Headaches are a common problem for people of all ages. They can range from not so severe and occasional to debilitating headaches that occur as often as every day. There are a variety of causes for headaches, but a significant one is eye problems. If you are someone who experiences frequent headaches, a vision problem could be the source of your pain.
How are Eye Issues Related to Headaches?Eye Strain
With today’s modern technology, most people spend hours a day looking at a screen. Because of this, digital eye strain has become a common issue. Although, technology is not the only cause of eye strain. Eye strain is the result of over-focusing on any specific thing and overusing the muscles in your eyes for extended periods of time. One typical symptom of eye strain is a headache. Other signs to look out for if you think you may be experiencing eye pain include light sensitivity, watery eyes, and blurred vision.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests the “20-20-20” rule to combat eye strain. This involves resting your eyes every 20 minutes by looking at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.Astigmatism
Headaches are a common symptom of astigmatism. When you have astigmatism, your cornea has an irregular shape similar to a football. Because of this irregularity in the eye, you are forced to strain your eyes to compensate for your impaired vision. This straining tends to lead to headaches and tired eyes. Some additional symptoms of astigmatism are dry eyes or uncorrected vision issues like nearsightedness or farsightedness.Ocular Migraines
An ocular migraine is a headache that is accompanied by vision issues. Ocular migraines lead to temporary vision loss in one eye. The migraine generally lasts about an hour before vision returns to normal. Sometimes, these headaches are the result of reduced blood flow or blood vessel spasms near the eye. They can also be triggered for migraine-prone people by simple things like flashing lights, caffeinated beverages, or artificial sweeteners.Cataracts
Cataracts are a common vision problem. They occur when proteins in the eye come together to create spots that cloud areas of the eye lens. Over time, they grow and continue to worsen the vision in that eye. As the eye has to work much harder to see clearly with a clouded spot, headaches are not an unusual symptom. Just like with digital eye strain, as the eye has to overuse its muscles, headaches often follow.Glaucoma
Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged by a group of eye conditions caused by pressure in the eye. Severe headaches are one of the most common symptoms of glaucoma. This type of headache is usually felt around the eyes and forehead and can be accompanied by nausea as well. Headaches are actually one of the few signs that occur when you have glaucoma.
There are a variety of other eye conditions that can be the underlying cause of headaches, including:
- Hyperopia (long-sightedness)
- Presbyopia (hardening of the lens)
- Giant Cell Arteritis (swelling of arteries in the temple)
- Incorrect Prescriptions
Most of the above conditions create symptoms that lead to squinting or excessively straining the eyes which ultimately leads to a headache. The best steps you can take to prevent these types of headaches is to keep your glasses or contact prescriptions updated, use them as directed by an eye doctor, and attend a yearly eye exam.
Headaches that Cause Eye Problems
Just as eye problems may be the cause of some types of headaches, the other way around can be true as well. Certain types of headaches are actually the result of eye problems:
- Cluster headaches are recurring headaches that result in severe pain in or around the eyes. Sometimes these headaches even cause watery or swollen eyes. Even though the cause for cluster headaches is unknown, they are one of the most severe types of headaches.
- Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and create pain behind the eyes and sensitivity to light that ranges from mild to severe.
- Migraines are often accompanied by vision disruptions like flashing lights. They also create a severely painful sensation behind the eyes.
If you experience frequent or severe headaches, an eye exam is essential. Whether it is to determine the cause of your headaches or vision problems, it is important to be aware of what you are experiencing and how to fix it. This is especially true for headaches that are the result of eye problems. It is critical to catch eye conditions early so that you can treat them before they worsen or create permanent effects.
Medical Arts Eye Clinic & Optical is here to help you maintain healthy vision and create the best plan to help with whatever you may be experiencing. Give us a call today or schedule an appointment and we will help you meet all of your eye and vision care needs.