What Is an Ophthalmoplegic Migraine?

Ask a Doctor

I’ve recently started getting really bad eye pain every couple days for the last month. I worry I have migraines. I’ve heard of migraines that affect only your eyes; maybe I have these ocular migraines? What is an ophthalmoplegic migraine?

Doctor’s Response

Ophthalmoplegic migraine is an old term that describes a rare condition of pain surrounding the eyeball and double vision that lasts up to a few months, caused by weakness and paralysis of the muscles surrounding the eyeball.

The condition is now referred to as recurrent painful ophthalmoplegic neuropathy, because the syndrome is not actually a migraine. It is classified as a type of cranial neuralgia (nerve pain).

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Bajwa, MD, Zahid H, et al. Overview of craniofacial pain. 27 April 2018. 2 January 2019 .