March 20, 2013

Headaches can certainly interrupt the flow of your day! Though some are idiopathic in origin (meaning, we don’t really know what causes them), many can be caused by outside factors, including eye strain. There are many common eye problems which can bring on headaches, including astigmatism, hyperopia or presbyopia, and glaucoma. For this reason, recurrent, especially painful, and/or vision-impairing headaches should be diagnosed as early as possible. For example, a condition called acute angle closure glaucoma can cause severe eye pain/headaches in addition to vision loss. If this is not treated in an expedited timeframe, vision loss can be permanent and irreparable.

Ocular strain can be the cause of headaches; subconsciously, we focus harder when trying to compensate for uncorrected vision. This is one of the reasons why having an up-to-date glasses or contact lens prescription can be essential for eye comfort. Further, the extent to which we use computers, smart phones, and tablets can increase our eye strain; as we discussed in our blog post on dry eye, computers can be detrimental to tear film as we tend to blink less when performing staring activities.

Headache symptoms can present (in relation to the eye) as: tearing, ocular redness, ptosis (eyelid drooping), pupil size changes, blurred vision, and pain or discomfort in and/or around the eye(s). Any presentation of a headache can be cause for some concern; when they become recurrent, it is usually best to follow with your primary doctor, your eye care doctor, and/or a neurologist as headaches can denote severe problems which can require medical attention.