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What Do Eyes Have to Do With Headaches?

Frequent headaches could be a symptom of an uncorrected vision problem.

That’s right, if you experience a lot of headaches, it would be worth your time to schedule an eye exam. Not every headache is tied to a vision problem, and not all untreated vision problems result in headaches, but the connection between the two is significant.

Eye Strain and Headaches

Thanks to modern technology, we tend to spend hours a day looking at bright screens, and a common price we pay for these fabulous conveniences is digital eye strain. Typical symptoms include blurred vision, tired and aching eyes, difficulty focusing, and — you guessed it — frequent headaches.

Eye strain doesn’t have to come from screens, either. A vision problem like hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness), or astigmatism tends to put a lot of strain on the eye as it attempts to compensate. In the case of astigmatism, the cornea is shaped abnormally, so it bends light in ways it shouldn’t, leading to a lot of squinting. That alone can sometimes contribute to headaches.

With hyperopia and presbyopia, the lens of the eye focuses images a little bit behind the retina instead of right against it, which makes nearby objects look blurry. Trying to read small print quickly turns into a headache, sometimes literally. The older we get, the less flexible the lenses in our eyes tend to become, so this can even happen to people who never needed glasses earlier in life.

Eye Problems Can Be a Headache for Kids Too

Kids with undiagnosed vision problems are as susceptible to frequent headaches as adults are. That’s just one of many reasons why every child should have a comprehensive eye exam with a real eye doctor, not just a school nurse with a big E chart. There could be a vision problem besides basic refractive errors (like nearsightedness or farsightedness) causing them headaches, but kids wouldn’t be able to make that connection for themselves.

The Wonders of a Correct Prescription

The changes in our vision tend to be gradual enough that they’re hard to notice. It might take months or years to really register how much harder it is to see distant details or read up close. Most people who experience headaches related to vision problems simply need an updated prescription for their glasses or contacts!

When Headaches Are Tied to Sight-Threatening Conditions

The connection between eyes and headaches isn’t always as simple as an outdated prescription. One symptom of glaucoma (an eye disease that involves the buildup of pressure against the optic nerve, resulting in permanent vision loss) is headaches, and cataracts can also cause them. Cataracts develop as the proteins in the lens clump together, clouding the vision. Regular eye exams are essential for catching sight-threatening conditions early on.

An Eye Exam Is No Headache!

We all have busy schedules and it can be hard to find space for something like an eye appointment, but it’s worth it, especially for anyone suffering frequent headaches with no idea what’s causing them. Why not cross eye problems off the list of possible causes by scheduling your next eye exam?

We love seeing our patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Important Insurance Changes

Dear patients, After much consideration, we are making a change with Vision Service Plan (VSP). As of October 1, 2021, Redmond Eye Doctors is moving from "in-network" to "out-of-network". The continuing changes in your VSP insurance and restriction placed on us as providers has been frustrating. We considered many options, and the choice was clear. Being independent of managed care plans will allow us to provide the level of care you have come to expect from Redmond Eye Doctors, without restrictions or limitations from your vision insurance. While we may not be "in network" with VSP, we want to take care of you! We offer many discounts to patients when payment is made on the date of service.

  • Discounts on routine vision exams that includes a comprehensive eye health check and glasses prescription.
  • Discounts on glasses made with quality, independently owned frame manufacturers and lens labs. 20% OFF your first pair, 30% OFF all additional pairs.
  • Seasonal specials - like our Annual SunSational Sale and Computer Blues Sale.

We are happy to provide all the forms and receipts to self-submit for out of network reimbursement. Also, vision plans have no effect on medical visits such as dry eye treatments, diabetes exams and glaucoma checks. We are still part of most major medical plans. For more information on how this will affect your specific situation, please call us at 425-885-7363.