July 6, 2018
A common question posed to patients during an eye exam is if they are experiencing headaches. Headaches are the brain’s way of signaling the body that something is wrong and can reveal a lot about someone’s eyes and even their overall health.
Many headaches can be related directly to their visual system. Of our five senses, sight is most critical to humans. We rely on our vision more than anything else for information about the world around us. If our visual senses are not performing optimally, our brains send us a signal through the form of a headache.
The visual system has many components and the eyeballs are directly connected to the brain via the optic nerve. As the muscles responsible for focusing the eye become overworked and tired, it causes headaches. Headaches behind our eyes, above our eyebrows on our forehead and even in the back of the head are often eye-related and should be examined by a doctor. Taking breaks from screen time, wearing/updating eyeglasses and taking NSAID’s all can help.
Another type of a headache that is very common is a migraine headache. Migraine headaches originate in the neurological system and manifest in certain areas of the head. Migraines are not a serious medical emergency, but they can be debilitating. There can be lots of triggers for migraines, including foods and hormone changes, and there are medications and lifestyle modifications that can help.
There are other, more serious problems that headaches can indicate. If something is pressing on a nerve in the brain or head, it could trigger pain and sensitivity. Often, tumors will cause headaches. These headaches would necessitate a visit to your doctor and, of course, should be taken seriously.
Not every instance of a headache needs evaluation by a doctor. However, some general guidelines to follow: Any sustained headache that does not go away with rest or medicine, headaches that cause blurry or double vision, headaches that are accompanied by nausea or vomiting, headaches that you wake up with, and any type of a headache that is unusual or uncommon for you, it’s best to visit your doctor. You can also use EyeQue at home vision testing products to track if your headaches are truly causing vision changes (change in your refractive error or visual acuity). Whatever the symptoms are that are unique to your headaches, make sure to not ignore them, be proactive and test at home and seek medical care.
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