Everybody gets a headache every now and then, and usually they’re nothing to worry about. If you’re having headaches more than once a week, however, it might be time to see your optometrist. The connection between vision and headaches is real, and it can often reveal the solution to a chronic problem.
Vision and Headaches
Headaches are one of the most common ailments in America. Most of the time, they’re no big deal. Chronic headaches are another issue entirely. The World Health Organization estimates that one in twenty adults experience a headache nearly every day. If you have chronic headaches, you know they take a toll on you. They make work difficult, they make a social life a burden, and they even make it hard to maintain employment and meet other obligations.
If this sounds familiar, you owe it to yourself to try and find a solution to your headache issues. The good news is that for the vast majority of chronic headache sufferers, a primary care physician is able to provide the care they need. However, if your doctor can’t pinpoint the issue, they may call in an optometrist for a second opinion. This is because vision and headaches are closely linked. If more serious problems are ruled out, ask your optometrist about these issues.
Sometimes, instead of your vision affecting a headache, it can work the other way around. Migraines are severe headaches that are typically accompanied by light sensitivity, nausea, and sometimes even dizziness and vertigo. One of the most frightening symptoms of migraines can be the “aura,” or the visual disturbances that accompany some migraines. These can be floating lights, flashing, or a dimming of vision. These effects can last up to an hour or more.
Some people think that poor eyesight is a migraine trigger, but in fact, poor vision rarely if ever causes migraines. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t discuss them with an optometrist. Nobody is exactly sure where migraines come from, but they can be symptoms of more serious eye and brain-related conditions. Migraines can signal the onset of glaucoma, astigmatism, and other eye problems. If you experience them, your optometrist should be aware.
When people say poor vision causes migraines, they are often actually talking about eye strain. Eye strain is a type of tension headache that occurs when you focus your eye muscles intensely for long periods of time. For example, did you know that Americans spend up to 11 hours every day looking at screens? Between work, play, and checking our cell phones, we’re working our eye muscles harder than we ever have before!
As a result, some people are experiencing sore and irritated eyes, and pain in their head, neck, and shoulders. In severe cases, you might even experience double vision or blurred vision for an extended period of time. If you suspect you have eye strain, you should see an optometrist right away. You may need a new prescription or a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses to wear during your screen time.
Monocular and Binocular Vision
This is a lesser-known cause of headaches, and it can occur when one or both eyes are struggling to focus on a regular basis. Monocular vision means that a person relies mostly on one eye to see, and binocular vision means that a person uses both eyes, but they are poorly coordinated (i.e., a “lazy eye”).
If you have this issue, you might encounter headaches in situations where both eyes are required to focus, such as a 3-D movie. If you notice you often get headaches in these situations, you should speak to your optometrist about eye training. Corrective lenses and other therapies can address this issue effectively.
These are a few of the situations where vision and headaches are linked, but they aren’t the only ones. If you aren’t sure where your headaches are coming from, you should ask a qualified optometrist about your specific situation. Help may be an eye appointment away.
Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!