraine. However, people who suffer from migraine may have uncorrected astigmatism so it would be worth having an eye examination for reasons of vision improvement rather than migraine resolution.

I know that there are tinted lenses available, the manufacturers of which state they can prevent migraine. I will discuss these in a future Question of the Day.