Headaches can be caused by a wide range of problems, but many people find that certain visual activities can trigger or worsen headaches. Many times, these headaches can be relieved with glasses or contact lenses. Sometimes vision training exercises are necessary to reduce vision-related headaches. It is also important to rule out more serious health problems that could be causing your symptoms. If you or a family member are frequently experiencing vision or eye-related headaches, it may be time to visit your optometrist. They can check to see if one of the common conditions listed below are the causes for your headaches.
Farsightedness and Presbyopia
Farsightedness and presbyopia are two common forms of refractive error that cause eyestrain and headaches. Farsightedness, also called hyperopia, is a vision condition in which close objects are more difficult to see than objects in the distance. Similar to farsightedness, presbyopia is a vision condition that affects most people in their 40s that results in blurred vision while looking at close objects. These two vision conditions have different causes, but both can result in significant eye strain and headaches, especially during visually demanding tasks like reading fine print. Both farsightedness and presbyopia can be easily identified during a routine eye examination and can be treated with corrective lenses. An accurate prescription for glasses or contact lenses can effectively reduce eyestrain and prevent vision-related headaches caused by these refractive conditions.
Binocular Vision Problems
Binocular vision problems refer to a broad group of eye conditions that are the result of the eyes not working well together. These vision problems can arise if the eyes do not move accurately or efficiently, if the eyes are misaligned, or if the focusing system of the eye is weak or overactive. These binocular vision problems most commonly cause symptoms of eye strain or headaches in school-aged children, and can even negatively affect academic performance if left unaddressed. Some binocular vision problems can be treated with a specialized prescription for glasses, while others may require vision therapy to address the problem. Vision therapy uses specific eye exercises to treat the underlying binocular vision problem and can help reduce the frequency and severity of vision-related headaches. If your child complains about headaches or eye fatigue while doing school work, or has the tendency to lose their place or fall asleep while reading, they may need a comprehensive eye exam to test for the presence of a binocular vision problem.
Eye Problems and Systemic Health Concerns
Some headaches can be the sign of a more serious health concern. If these headaches affect the front or sides of the head, it can be easy to confuse them with eye-related headaches, but they may actually not be related to your eyes or vision at all. For example, health conditions such as high blood pressure, vascular disease, or increased intracranial pressure can cause headaches, and sometimes these headaches are associated with visual disturbances or vision changes. While your optometrist can oftentimes help identify the cause of these headaches, it is important to work with your primary care provider to treat both the headaches and their underlying cause.