Could Migraines & Headaches Be Linked to Eye Problems?

It’s 2:00 pm. You’ve still got loads of work to do before the day is over. But a pretty hefty migraine has set in. Maybe you pushed through the first couple of times it happened, but this time your vision is being affected. Could your eye problems be linked to your headaches?

Vision is a pivotal part of your perception and, as such, is integrally linked to your nervous system. Changes in one affect the other, so eye problems might cause the migraines and headaches you’re experiencing. Here are three types of eye problems that may be linked to headaches and migraines.

  1. Can eye strain be causing my headaches or migraines?
    Probably most commonly associated with headaches and the onset of migraines is eye strain. Simply by overusing the muscles involved in vision focus, you run the risk of developing pain in the eyes and head. Activities that demand intense use of your eyes for long periods are normally the underlying cause, but eye strain could also be linked to general vision problems.

    If you read, write, drive, or work in low lighting for extended periods, then be sure to blink often and give your eyes a break every twenty minutes by focusing on something else for twenty seconds. This is especially important if you work at a computer or use your smartphone for more than two hours at a time.
  2. Monocular and Borderline Binocular Vision and Headaches
    Monocular vision is when someone relies almost exclusively on one of their eyes to see and binocular vision is when both eyes do not coordinate well together because one is misaligned or out of focus.

    These two conditions make certain types of viewing activities more difficult, especially anything about depth perception. If you have borderline binocular vision, watching a film in 3D might lead to nausea and can lead to eye strain that may result in a headache. The good news is, that there are eye doctors who specialize in binocular vision therapy that will help you strengthen the coordination between your eyes.
  3. What causes ocular migraines?
    Ocular migraines are painful, and they sometimes cause vision loss in one eye. Although uncommon, you may experience flashing lights, blind spots, and severe eye pain for short periods, alongside your normal migraine symptoms.

    In general, talk to your eye doctor about your symptoms, especially if blind spots do not go away after 30 minutes. People who have ocular migraines may be at a higher risk for permanent vision loss since they’re linked to the blood vessels and nerves at the back of the eye.

Other common eye problems that might also be linked to your headaches are astigmatism, far and short-sightedness, and even glaucoma. Even if you’ve already scheduled an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your headaches or migraines, it’s a good idea to also see your eye doctor. In an eye exam, your eye doctor can identify and help treat these underlying eye conditions.

Check the out-of-pocket cost headache off your list of things to worry about by using your VSP Individual Vision Insurance Plan. If you don’t have vision insurance, find out how VSP can help you save on your next visit to the eye doctor.


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