Clinical impact of migraine for the management of glaucoma patients

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2016 Mar:51:107-24. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2015.07.006. Epub 2015 Jul 29.


Migraine is a common and debilitating primary headache disorder that affects 10-15% of the general population, particularly people of working age. Migraine is relevant to providers of clinical eye-care because migraine attacks are associated with a range of visual sensory symptoms, and because of growing evidence that the results of standard tests of visual function necessary for the diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma (visual fields, electrophysiology, ocular imaging) can be abnormal due to migraine. These abnormalities are measureable in-between migraine events (the interictal period), despite patients being asymptomatic and otherwise healthy. This picture is further complicated by epidemiological data that suggests an increased prevalence of migraine in patients with glaucoma, particularly in patients with normal tension glaucoma. We discuss how migraine, as a co-morbidity, can confound the results and interpretation of clinical tests that form part of contemporary glaucoma evaluation, and provide practical evidence-based recommendations for the clinical testing and management of patients with migraine who attend eye-care settings.

Keywords: Electrophysiology; Glaucoma; Imaging; Migraine; Perimetry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Electrophysiology
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Migraine with Aura / diagnosis
  • Migraine with Aura / physiopathology*
  • Visual Field Tests
  • Visual Fields / physiology