Loss of peripheral sensitivity to blue light observed in migraine patients

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Short-wavelength sensitivity deficits are seen in about half of patients with migraine, between migraine events, according to a report in the February issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Chris A. Johnson and colleagues, from the Legacy Clinical Research and Technology Center, Portland, Oregon, used short-wavelength automated perimetry (SWAP) and Stiles 2-color increment threshold procedures to examine short-wavelength sensitivity in patients with migraine. Twenty-five patients with migraine, with and without aura, and 20 age-matched controls underwent standard automated perimetry (SAP) and SWAP.

The investigators observed no significant differences between the groups for mean deviation or pattern-standard deviation for SAP. For SWAP, however, migraine patients had worse mean deviation and pattern-standard deviation (p = 0.04).

Twelve migraine patients (48%) had at least four locations with sensitivity worse than the 5% probability level, the team reports. Of these, six had unilateral deficits and six had bilateral deficits.

"In two migraine patients (one with and another without aura), the 2-color increment threshold procedure was used to determine whether sensitivity losses were specific to short-wavelength sensitivity pathways or a generalized loss to multiple pathways," the authors explain. The results "indicated a selectively greater loss for short-wavelength sensitivity mechanisms."

"These findings, in conjunction with previous results for SAP and flicker perimetry, suggest that migraine patients should be excluded from normative databases of visual function, and warrant further investigations of the relationship between migraine and glaucoma," Dr. Johnson and colleagues conclude.

Arch Ophthalmol 2002;120:154-161.

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