Causes of retinal migraine

Retinal migraine is caused by the blood vessels to the eye suddenly narrowing (constricting), reducing the bloodflow to the eye.

It may be triggered by :

  • stress
  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • hormonal birth control pills
  • exercise
  • bending over
  • high altitude
  • dehydration
  • low blood sugar
  • excessive heat

Afterwards the blood vessels relax, bloodflow resumes and sight returns. Usually there are no abnormalities within the eye and permanent damage to the eye is rare.

Retinal migrainetends to be more common in:

  • women
  • people aged under 40
  • people with a personal or family history of migraines or other headaches
  • people with an underlyingdisease such as lupus , hardening of the arteries , sickle cell disease , epilepsy , antiphospholipid syndrome , and giant cell arteritis
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018