National Migraine Centre
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Optical Migraines

My friend has just been dignosied with migraine (it's the optical one) and she has been given imirgran and that's it. She would like to know what alternatives are avaialbe as the first sign of her migrianes are a dibilitating aura (changing aura, very, very bright, vision distortion, both eyes and peripheral, sometimes zig zag lines and shimmery, little bit of balance disturbance & blind spots) which last for up to half hour and imigran doesn't work because it takes half hour to work. She also has a 1yr old son and the migraine arura's prevent her from seeing to look after him. The doctors really aren't interested in the migraines or why they have suddenly occurred 10 after the birth of her son, i know that her Dad suffers with the same problem, the doctors didn't ask about family history, they just said that it sounded like a migraine as she had, her eyes checked by an optician. Are these also known as silent migraines?

Any help is greatly appreciated.


Puzzled :o)

5 Replies

Does your friend suffer the headache following the aura? I find that any of the Triptan medications (imigran is a member of this group) does not reduce the length of the aura, this just has to work it's way through. Your friend may be better trying to work out if she has a trigger for her migraine attacks such as a food intolerance. Keeping a food diary may help.


Hi Jayniegirl198,

Thank you for the reply, my friend doesn't seem to get the actual headache after the aura, just the whole sudden vision loss and aura followed by a 'pressure' in the head and slight nausea. There doesn't seem to be a food trigger as she has stopped eating chocolate and oranges. Thank you for the advice.

Puzzled :o)


there are a lot of foodstuffs which trigger migraine, my husbands is coffee and bananas as Janiegirl says --keep a diary!!!!! (also just to add to the mix strong smells ie bleach, scented showergel and perfume also sets off my husband)

unfortunately she may have no triggers...

Has she tried to take metacloperamide (Prescription), stomachs close down during migraine and absorption of any thing is really slow.I had to ask for it and my GP did not quibble about me trying it, a lot of migraineurs take it as soon as there is a hint of an attack, and have noticed it helps--it is also usefull if she has nausea but I primarily use it to help the drugs to absorb.


Hi there

To my knowledge there is no drug that can stop a visual aura. I'm afraid that is one part of a migraine that you just have to sit out. I have had them for over 30 years, they are very tricky to deal with if you try to do anything whilst having one, and you really do need to sit/lie down until they pass.

Having migraine, especially with auras does require some adjustment, especially if you get them fairly regularly. You haven't said how frequent they are?

Your friend might need to plan ways she can deal with her little one during those times. It's not going to be easy, but the auras do not usually last for more than an hour. It may be that the little one might be happy to nap for that hour in their own room, or there might be a neighbour/relative who might be happy to take charge just until the visuals pass. It is really worth putting some scenarios together so she can plan on what she would do it if happens if she is out, or at home and dependent on what time of the day and what the little one would be normally doing at that time of the day.

Silent migraines are those that you do not get any pain with, but you do get auras, not all of them visual, but auras of perception too and other symptoms. It sounds like your friend has been diagnosed with 'migraine with aura'.

I have heard of others developing migraines after childbirth, they also often run in families, as looks the case with your friends family.

What medication given often relies on how frequent you have migraine.

Best wishes


Hi there, I have migraine without aura and take triptans such as imigran, I've learnt over the years to take the triptan as soon as I get a symptom of migraine as waiting a while will only prolong the migraine and lessen the effectiveness of the triptan. Also, there are several different types of triptan and they can come in different forms such as a nasal spray, melt in the mouth tablet and injection, these get into the bloodstream a lot faster than the normal tablet form and may help your friend get relief more quickly. Have a chat with the GP about it as I know it works with my type of migraine but not sure about migraine without the pain.


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