20/20 Magazine: Eye, Brain, Migraine?

The visual cortex is the part of the cerebral cortex that receives and processes sensory nerve impulses from the eyes. It is located in the occipital lobe in the back of the brain. A recent article on sciencealert.com reports a study that may link disturbances in the visual cortex to migraines. The University of Birmingham, UK, conducted the relatively small study, but in the 29 volunteers who suffered from migraines, the visual cortex was found to be more excitable and more responsive in a series of tests. Study participants were shown a striped grating pattern and then asked to rate how uncomfortable it was to look at, and to log any other visual phenomena associated with looking at it. Electroencephalogram (EEG) tests were used to track and record the brain waves of the volunteers. The migraine sufferers showed a larger response in their visual cortices during both the pattern and EEG experiments. Read More