Ocular Migraines Coming From Sinus Inflammation?


Asked by matthewjames83

Ocular Migraines Coming From Sinus Inflammation?

For 2 years now I've been experiencing what I would call ocular migraines that I believe are caused by sinus inflammation. I've spent thousands of dollars with CT scans, MRIs, etc... If someone feels they can assist with what I'm experiencing, please let me know.

Here's a quick summary:

Kaleidoscope like visuals start in a very small area of my vision, making it difficult to focus on printed words or small objects. The kaleidoscope visuals grow in size, larger and larger over the period of about 30-40 minutes. Note: I see this in both eyes, not just one. After 30-40 minutes, the visuals will completely disappear and be followed by a severe migraine that typically lasts anywhere from an hour to 4 or more hours.

I've never had much of any headaches in my life until these started in 2011. I'm 30 years old. Doctors sent me for a CT scan and MRI, which showed nothing but very inflamed sinuses. I was not sick or suffering from allergies at the time, but I've had sinus issues all of my life. Can the headaches be caused by the swelling/inflammation of the sinuses? Anything that can be done to reduce that swelling?


One of the most important things is to get an accurate diagnosis. To simplify matters and make it easier for people to get information and treatment, doctors usually go by the gold standard for diagnosis, the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd Edition (ICHD-III). Although people often ask what "ocular," "optical," or "ophthalmic" migraines are, there are no such diagnoses under ICHD-III. We do see them used, but doctors use it differently, so it really doesn't tell anyone what type of migraine you actually have.

Your symptoms are probably why you've had so much imaging done.
Doctors do imaging for patients because they are almost always trying to rule out structural issues, just to be safe. They're not looking for something, but just making sure nothing else is there. migraine doesn't yet have a test for the condition, so our doctors have to rule out other conditions first to be sure they've got it right.

There are many types of headache disorders though - hundreds actually. Believe it or not, inflamed sinuses are a common symptom or trigger for multiple headache disorders, including migraine. Research showed, the majority of people who think they have sinus headache actually have Migraine. So, making sure you've got a good diagnosis really is that important. Treatments are based on appropriate diagnoses, so that's where doctors begin.

Yes, there are potential triggers that inflamed sinuses may set off, resulting in a migraine. A good ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor) should be able to help you with your sinus issues. It's possible that the inflammation is due to migraine, but it could be something simply treated such as a new allergy you haven't been aware you've acquired. The only way to get appropriate treatment though, is again, to get an appropriate diagnosis, so I'd start there

You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.