What Eye problems cause Headache
By: Frankie Wallace
A red or swollen eye will have you running for the eye doctor. When it comes to other issues like headaches, you may not even realize your eyes are to blame. There aren’t any external symptoms, after all, so why would you think there’s something wrong with your eyes?
Headaches can be related to eye or vision issues, even if it’s not apparent at first. Vision problems can also result from migraines. Here are explanations on how vision and headaches can be related, and some suggestions for improving common eye issues.
What Eye Problems cause Headaches
If there’s pressure in your eyes or head, it can affect the eyes’ nerves and optic discs, which can cause eye pain or headaches. Your eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine if this is the cause or to rule pressure out.
If you have headaches as well as vision problems, it’s possible there’s a problem with the cornea or lens of the eye, which makes it hard to focus. If this is happening, the muscles in your eyes may be straining to compensate, which can cause headaches.
If you have pain around your eye that feels like a headache, you may assume it’s eye-related since it’s in that vicinity. However, pain in the eye area can originate from a headache – it radiates from the original site to the eye area.
You May Need Reading Glasses
If you spend a lot of time reading or on the computer and you’ve had an increased number of headaches lately, it could be that your eyes are straining as you read.
Eye fatigue is when your eyes have a hard time focusing. You’ll notice it most when you read a book, look at print on a computer screen or try to make out what it says on a menu. This doesn’t always mean you need regular glasses – you and your doctor may find that reading glasses will offer the help you need.
Presbyopia and Headaches
Presbyopia is a vision disorder that occurs in many people as they age, and it’s something to watch out for past the age of 35. This condition makes it difficult for the eye to focus when it’s close to an object. You may notice that you can no longer focus on small print or that you have to hold a book farther from you when you read. You may also feel eye strain or headaches. Your eye doctor may suggest regular glasses or reading glasses.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer vision syndrome refers to eye problems and vision issues that stem from spending a lot of time on digital devices like computers, tablets and smartphones. Looking at a digital screen for a long period of time can cause vision issues, eye strain and headaches. You may also experience neck or shoulder pain. The more you look at a screen, the worse the symptoms can get.
However, a lot of people have to spend several hours a day on a computer for work. In order to keep your eyes healthy and save yourself from a pounding head, try to take a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes. During those 20 seconds, look at something that’s about 20 feet away.
Reducing your screen time can also improve dry eye, which is a condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to lubricate your eye well enough. The risk of dry eye increases with age, and women are more susceptible to dry eye than men.
Here are a few more things that can help:
Add better lighting to the room.
Use an anti-glare film on the screen.
Move the device closer to you if you’re trying to see it from too far away.
Visit your eye doctor to see if you’re suffering from poor vision, which could make it difficult to focus on the screen.
Headaches That Cause Vision Problems
If your headaches or migraines are causing vision problems, that’s another reason to visit your eye doctor. For examples, some migraines are preceded or accompanied by auras, which is when you see light streaks or sparkles. If you experience an ocular migraine, you could lose vision in one of your eyes temporarily.
Headaches Unrelated to Eye Problems
It’s important to know when your headache is not connected to eye health. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s unlikely that your headache is eye-related:
You’re having a tension headache, which feels like there’s a tight band putting pressure on your head.
Your headache is there when you wake up or it wakes you up from sleep.
You have nausea or vomiting along with the headache.
If you’re having headaches and your eye doctor has ruled out an eye issue, you may want to visit your regular physician. A common symptom of a brain tumor is getting headaches, so you would never want to ignore a headache that’s persistent, increasingly painful or accompanied by vomiting.
Visit Your Eye Doctor
You should be seeing your eye doctor for regular checkups. Adults who are at high risk for developing eye issues (age 55 and up) but who don’t have any vision problems yet should get a checkup every year or so. If you’re between the ages of 40 and 54, you can get away with going less frequently, but try to get there every two to four years.
If you wear contacts or glasses, have eye disease in your family history, or have any sort of chronic disease, ask your eye doctor about how often you should visit.