What are "painless, optical migraines?"
This is a difficult question to answer. Technically, there is no suchdiagnosis if you go by the International Headache Society's Guidelines fordiagnosis and classification of headache disorders. When doctors assign adiagnosis not in the IHS Guidelines, it makes it difficult to comment.
In our experience on our forums, most people who come in after a doctor telling them they have "ocular Migraines," it turns out that they actually have Migraine with aura that's skipping the headache phase. They have some of the visual symptoms of the aura phase of the Migraine attack and often some other symptoms of a Migraine attack, but not the headache. Such Migraines, when treated by someone following the IHS Guidelines would generally be classified as Migraine with aura and described as "acephalgic," which means without headache. It needs to be noted, however, that we cannot diagnose via the Internet, and if you've been told you are experiencing "painless, optical migraines," you should ask your doctor for more information and a clearer diagnosis.
If you want to see more information on the phases of a Migraine attack and the associated symptoms, see:
When many people think “migraine” they think only of the pain of migraine. In reality, a migraine episode consists of far more. The typical migraine episode actually consists of four parts, referred to as phases or components.
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert
About Ask the Clinician:
Dr.Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert. If you have a question for this section of our site, please click HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. No questions will be answered privately.
Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis.
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Published On: April 07, 2007