Gene Wyll, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Surgeon and Contact Lens Specialist


What is a Migraine?

Migraine is a common condition occurring in at least 15-20% of the population, and has a much higher occurrence rate in women.

Classic Migraine begins with visual symptoms (such as zigzag lines, colored lights, or flashes of light expanding to one side of your vision over a time period of 10-30 minutes), and is usually followed by a single-sided severe headache.  The visual symptoms can sometimes occur without the headache.  These are called ocular or ophthalmic migraines.

Common Migraine may cause only a headache without the visual symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Migraine?

The most common symptom of a migraine is a severe headache lasting for hours.  This may be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea.

Visual symptoms, which may occur in one or both eyes, may have the following characteristics:

    A blurred spot that expands to one side over a period or 10-30 minutes.

    An expanding border often described as zigzag lines, "shimmering" or resembling "heat waves" 
    or "sparklers."

    Vision loss in one eye only, involving the entire visual field, or only the upper or lower sections.

More rarely, symptoms may include double vision, drooping of the upper eyelid, or a change in pupil size.

What causes Migraine?

It is generally felt that migraine is related to variations in the level of serotonin, a chemical in the brain.  Certain triggers of migraine are recognized in some people, such as some foods, hormones or stress.

How is Migraine Diagnosed?

Once other causes of headache are ruled out by testing, migraine can be diagnosed based on the symptoms.  There is no specific test for migraine.
How is Migraine treated?

Various medications are available to prevent the onset of migraine, or to treat once the symptoms begin.

610 North Coit, Suite 2115 Richardson, Texas 75080    Telephone 214-575-4455    Fax  972-918-0480

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