The causes of optical migraine are the same as those of migraine headaches.
Studies indicate that optical migraines are caused due to certain activities in the brain which results in the release of inflammatory materials around the blood vessels and nerves of the brain and head. The reasons for such mechanisms within the brain are not understood.
MRI and other forms of imaging studies reveal that there are changes in the flow of blood in the brain at the time of optical migraines, but the causes of such blood flow alterations are also unknown.
Some possible causes that may trigger an optical migraine attack are:
- Particular types of food like caffeinated drinks, smoked meats, aged cheeses, chocolate and red wine
- Certain food additives such as artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate or MSG
- Other probable triggers for optical migraines include powerful perfume odors, flickering or obtrusive lights, cigarette smoke, emotional stress, lack of sleep and certain kinds of strong odors.