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Can Bad Eyesight Cause Headaches

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Did You Know That Headaches And Blurred Vision Could Indicate You Have A Undiagnosed Eye Condition

Headaches due to eye problems – Dr. Anupama Kumar

When blurred vision and a headache are experienced at the same time it can be frightening, especially the first time it happens.

Blurred vision can affect one or both eyes. It can cause vision to be cloudy, dim, or even peppered with shapes and colors, making it difficult to see.

If a headache occurs with or causes blurred vision, it may be due to an underlying condition or medical emergency.

Contact an eye doctor near you if you experience blurred vision and a headache at the same time, as it can be a sign of a serious condition.

Ways That Astigmatism Causes Headaches And What To Do About It

Headaches are widespread complaints year-round. People develop headaches for various reasons, including stress, fatigue, hunger, excess alcohol consumption, poor posture, and seasonal allergies. Vision problems are one common cause of headaches. Headaches are a known possible side effect of astigmatism.

If you have astigmatism, it means that your cornea is misshapen in a particular way in this case, like a football. With this condition, your eye wont be able to focus light evenly on your retina, resulting in distorted or blurry vision that forces your eyes to strain to see more clearly. There are several factors associated with astigmatism that can lead to the development of headaches.

  • The distorted vision itself
  • The underlying cause of headaches related to astigmatism is eye strain. Whether you have blurry vision when looking at close or distant objects, your eyes work harder than average to focus. The eye muscles may contract too much, physically fatiguing the eye and triggering headaches.

  • Squinting or straining
  • When you cant see clearly, you may find yourself squinting to sharpen what youre seeing. Squinting for long periods can cause spasms in the muscles around the eyes and other facial muscles, and these spasms can lead to headaches.

  • Poor night vision
  • Signs Of An Eye Strain Headache

    • Develops after prolonged eye activity. Eye strain headaches appear after you focus on something for a long time. They wont develop when you wake up or if you havent been reading, watching, or focusing on something for a period of time.
    • Pain gets better with rest. Typically, an eye strain headache will subside once you rest your eyes.
    • No digestive discomfort. Unlike other types of headaches, eye strain headaches are rarely associated with vomiting or nausea.
    • Pain behind your eyes. The pain is usually located behind or around your eyes. The area might feel sore or tired.

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    What Causes Migraine Pain

    Research is still ongoing, but migraines are thought to likely be caused by a phenomenon called cortical spreading depression . This is a process that happens in the brain, more specifically the cortex, when these brain cells are over stimulated.

    This stimulation affects the production of serotonin and other brain chemicals. Serotonin then stimulates the trigeminovascular system. This system controls the brains blood vessels, causing them to swell.

    Swollen blood vessels do two things:

    • Push on neighbouring nerves causing the sensation of pain.
    • Force the blood to travel through much smaller than normal spaces, making the pulsation of the blood more prominent.

    With changes like this happening to the vessels inside our heads, it isnt all that surprising that people often describe the pain as throbbing or as a feeling of pressure inside their head.

    Eye Conditions That Trigger Blurry Vision And Migraines

    Can Eye Strain Cause Bad Headaches

    Homeeye careEye Conditions That Trigger Blurry Vision and Migraines

    An American Migraine Study conducted in 1999 says that in the U.S., 38 million people are living with migraines, out of which 44% people suffer from migraines due to vision changes and blurred vision.

    Its normal for our vision to deteriorate as we age. However, not many people realize that their eyesight may have gone from bad to worse with age.

    When we have trouble seeing, we may either squint or hold things too far or too close to them. While doing so, we may weaken our eye muscles and nerves without the slightest inkling that we may be having a bad eyesight.

    The result can be blurry vision and migraine. Read on to understand what cause migraines that are vision related.

    Also Check: How To Help With Migraines

    How Is A Headache Treated

    Convergence Insufficiency

    To treat this condition, the pediatric ophthalmologist may prescribe a trial of patching with reading. The patch overcomes any strain induced by attempting to use the eyes together. If reading improves or if the headaches decline in frequency, magnitude, or duration with an eye patch, then the eyestrain induced by the effort to focus is being relieved.

    Treatment for this condition is aimed at avoiding the problem or increasing reduced convergence amplitudes. If the child holds reading material too close to the face, then the reduced convergence amplitudes will cause eye fatigue/headaches in a shorter time frame. Therefore, holding reading material further from the face often is helpful. Exercises can be done to improve reduced convergence amplitudes. Convergence amplitudes are measured using a prism bar. When the amplitudes fall well below the normal range, exercises should be done. The exercises normalize reduced amplitudes. Relieving convergence insufficiency is the single most useful application of eye exercises.

    Accommodative Insufficiency

    Migraine

    The best treatment for migraine includes reassurance, avoidance of precipitating factors, abortive therapy, and prophylactic treatment. Abortive therapy includes rest with or without the use of acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory drugs, or antiemetics. Prophylactic treatment, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or antidepressants, may be indicated for frequent, incapacitating headaches.

    Are Headaches And Vision Problems Linked

    Even though eyesight problems probably are not causing your headaches, some health issues are known to cause vision problems and headaches simultaneously. For example, people who experience headaches and eyesight problems could have:

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    Can Wrong Glasses Cause Dizziness

    A pair of glasses that are fitted too tightly can cause both headaches and dizziness. The wrong prescription can cause similar problems. The good news is you shouldnt have permanent problems as a result of a prescription that isnt accurate.

    What Is An Aura

    Can Dry Eyes Cause Headaches

    Aura is a sensation that occurs before the migraine. It can also occur before other brain conditions too, like seizures. In a migraine, the most common auras are visual flashing lights, zig zag patterns, blurred vision or patches of shimmering light. Often described as psychedelic in appearance. Other auras can be olfactory , auditory or physical like the feeling of a breeze, numbness, weakness or difficulty speaking.

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    Whats The Connection Between Eye Strain And A Headache

    When you look at objects or screens at a close range, the muscles in and around your eyes need to work harder to focus. Over time, these muscles can get sore and tired, just like any other muscle in your body.

    Similarly, squinting for a long period of time may trigger spasms in your facial muscles and the muscles around your eyes. These spasms can lead to eye strain headaches.

    To identify the cause of your eye strain headache, consider what you were doing before your symptoms developed. This will help you determine how to reduce discomfort.

    Lets take a closer look at some of the most common causes of eye strain headaches.

    Do Eye Problems Cause Headaches

    Because chronic migraines can be so debilitating, it makes sense that people who suffer from them are eager to figure out the root causes in an effort to make them stop. While headaches can be the product of any number of factors, including stress, medication, hormones and caffeine consumption, eye problems can absolutely be a critical component in causing migraines. The optometrists at Access Eye review some of the eye-related issues that could be the source of your pain:

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    Do I Need To Have My Eyes Checked If My Head Hurts

    A red eye typically warrants immediate eye examinationat least the first time. Eye pain or headache with a normal external appearing eye nearly always has another answer than the eye itself when anyone seeks medical attention. The eyes deserve an exam to evaluate the nerves in the eyes and the optic discs when headache or eye pain is present. This is to eliminate increased pressure in the head and/or eye as a cause.

    Many people will begin their quest for trying to find the cause for their headaches by seeking medical care with the ophthalmologist or optometrist. In fact, most eye pain does not result from an eye problem. Pain in and around the eye usually reflects referred pain from headache. Referred pain is pain that radiates from its originating location to another site. There are a few eye conditions that are important to consider.

    What Is An Ocular Migraine

    Swollen Eyelid

    An ocular migraine is a severe headache that causes temporary vision changes. These changes can include light sensitivity, light perception, seeing wiggly lines or squiggles, flashing lights and blind spots. These vision changes during a migraine are collectively called aura symptoms.The two types of ocular migraines include:

    • Migraine with aura

    • Retinal migraine

    A migraine with aura impairs your vision, in essence causing bad eyesight. You may see stars, patterns, blind spots or flashing lights. Interestingly, migraine with aura does not always involve a headache. Sometimes you only notice the vision changes. Other times you notice the symptoms while suffering intense head pain.About one-fourth of people who get migraines suffer this type. But only about one-fifth experience these specific ocular migraines with every painful attack.Retinal migraines involve vision changes or bad eyesight in only one eye before the headache occurs or during the pain phase. Retinal ocular migraines are particularly symptomatic when compared to aura. If you suffer this type, you may experience decreased vision and flashing lights. You can even suffer temporary blindness.Your type of migraine requires a doctors diagnosis, particularly to distinguish between aura or retinal ocular migraines.

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    How Is A Headache Prevented

    Routine eye examinations with a pediatric ophthalmologist are recommended to ensure that any significant eye abnormalities are diagnosed and treated appropriately.

    To prevent migraine headaches, such precipitating factors as stress, chocolate, nitrates, certain cheeses, and monosodium glutamate should be avoided. Additionally, in girls, oral contraceptives may worsen migraine headaches.

    References

    Honig PJ, Charney EB. Children with brain tumor headaches. Distinguishing features. Am J Dis Child. 1982 Feb 136:121-4.

    Hupp SL, Kline LB, Corbett JJ. Visual disturbances of migraine. Surv Ophthalmol 1989 Jan-Feb 33:221-36.

    King RA. Common ocular signs and symptoms in childhood. Pediatr Clin North Am 1993 Aug 40:753-66.

    Mapstone T. Brain tumors in children. In: Tomsak RT, ed. Pediatric Neuro-ophthalmology. Newton: Butterworth-Heinemann Medical 1995:79.

    McManaway JW. Management of common pediatric neuro-ophthalmology problems. In: Wright KW, ed. Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book l995:63.

    Moore A. Hydrocephalus. In: Taylor D, ed. Pediatric Ophthalmology. London: Blackwell Scientific 1990:499.

    Nelhaus G, Stumpf DA, Moe PG. Neurologic and muscular disorders. In: Kempe CH, Silver HK, O’Brien D, eds. Current Pediatric Diagnosis and Treatment. Los Altos: Lange Medical Publishers 1984:653.

    Troost BT. Migraine and other headache. In: Duane TD, Jaeger EA, eds. Clinical Ophthalmology. Philadelphia: Harper and Row 1997.

    About the Author

    Could The Cause Of Your Headaches Be Digital Eye Strain

    Its 3 p.m., and you start to feel a dull ache behind your eyes. Youve noticed this happens most weekdays when youre at work. Once you get home and rest on the couch, the headache vanishes.

    If you feel a dull headache behind your eyes after staring at your computer screen for several hours, chances are you could be experiencing something called digital eye strain.

    Digital eye strain occurs when you spend too much time staring at a screen, and it can result in everything from headaches and neck tension to dry eyes and blurry vision. Plus, its fairly common: According to the Vision Council, over 27 percent of people have experienced headaches as a result of digital eye strain.

    With the rise of technology, were seeing more patients come in who experience headaches following long periods of screen use. Patients who suffer from migraines are also identifying screen use as a trigger for their migraine attacks, says Regina Krel, M.D., director of the Headache Center at Hackensack University Medical Center.

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    Headaches & Eye Problems

    Headaches and eye problems are often closely related. Headaches can be both the cause and result of various eye problems.

    The exact causes of many types of headaches are unknown, though many different triggers have been identified.

    Different types of primary headaches have distinct links to eye problems.

    • Migraine: Often accompanied by visual disturbances, migraines can cause severe light sensitivity and pain behind the eyes. They may be caused by exposure to bright lights that strain the eyes, among other factors.
    • Cluster: This is a severe and recurring type of headache. Cluster headaches cause intense burning and piercing pain behind or around the eyes. They can also cause watery eyes, swollen eyelids, and sensitivity to light and sound.
    • Tension: One of the most common types of headaches, tension headaches can cause a feeling of pressure behind the eyes as well as sensitivity to light. Eye strain is a potential trigger of tension headaches.

    Unfortunately, the exact cause of each of these types of headaches is unclear. They are often due to a combination of factors.

    Eye problems are rarely the direct cause of a headache. They are more often symptoms of a headache.

    What Should I Bring To My Eye Examination

    What can cause eye pain and headache in early teens? – Dr. Elankumaran P

    You should bring your vision insurance and medical insurance information to your eye exam. If you currently wear any prescription lenses, bring your eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses.

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    Dr. Kristin Bever has been my optometrist of choice for four years now. She is professional, thorough, and considerate, and she takes her time with me to answer questions. Recently, when I needed to be seen right away, she saw me that same day, reassured me what I experienced was normal, and referred me to an ophthalmologist should I have further concerns. This spoke volumes to me. Most importantly, I believe when I leave her office I have the correct contact lenses or glasses for me. I truly believe optometry is both medical science as well as art and she employs both to serve her patients.! Julie Franklin

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    Does Bad Eyesight Trigger Migraines

    Untreated bad eyesight, such as if you struggle to read traffic signs or squint a lot to see, can worsen over time. With vision problems you can also suffer eye strain that triggers a migraine. This makes it very important for migraine sufferers to maintain good eye health by seeing an eye doctor for regular eye exams. If you suffer migraines, you should also wear your glasses or contact lenses as prescribed and avoid negative practices like reading in low light.Some eye health conditions like glaucoma can also trigger migraines. Glaucoma involves a build-up of pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. To prevent migraines triggered by this condition you must undergo glaucoma treatment.

    How Are Blurred Vision And Headache Treated

    Treatment will depend on the cause of your blurred vision and headache. Each condition will involve different medications and treatment regimens.

    In cases involving emergency conditions, your first responsibility is to get medical attention as quickly as possible. Your medical team will then be able to advise you of treatment options.

    Your doctor will choose tests to diagnose conditions quickly that require emergency care or urgent care so that treatment can be started. They will then decide on further evaluations and treatments.

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    Common Eye Problems That Cause Headaches

    Here are some of the most common eye problems that can lead to headaches:

    • Eye Strain: How many hours a day do you spend looking at the computer, working in low light, or driving? These activities can result in eye strain, which often manifests as headaches. During your eye exam, we will discuss your lifestyle and any activities that demand intense use of your eyes for prolonged periods.
    • Ocular Migraines: Not only do these migraines result in a splitting headache, but they can also cause temporary loss of vision in one eye. Talk to an eye doctor if you have other corresponding symptoms such as flashing lights, severe eye pain, or blind spots when a migraine occurs.
    • Impaired Vision: Squinting or straining throughout the day can cause tension and pain in the head. You might not realize that you are having a hard time seeing until you solve the problem with vision correction lenses. Headaches can be caused by both nearsightedness and farsightedness when these conditions are left untreated.
    • Eye Disease: Certain types of eye diseases can cause headache symptoms.

    If you are experiencing headaches, one option for treatment is to visit with your eye doctor. Our experienced team can evaluate your vision and eye health to determine if any issues are contributing to your headaches. This diagnosis process is critical to ensure an optimal treatment plan for your needs.

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