Migraine affects 12% of the population, and is the third most prevalent illness in the world.1 It has been associated with stroke and myocardial infarction, as well as retinal vessel occlusion, ischemic optic neuropathy and normal tension glaucoma, according to Alexander Barash, MD, New York Medical Care.
Speaking at the 2019 American Society of Retina Specialists annual meeting in Chicago, Dr. Barash pointed out that these associations are stronger for those patients who have migraine with aura than without aura.
Whether or not migraine can significantly increase the risk of developing primary open-angle glaucoma remains controversial.2
Aura (which includes visual disturbances and/or other neurologic symptoms) occurs in about 25% of patients who experience migraine,1 and is often a cause for referral to an ophthalmologist.
“During aura, there are changes in the cerebral blood flow,” he said, noting that people who have migraine also have brains that are more easily damaged, and they need a higher blood flow to survive focal ischemia.
1. Migraine Research Foundation. About Migraine. Available at: https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/
2. Xu C, Li J, Li Z, Mao X. Migraine as a risk factor for primary open angle glaucoma. Medicine (Baltimore). doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000011377