There are a number of reports that perceptual, electrophysiological and imaging measures can track migraine periodicity. As the electrophysiological and imaging research requires specialist equipment, it has few practical applications. This study sought to track changes in performance on four visual tasks over the migraine cycle. Coherence thresholds were measured for two motion and two orientation tasks. The first part of the study confirmed that the data obtained from an online study produced comparable results to those obtained under controlled laboratory conditions. Thirteen migraine with aura, 12 without aura, and 12 healthy controls participated. The second part of the study showed that thresholds for discriminating vertical coherent motion varied with the migraine cycle for a majority of the participants who tested themselves multiple times (four with aura, seven without). Performance improved two days prior to a migraine attack and remained improved for two days afterwards. This outcome is as expected from an extrapolation of earlier electrophysiological research. This research points to the possibility of developing sensitive visual tests that patients can use at home to predict an impending migraine attack and so take steps to try to abort it or, if it is inevitable, to plan their lives around it.
Keywords: migraine; migraine cycle; motion; orientation; peri-ictal; vision.
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