The optometric correlates of migraine

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2004 Sep;24(5):369-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2004.00212.x.


Migraine is a common, chronic, multi-factorial, neuro-vascular disorder typically characterised by recurrent attacks of unilateral, pulsating headache and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Migraine may additionally be associated with aura; those focal neurological symptoms that may precede or sometimes accompany the headache. This review describes the optometric aspects of migraine headache. There have been claims of a relationship between migraine headaches and errors of refraction, binocular vision anomalies, pupil anomalies, visual field changes and pattern glare. The quality of the evidence for a relationship between errors of refraction and binocular vision and migraine is poor. The quality of the evidence to suggest a relationship between migraine headache and pupil anomalies, visual field defects and pattern glare is stronger. In particular the link between migraine headache and pattern glare is striking. The therapeutic use of precision-tinted spectacles to reduce pattern glare (visual stress) and to help some migraine sufferers is described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthenopia / complications
  • Asthenopia / physiopathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Color
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Migraine Disorders / classification
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Pupil Disorders / complications
  • Pupil Disorders / physiopathology
  • Refractive Errors / complications
  • Refractive Errors / physiopathology
  • Vision Disorders / complications
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology