Health + Prevention

Why Can Vision Problems Cause Headaches?

Millions of people suffer from headaches. No other ailment is as widespread. What many people don't know is that a new pair of glasses can help.

1 January 2022
  • close up of african young woman touching her head

Dull pressure behind the eyes, throbbing in the temples or a light pounding at the top of the head – there is hardly anyone who has not suffered from headaches. Many people just reach for a pain reliever, while others sit it out until the pain goes away on its own. Many sufferers could be helped if they went to an eye care professional to have their vision tested because when you don't see well and should ideally be wearing glasses, you will often suffer from headaches.

It's as if your brain has come loose and is knocking against your skull every time you move. This is how people suffering from headaches often describe their symptoms. Millions of people worldwide – women, men and children – regularly suffer from painful numbing or pressure or sharp piercing pains which affect their concentration at work and in school and even place strain on family life. Finding a remedy means improving your quality of life. And that is often easier than most people think, because a visual impairment is frequently the cause of headaches.

When left uncorrected,  farsightedness (hyperopia), in particular,  strains the eyes causing headaches. Often you get both eyestrain and headaches after reading or using the computer for a long time. This is because it is especially tiring for far-sighted people to hold images in sharp focus. In trying to see clearly, the lens has to adjust (which is called “accommodation”). The biggest problem is that many people are far-sighted without knowing it because their eyes can make up for it to a certain degree. The constant effort or straining to always see clearly causes headaches, which people often fail to link to problems with the eyes.

Less common but also a cause for headaches is undiagnosed but latent strabismus, or misalignment of the eyes. People with strabismus have to put their eyes under enormous strain to keep them parallel so as to see clearly.

Typical symptoms of headaches that can occur due to far-sightedness or a slight strabismus often only appear after a while, particularly just after long reading sessions or long hours spent on the computer. If headaches then occur, you get double vision, or your vision goes blurry temporarily, it is probably due to vision problems. A thorough eye test at the eye doctor can determine whether far-sightedness or strabismus is the cause.

The good news is: a perfectly fitted pair of glasses with eyeglass lenses individually suited to the wearer can correct far-sightedness with optimal results. Headaches will then quickly be a thing of the past. Latent strabismus can also be treated with glasses that have prescription prism lenses (by using a special form of eye measurement for prescribing prism glasses).

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