Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress and lack of sleep. However, one often overlooked cause of headaches is vision problems. If you find yourself experiencing headaches or migraines on a regular basis, it may be worth considering whether your vision is playing a role.
Here are some signs of vision headaches, aka ocular migraines:
Chronic Eye Strain
If you find yourself squinting or straining your eyes to see things clearly, it could be a sign that your vision is causing your headaches. Eye strain headaches are not uncommon after reading or computer use; if you find that your headaches are most severe after you’ve been reading, working on a computer or doing other activities that require you to focus and refocus your eyes for long periods of time, it could be a sign that your vision is responsible.
Symptoms of eye strain include headaches, fatigue, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms can occur after spending long hours staring at a computer screen, phone or tablet. The blue light emitted by these devices can also disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia and other sleep-related problems.
If you find that bright lights or the sun cause you to squint or experience headaches, it could be a sign of a condition called photophobia, or light sensitivity. Photophobia, which literally translates to “fear of light,” is a condition that causes sensitivity to light and can be caused by a number of things. Contact lens wearers sometimes report sensitivity to light. About 80 percent of people who experience migraines have photophobia, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Blurred vision can be a sign of a number of vision problems, including:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Temporal arteritis
- Optic nerve problems
Each of these are conditions that can be a predominant cause of eye strain and result in vision headaches.
It’s important to note that vision headaches can be a symptom of a more serious condition such as a brain tumor, aneurysm or stroke. Therefore, if you experience vision headaches on a regular basis, or if you experience other symptoms such as weakness or numbness, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Certain medications can also cause vision headaches. For example, some medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause changes in blood flow to the eyes, leading to vision headaches. Similarly, some medications used to treat depression or anxiety can also cause vision headaches.
An incorrect corrective lens prescription may also create vision headaches, since glasses or contact lenses too strong or too weak can unnaturally alter your focus and place strain on the eyes.
Solutions for Vision Headaches
In addition to taking regular breaks and adjusting screen settings, there are other things you can do to reduce the risk of eye strain. These include:
- Blinking frequently: Blinking helps to moisten the eyes and reduce dryness.
- Adjusting the lighting: Reduce glare by lowering the brightness of the screen and the surrounding area.
- Utilizing an anti-glare screen: An anti-glare screen can help reduce glare and improve contrast.
- Using artificial tears: These can help to lubricate the eyes and reduce dryness.
- Getting regular eye exams: Regular eye exams can help to detect any underlying problems that may be contributing to eye strain.
It’s also important to take care of your eyes by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and taking regular breaks when working on a computer or reading. In addition, it is important to keep your computer screen at a comfortable distance and angle, and avoid staring at the screen for long periods of time.
Treat Vision Headaches With Complete Eye Care of Medina
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They will be able to perform a comprehensive eye exam and determine whether your vision is causing your headaches. If they do find a vision problem, they will be able to provide you with the appropriate treatment, which could include glasses, contacts or even surgery — plus personalized recommendations for reducing the risk of eye strain and improving your vision.
Complete Eye Care understands how it feels to want more from your vision. We can help diagnose and treat your symptoms to keep you seeing clearly and headache free. Schedule your appointment today.