What Eye Problems Cause Headaches?

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. You pushed through it the first couple of times in the past, but this time your vision is being affected. Could problems with your eyes be linked to your recurring pain?

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 problems with your eyes quite logically, might cause the headaches you’re experiencing.

Eye strain

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 is 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.

Monocular and borderline binocular vision

About 5% of the American population has monocular vision. That means, they rely almost exclusively on one of their eyes to see. Another quarter of the population has borderline binocular vision, where 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 pertaining to depth perception. If you have borderline binocular vision, watching a film in 3D might lead to headaches or nausea. The good news is, there are eye doctors who specialize in binocular vision therapy that will help you strengthen the coordination between your eyes.

Ocular migraines

Ocular migraines are the worst of the worst in the headache category. That’s because, not only are they painful, but they also 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. If you have ocular migraines, you 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 conditions might also be linked to your headaches. Astigmatism, far and short-sightedness, and even glaucoma, are a few examples. Even if you’ve already scheduled an appointment with your primary care physician, it’s a good idea to also see your eye doctor. They will identify and help treat these underlying conditions.

Use your VSP Individual Vision Insurance Plan to schedule an eye exam with your doctor. If you don’t have vision insurance, find out how VSP can help you save on your next visit to the eye doctor or pair of glasses.