We’ve all had it. A sudden headache that seems to pop up out of nowhere, rendering the most routine tasks unpleasant—even impossible. What many people don’t know is that visual problems can cause mild to severe headaches.
Certain Vision Problems May Cause Headaches
If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, certain eye conditions may be causing your pain:
- Strabismus: (also called visual misalignment or crossed eyes) when the eyes aren’t lining up with each other and produce images in double vision
- Binocular vision dysfunction: when the eyes’ line of sight don’t match, and the eye muscles strain to produce a focused image
- Presbyopia: commonly referred to as age-related farsightedness, it is characterized by the difficulty in reading small text up-close. This is caused by the thickening of the eye’s natural lens.
- Astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness: when a misshapen cornea produces blurred or distorted vision and difficulty seeing either near or far-off objects
A note of caution.
If your headache is severe, something far more serious may be occurring. A sudden, severe headache may be a symptom of a stroke or a sight-threatening eye condition that requires immediate medical care.
This can include:
Acute angle-closure glaucoma: This occurs when fluid pressure builds inside the eye, leading to severe headaches, eye pain, blurry vision, and seeing halos around lit objects.
Giant cell arteritis: This occurs when the blood vessels’ inner linings swell, restricting blood flow. Symptoms include decreased vision and throbbing pain in the temples.
Get to the Root of Your Headaches
A comprehensive eye exam by a neuro-optometrist is the best way to determine whether you have visual challenges that could be causing your headaches. This eye exam checks for so much more than visual acuity; it often evaluates eye tracking and eye teaming, focusing, depth perception, oculomotor control, visual processing, peripheral awareness, and visual-vestibular integration.
If the exam shows that visual problems are at the root of your headaches, Dr. Allison Mckelvey will provide a comprehensive treatment plan to strengthen your visual skills, such as neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. This can help you improve the way your eyes and brain communicate by utilizing prism lenses, and a variety of personalized eye exercises. Doing so often improves balance, coordination, and cognitive abilities, and can also reduce eye strain and alleviate (or even eliminate) vision-related headaches.
If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, visit Dr. Allison Mckelvey for a thorough assessment of your symptoms, and to determine whether they're being caused by visual problems. If so, we'll offer treatment to alleviate your pain. We’re here to look out for your vision.
Vision Therapy Center at Dry Eye Center of Alabama serves patients from Birmingham, Vestavia, Homewood, Mountain Brook, and throughout Alabama.