Can Ocular Migraines Cause Memory Loss?

by Mar 10, 2024

Ocular migraines, a specific type of migraine that involves visual disturbances such as flashing lights or zigzag lines, can be a perplexing and unsettling experience for individuals who encounter them. Alongside the visual disruptions that characterize ocular migraines, concerns may arise regarding their potential impact on cognitive functions such as memory. This prompts the question: Can ocular migraines cause memory loss?


Understanding Can Ocular Migraines Cause Memory Loss?

Ocular migraines are a unique subset of migraines characterized by visual symptoms that can affect one or both eyes. These visual disturbances, which may include shimmering lights, blind spots, or zigzag patterns, typically last for a short duration—usually less than an hour—and are often accompanied by or followed by a headache. While the visual symptoms of ocular migraines can be alarming, they are generally temporary and do not lead to permanent vision loss.


Relationship Between Ocular Migraines and Memory

When examining the potential connection between ocular migraines and memory loss, it is essential to distinguish between the visual disturbances experienced during an ocular migraine and their impact on cognitive functions like memory. Ocular migraines primarily affect the visual cortex of the brain, leading to temporary visual disruptions without causing structural damage to the brain regions responsible for memory storage and retrieval.


Memory Loss During Ocular Migraines

Although ocular migraines themselves do not directly cause memory loss, individuals experiencing these visual disturbances may attribute a temporary lapse in memory to the disruptive nature of the migraine episode. The visual symptoms that manifest during an ocular migraine, such as temporary vision loss or distortion, may momentarily distract or preoccupy individuals, potentially leading to a brief period of cognitive disorientation or confusion.

This disorientation is often the source of any perceived memory loss from an ocular migraine. Particularly, if it is the first ocular migraine and the individual is unaware of what is occurring.


Managing Ocular Migraines and Cognitive Health

Individuals who experience ocular migraines and are concerned about their memory function should focus on managing their migraine episodes effectively. This may involve identifying and avoiding triggers that precipitate ocular migraines, such as stress, certain foods, or environmental factors. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress levels, and adhering to a consistent sleep schedule can contribute to overall well-being and potentially reduce the frequency and intensity of ocular migraines.


When to See a Doctor for an Ocular Migraine

If you are experiencing ocular migraines or have concerns about their impact on memory or cognitive function, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider. A thorough evaluation can help determine the underlying causes of your migraines, rule out other potential health issues, and provide personalized recommendations for symptom management and overall brain health. Your eye doctor can help manage the eye health and concerns for an ocular migraine, but they will likely coordinate with either your primary care physician or a neurologist for the additional cognitive concerns including memory loss. If you feel like you have had an ocular migraine, it warrants both a comprehensive eye exam and additional health evaluation. 


Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about how if ocular migraines cause memory loss. Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler, provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.

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