Eye Conditions and Treatment

Migraines are treated in the Neuro-Ophthalmology Service


Migraine is a painful headache that is associated with changes in the size of the arteries within and outside of the brain or caused by inherited abnormalities in certain areas of the brain. There is a familial tendency for the development of migraines. They may be triggered by a sudden increase or decrease in stress, weather changes, light exposure and stimulants, including caffeine. Because migraines often produce visual symptoms, many people feel that they are caused by eyestrain or vision problems. Headaches may become worse because of intense and lengthy use of the eyes. However, migraines seldom result from eye disease or the need for eyeglasses.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Type of Pain: Pounding or throbbing pain. The headache often begins as a dull ache and develops into throbbing pain. The pain is usually aggravated by physical activity.
  • Severity/Intensity of Pain: The pain of a migraine can be described as mild, moderate, or severe.
  • Location of Pain: The pain can shift from one side of the head to the other, or it can affect the front of the head or feel like it's affecting the whole head.
  • Duration of Pain: Most migraines last about 4 hours although severe ones can last up to a week.
  • Frequency: The frequency of migraines varies widely among individuals. It is common for a migraine sufferer to get 2-4 headaches per month. Some people, however, may get headaches every few days, while others only get a migraine once or twice a year.
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, and odors
  • Nausea and vomiting, stomach upset, abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensations of being very warm or cold
  • Paleness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever (rare)

Treatment and Prevention

  • Pain relief: Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with migraines
  • Anti-nausea medicines: Your doctor can prescribe medication to relieve the nausea that often accompanies migraines
  • Abortive medicines: There are some special medications that if used at the first sign of a migraine, may stop the process that causes the headache pain
  • Preventive (prophylactic) medications
  • Biofeedback. Biofeedback helps people learn to recognize stressful situations that trigger migraines.
  • Botox Injections