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Eyes and Headaches Are Often Linked

Headaches can have a number of causes you wouldn’t expect, like an uncorrected vision problem.

If you live with frequent headaches, it would be well worth your time to schedule an eye exam, if only to rule out a vision problem as the cause. Not all headaches are tied to vision and not all vision problems cause headaches, but there is a significant amount of overlap between the two.

Headaches and Digital Eye Strain

We enjoy many benefits from modern technology, but it can also cause us problems. One of those can happen after hours of staring at bright screens every day (whether for fun or work), and that’s digital eye strain. Symptoms of digital eye strain include blurred vision, tired and aching eyes, difficulty focusing, and even frequent headaches.

Screens aren’t the only way to get eye strain. An untreated vision problem like farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, or age-related farsightedness (presbyopia) can put a lot of stress on the eye, forcing it to try to compensate for the problem. In the case of astigmatism, the cornea is abnormally shaped, bending light in ways it shouldn’t and forcing a lot of squinting. The excessive squinting alone can contribute to headaches.

With hyperopia and presbyopia, the eye’s lens makes nearby objects look blurred by focusing images slightly behind the retina instead of directly against it. Trying to read small print with either of these eye problems can become a literal headache, and the older we get, the less flexible the lenses of our eyes become, making it an increasing issue even for people who never needed glasses before.

Even Kids Can Get Headaches From Eye Problems

A child with an undiagnosed vision problem is just as vulnerable to frequent headaches as an adult. That’s just one reason why every child should receive a comprehensive eye exam from an actual eye doctor before starting school (as opposed to a vision screening from the school nurse). Kids are even less likely to make the connection between their headaches and an eye problem than adults, and it could drastically impact their education and development.

The Right Prescription Makes a Difference

Changes in vision tend to happen so gradually that we don’t notice for months or even years that our old glasses aren’t doing the trick anymore. Most of the time, vision-related headaches could be due to something as simple as an outdated contact lens or glasses prescription.

Sight-Threatening Conditions and Headaches

A link between eyes and headaches might not always be as simple as an outdated prescription. Headaches are also a symptom of glaucoma, an eye disease in which pressure building up against the optic nerve causes permanent vision loss. Cataracts can also cause headaches. The best way to stop sight-threatening conditions in their tracks is by catching them early through regular eye exams.

An Eye Exam Could Save You a Headache!

Finding time for a regular eye exam is worth it no matter how busy our schedules become, especially if you’ve been suffering from frequent headaches and have no idea what is causing them. We can either identify the cause of your headaches or cross eye problems off the list of potential causes when you come in for your next appointment.

We love seeing our patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.