Is It A Headache Or A Migraine? Vision Clues That Can Help You Decide

When you have a migraine or a headache, one thing’s for sure: you’re in pain. Treating migraines can be different than treating a headache, so it’s important to differentiate between the two. While both migraines and headaches can cause pain in the neck, head, behind the eyes, and in the temples, migraines often have telltale visual symptoms as well.

It’s important to note that while many people experience visual symptoms of migraines, this isn’t the case for everyone. If you experience the following visual symptoms along with headache pain, you’re likely experiencing a migraine. You could also not experience these symptoms and still experience a migraine.

Here, we’ll take a look at the visual signs that can indicate a migraine.

Flashing Lights

One of the most common precursors to migraines is seeing flashing lights, even in a dark area. These lights can shimmer, appear in a zigzag form, or take other shapes. Attempting to focus on these lights can be tough and may make them shift position.

Blind Spots

Blind spots are common before and during a migraine episode. For some people, these blind spots only appear in their peripheral vision and disappear when they refocus their eyes or move their head. This can be especially dangerous while driving.

Sensitivity to Light

Most people are familiar with squinting upon going outside after spending time in a dark room, such as a movie theater. For people who are experiencing a migraine, even sunlight coming in through a window on a cloudy day can trigger the squinting, intense pain of looking at the sky on a sunny day.

Temporary Vision Loss

During a migraine, many people find that their blind spots grow larger, and may eventually result in total temporary vision loss. It’s vital to know your warning signs that a migraine is on the horizon, allowing to you stop driving or otherwise keep yourself safe if you know that there’s a chance you may experience total vision loss.

Visual Migraines

It’s also possible to experience migraines that only create visual symptoms – but no headache pain. These are known as visual migraines, and typically resolve within about half an hour, and are typically followed by a migraine that includes headache pain. Experiencing a visual migraine without the typical headache pain is a condition known as acephalgic migraine.

If you’re experiencing migraines, be sure to talk with your doctor. It’s also a good idea to schedule a check-up with your eye care professional if you experience visual symptoms along with your migraines. Your team of healthcare professionals can work with you to help you create lifestyle changes and treatments that can reduce or eliminate migraines.