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September 3, 2018

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Migraine Awareness Week

Migraine Awareness Week: Migraines in the workplace – how eye care can help

To mark the start of Migraine Awareness Week (2 to 8 September 2018), Specsavers Corporate Eyecare looks at how migraines could affect employees’ vision and what employers can do to help.

Migraine is the third most common disease in the world, affecting an estimated one in seven people globally. Migraine Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of the condition and this year focuses on the impact of migraines in the workplace.

The Migraine Trust is asking employers to consider making reasonable adjustments for employees who suffer from migraines. These may include flexible working practices and adapting the physical environment to help prevent the triggering of a migraine. Prolonged use of display screen equipment is a known trigger for migraines.

migraine

Ocular migraine

Ocular migraines, sometimes referred to as retinal migraines, are temporary visual disturbances. Typical symptoms may include temporary loss of vision in one or both eyes, blurred vision, flashing lights, blind spots, or loss of peripheral vision. These symptoms may or may not be accompanied by a headache. Vision loss usually lasts to around 15 to 20 minutes, before normal vision gradually starts to return.

Taking action

If you suspect that you are suffering from a migraine that is accompanied by vision disturbances, the best course of action is to rest the eyes until symptoms subside and the vision returns to normal.

Dr Nigel Best, Senior Optometrist and Clinical Spokesperson for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘The symptoms commonly associated with ocular migraines can mimic symptoms associated with more serious retinal conditions, for example a retinal detachment. For that reason, it is important that if you experience these symptoms you should have your eyes examined urgently. This will allow your optometrist to rule out any eye condition that may be responsible. If your optometrist concludes that your symptoms are migrainous they can write to your GP who can discuss the most appropriate treatment options. Your optometrist may also be able to give tailored advice to the individual on how best to manage the particular symptoms from which they suffer.’

Wider risks

Research suggest that migraines double the risk of the most common type of stroke, where the artery supplying the brain is blocked by a clot. This is recognised by The British Heart Foundation, where evidence is also discussed regarding the link between migraine and heart disease.

‘An eye examination in itself can help with the detection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes,’ said Dr Best. ‘It is possible for the optometrist to view the small blood vessels at the back of the eye in which changes may indicate such conditions. This is a further reason to visit an optician if suffering from migraines.’

What can employers do?

The simple option for employers is to implement an eye care policy that provides an eye test for all employees. Dr Best said: ‘The Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations oblige employers to provide all screen users with eye care. It is likely, therefore, that employers are already providing access to the necessary preventative eye care, it may just be a case of communicating the benefits more widely, and Migraine Awareness Week provides the perfect opportunity.’

Coronavirus advice for employers

This hub page complies all the latest government coronavirus updates. It includes what you can and cannot do in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, workplace advice from multiple sources, including information on welcoming staff back to the workplace and the latest vaccination information.

It also contains a host of useful external links and resources to find further information.

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Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
3 years ago

Chicken and Egg conundrum in terms of mental / emotional stressors and/or visual stress / eye-strain exacerbated by poor display screen interface ergonomics. Those who experience Migraine aura, the visual disruptions either alone or as a warning of approaching migraine, know only to well, how distressing these events are and can include loss of balance, spatial awareness, even paralysis, risking mishaps, bumping into things, slips trips etc and not at all funny if driving. I for one, have never forgotten “the eternity” of three or four days curled up in a dark room with my head in a vice wishing… Read more »