Headache or Migraine: Signals of Vision Problems
Headache, Neck And Shoulder Pain
Muscle tension can be bad enough on its own, but experiencing this tension in your neck, shoulders or upper back can also be linked to issues with your vision. These tense muscles press on the eye nerves located on the back of your neck, and the flow of blood to your eyes becomes restricted. This results in frequent headaches or migraines, as well as throbbing around your temples, nausea, vomiting and blurred vision.
The Relationship Between Vision And Pain
If you find yourself suffering from headaches or migraines (a severe type of headache that includes symptoms such as bright flashes in your vision, wavy lines or temporary blindness) on a regular basis, there could be a link between the pain you’re experiencing in your head and your vision. Many eye conditions (that develop with vision problems) force your eye muscles to work too hard, with this strain resulting in extreme headaches or migraines, though headache causes can vary in type and intensity.
With an ocular migraine (also called a visual migraine, retinal migraine or monocular migraine), vision loss can briefly occur in just one eye either during or after a migraine. These visual migraines can be extremely painful and are often accompanied by a throbbing sensation in the head. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light when experiencing an ocular migraine. This pain can increase when moving around, so it’s best to lie down until the migraine stops.
Anything that causes your eye muscles to strain or tense can cause pain for you elsewhere. Other eye conditions such as astigmatism (a common vision condition that causes blurred vision), hyperopia (farsightedness) and presbyopia (the inability to focus on close objects) can result in eye strain due to the eye struggling to see objects clearly. Another condition that can cause pain is glaucoma, which occurs due to a build-up of pressure in the eye, resulting in loss of sight.
Neck and shoulder pain can especially be linked to problems with your vision if you work at a computer for long periods of time. Often referred to as computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain, individuals who don’t have the correct posture when sitting in front of a screen can experience pain in their back, shoulders and neck. They can also find themselves with vision problems due to the position and glare of their computer monitors.
How To Prevent The Pain
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help prevent the type of neck, shoulder and back pain that can lead to vision problems. Identifying the causes of headache can help, as can examining the ways in which you sit when working.
If, for instance, you spend many hours a day sitting at a computer, try making a conscious effort to evaluate the way you work and the manner in which you sit. You can ask yourself these questions to evaluate yourself:
- Are you hunched over your keyboard?
- Are you sitting too close to your screen?
- Is your monitor placed at the correct height?
- Is your keyboard in a position where you can reach it comfortably?
There are also simple things you can do to reduce eye-related pain in your body.
- Ideally, you want your monitor to be at eye level or just below, with the screen being no closer to your eyes than 50cm (or an arm’s length).
- If you have a bigger monitor, you will need to adjust your position so you’re sitting even further away from the screen.
- If you wear bifocal glasses, you should lower your monitor, so you don’t have to tip your head upwards to see it properly. You can also switch to multifocal or progressive lenses like Varilux® for the same effect.
- Make sure you’re not straining to reach the keys on your keyboard or hunching over to type; both of these positions can result in back and neck pain, which in turn can trigger headaches or migraines.
The good news is that in many cases, headaches can be treated with prescription glasses to correct your vision, after which the pain should start to decrease. For migraines, lying down in a quiet dark room can help alleviate the symptoms. If these symptoms persist, however, you should get your eyes examined as soon as possible in case you have an undiagnosed vision problem that requires treatment.
If you haven’t had your eyes checked recently, it is important that you visit your optometrist to determine if you have any undiagnosed eye conditions or if you need glasses.
Suffering from recurring headaches?
Visit your nearest optometrist today and check if it is related to your vision