A new study has discovered that variations in blood flow in the retina may explain why certain migraine patients have visual disturbances.
The findings may provide a long-awaited visible marker for migraines that doctors may use to aid in the medical treatment of the condition.
While patients with migraines often experience symptoms such as pain around the eye, sensitivity to light, blind spots and visual blurring, the mechanisms behind those symptoms have not been well understood.
UCLA Health researchers used a non-invasive imaging technique known as optical coherence tomography angiography, or OCTA, to visualise changes in the retinal blood vessels of migraine patients both during and between migraine attacks. The imaging was performed on 37 migraine patients with aura symptoms, 30 migraine patients without aura symptoms and 20 healthy patients for a control group.
Researchers found that blood flow decreases in the retina during migraine attacks for both migraine patients with and without aura symptoms. However, patients with aura symptoms were found to have lower blood flow in certain areas of the retina compared to patients without aura symptoms. Additionally, asymmetrical blood flow in the retinas was also correlated with which side of the head migraine patients experienced pain.
The findings could indicate why some patients experience visual symptoms and may represent a biomarker for migraine attacks.
(with inputs from ANI)