You are currently viewing Ocular Migraines vs. Visual Migraines: Knowing the Differences

Ocular Migraines vs. Visual Migraines: Knowing the Differences

Most of us are probably familiar with the term “migraine.” But there are several types of migraines. In fact, there are two types that include vision impairments, but that is where the similarities end.

Let’s take a minute review the differences between ocular migraines vs. visual migraines to help identify which is which!


To clarify, when we say “frequency” we are referring to how often one or the other occurs. In the case of ocular migraines vs. visual migraines, one is much more common. 

Visual migraines, also known as migraines with aura, make up about 20 percent of all migraines. On the other hand, ocular migraines affect about one out of every 200 people.

Number of eyes affected

One big difference between ocular migraines vs. visual migraines is how many eyes are affected.

Ocular migraines generally affect the center vision of one eye, whereas visual migraine symptoms typically affect both eyes.

For the record, the visual symptoms for both are similar. They could range from flashes of light to zigzag patterns to floating lines to blind spots, for instance.

Again, the main difference here is whether one or both eyes experience the visual impairment.

Duration of visual symptoms

Visual symptoms for ocular migraines can last up to an hour, while visual migraine symptoms tend to subside within 15 to 30 minutes.

The headache itself

Pain may not always accompany or follow a visual disturbance. However, if the pain does come, where it hits varies.

Most ocular migraines are localized. That means the intense pain tends to be right behind the affected eye. When it comes to a visual migraine, the pain can feel more spread out.

Both types of migraines can include nausea as well as a sensitivity to light and sound.


In the end, if you are experiencing any vision changes including twinkling lights or blind spots, it’s time to book your next appointment at your local Mississippi Eye Care clinic. Our eye doctors can help identify the issue and work with you to develop the best treatment plan. For more on vision health and eye concerns, keep reading our blogs.