Prolonged Use Of Digital Screens
Looking at a digital screen for a long time is the most common cause of eye strain. In this case, the condition is called digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.
When you focus on a screen, you tend to blink less often. This can lead to dry eyes, which may cause irritation.
The following scenarios might also worsen digital eye strain:
- excessive glare or reflection on your screen
- low contrast between the screen text and background
- digital screens placed at incorrect distances
- poor posture
Youre more likely to develop digital eye strain if you look at a screen for 2 or more hours without taking a break.
Your Eye Doctor In Wichita Discusses If Computer Vision Can Cause Headaches And Migraines
Staring at a computer, tablet or phone screen for long periods of time can leave your eyes feeling tired and strained, but it can also cause other symptoms. This condition, called computer vision or digital eye strain, can give you headaches or migraines. Knowing more about this condition and how to prevent it can help ease these symptoms.
Who Is At Risk For Migraines
While migraines are a common neurological condition that affects approximately 20 percent of the population, women are more likely to experience migraines. In fact, women in their twenties or thirties are three times more likely to be retinal migraine victims than men in the same age group.
What causes headaches behind the eyes?
Another common issue is headaches behind the eyes. While stress, eyestrain, and lack of sleep can lead to this type of headache, a frequent cause is actual eye problems such as astigmatism, presbyopia and far-sightedness. These problems left uncorrected, cause habitual squinting and put stress on the eyes, which puts tension on the eye muscles, resulting in a headache.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Migraine
The primary symptom of a migraine is a headache thats often described as pounding or throbbing. It can begin as a dull ache that can intensify to become severe. Some people also feel pain around their eyes, temples, sinuses, jaw, and neck.
Aside from a debilitating headache,other common symptoms of a migraine include:
- Tender scalp
The headache portion of a migraine attack can last fromfour hours to three days, although other symptoms may take up to a week to dissipate.
Why Does The Screen Cause Headaches
Thats the right question! Understanding the cause or causes of headaches allows us to reverse engineer relief.
Digital eye strain is as its name suggests the eyes become overworked and fatigue. As they do, headaches can flare. In addition, the American Optometric Association noted that uncorrected or under corrected vision problems make matters worse. Ocular abnormalities and eye problems often coexist with headaches. Discomfort in the forehead or a pain in the back of the skull is regularly experienced in those who have whats called refractive and binocular vision problems.
Desk posture and position is key, too. Tilting your head to see through your spectacles, for example, can result in neck and shoulder pain. In turn, this can lead to cervicogenic headaches that is, head pain caused by the neck. All of that leaning over your laptop screen isn’t great for your posture or your head!
Then there are migraines. These severe, throbbing headaches often come with visual and sound disturbances, nausea and vomiting. Light can worsen this type of headache. Sometimes people describe it as a sword is intermittently being stabbed through their brain – doesn’t sound fun, eh?
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Rule Out Other Culprits
If your headaches dont improve after taking some of these precautions, consider visiting your primary care physician, who can refer you to a neurologist or ophthalmologist. Other medical conditions such as migraines and sinusitis can cause headaches that feel like theyre behind the eyes.
Its always a good idea to visit the doctor if youre experiencing headaches all of the sudden, Dr. Martino says. Your doctor can rule out any underlying conditions that could be contributing to your headaches.
Light Sensitivity And Headaches
During a headache or migraine, you may be very sensitive to light, especially bright and flashing ones. Research shows that slow, flickering lights are more irritating than rapid ones. To avoid headaches caused by flickering light, try using anti-glare screens on computer monitors and daylight spectrum florescent bulbs.
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Are Some People Extreme Cases And Need To Go To The Dr
Do your headaches interfere with your life? If this is the case, you should seek professional support. There are options. Expert assessment, treatment and advice can be a game changer
Your chiropractor or osteopath will assess you and provide some advice. Your medical doctor will look for any underlying issues and may offer pharmaceutical pain relief.
Your Optometrist will determine whether an eye problem might be contributing to your headaches and provide advice on helpful steps.
There are also some red flags you should look out for. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, seek care promptly:
- Headache caused by coughing or moving
- Light sensitivity or vomiting
- Limb or facial weakness
- Sudden onset of severe headache
- New onset, especially if you are over 50
For most people, headaches dont indicate a dangerous cause. This doesnt mean that cant be incapacitating, annoying, tiresome or frustrating. You should not struggle through or accept this as a usual part of life. It is possible to stop or limit headaches related to your computer screen. The right approach, the right tools, and giving yourself permission to rest and recover can improve your quality of life and may even stop the pain. So make sure you look after yourself and take the steps needed to reduce these aches and pains!
How Can I Prevent Cyber Sickness
1. Take breaks
A good cure for motion sickness at sea is to stare at the horizon. The idea is that your eyes see the motion that your body is feeling, which helps quell the dizziness.
With digital motion sickness, you want to let your brain realise that you are not actually moving. If you begin feeling nauseous, try staring at a fixed point for a short period of time. Either through the window or on the wall should be good enough to signal to your brain that you are stationary.
The 20-20-20 rule can be a good way to remind you to take regular breaks.
Try going for a walk in the fresh air to increase your oxygen intake. This may also help to reduce feelings of nausea.
2. Chew gum
The repetitive motion of chewing gum may help to relieve the symptoms of cyber sickness. Keeping your jaw active can help your brain make sense of the conflicting signals between vision and balance.
3. Take deeper breaths
When we use screens we tend to take shallow breaths – also known as screen apnea. Lack of oxygen can leave you feeling lightheaded and can lead to symptoms of cyber sickness.
If you start feeling nauseous, try taking deep, controlled breaths. This will help to ensure you are getting enough oxygen.
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Can Computer Screens Cause Migraines
Have you ever been sitting at your computer screen for an extended period when all of the sudden you notice you have a horrible headache? Thankfully, thats not my experience. But, I do know plenty of people who suffer this exact experience and they often wonder, Can computer screens cause migraines?
Migraines are one of the most painful things a human being can experience. Ive been lucky enough to only have had one of them in my entire life. I wanted to see if computer screens and other screens could cause migraines and headaches. The answer I found is yes, its possible. Lets take a look into why this happens and how we can avoid it in the future.
Additional Health Tips For Working From Home
- Ensure you stick to a schedule. Get dressed and freshen up even if no one is going to see you
- Eat a proper lunch and take a proper lunch break away from your computer and phone
- Turn off your laptop at the end of the working day and step away from it. Separate work from home where possible by shutting the door or laptop screen
- Stay connected with your colleagues. Try phone or video calls to stay in touch and keep connected rather than email.
For further resources supporting employee wellbeing visit
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Top Tips For Reducing Computer Eye Strain
- Get a regular eye test. Tell your optician if your job involves spending a lot of time on the computer
- Ensure you are using the correct prescription of glasses, if required, for the computer work you will be doing
- Rest your eyes. Whilst sitting in front of your laptop look up from your screen every 15-20 minutes and focus on a distant object for about a minute. This helps to relax the eye muscles
- Try to make sure your room is well lit, but not too bright. Natural light is great, but ensure that strong sunlight isnt making you squint
- Reduce glare and reflections from your computer screen
- Make sure the font and image size of your screen text is adequate to read without hunching or squinting
- Reduce the amount of blue light your screen is emitting by changing the display settings, if possible
- Consider lubricating/soothing eye drops to help your eyes stay comfortable.
Migraines And Vision Ocular Migraines And The Connection Between Headaches And Eyes
Migraines are horrible. For those of you who have never experienced a migraine, youre one of the lucky few. Theres the pain, of course- throbbing, pounding pain. But then, you get the tag-along symptoms: nausea and sensitivity to light and noise. Migraine sufferers quickly learn on the second or third migraine that visual symptoms like wavy lines, flashing dots, and temporary blindness are usually the first sign of a migraine. Also, not all migraines are the same. Retinal or eye migraines, for instance, can occur with or without the accompanying headache, but they can still be just as painful.
Retinal migraines, or ocular migraines, are caused by the same inflammation as regular migraines. Inflammatory substances release deep inside the brain and around the blood vessels of the head and brain. While ocular and regular migraines affect vision, ocular migraines only affect one eye. Ocular migraine sufferers typically have a family history of migraine headaches.
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Tips On Preventing Computer Vision
You can take steps to prevent digital eye strain from occurring. One of the easiest ways to do so is by looking away from your screen from time to time, such as every 20 minutes, to give your eyes a break. Controlling the amount of glare on your screen can also reduce headaches and migraines caused by eye strain. You can also reduce these symptoms by sitting at a comfortable distance from your screen and having your vision checked. Keep in mind that vision problems that have not been corrected can contribute to digital eye strain and make symptoms of it worse. Having our optometrist check your eyes on a regular basis helps ensure that vision problems are diagnosed and corrected. We can also help you find relief from eye strain caused by staring at digital screens.
Visual Impairments Associated With Migraine Can Happen With Or Without A Headache
Ocular Migraine is a term that has been used to refer to a number of migraine subtypes that are characterized by a variety of visual disturbances including visual loss, blind spots, zig-zag lines, or seeing stars. Unlike other forms of migraine, they may occur without any accompanying head pain. Its not uncommon for a single patient to experience a wide range of visual symptoms. Heres what you need to know to better understand the migraine subtypes that affect vision.
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Staring At A Bright Smartphone Screen In The Dark
Have you ever noticed that your eyes struggle to adapt to a bright screen in low-light conditions? When we look at our cell phones at night, we risk bringing on health issues that are not as prominent in more appropriate lighting. In fact, even after just 20 minutes of screen exposure in the dark, we can experience significantly more symptoms of eye strainsuch as dry eyes, burning sensations, and light sensitivity.9 Next day headaches and fatigue are also common, some of which may also be mitigated by blue light exposure.
Amazingly, 90% of young people keep their smartphones next to their bed and use it during the night without any brightness or lighting adjustments. That makes this a more common problem than we may realize.
Is Too Much Screen Time The Cause Of Your Headache
Spending a large amount of time in front of a screen has become a societal norm, but all that screen time can take a toll on your health. Long days looking at a computer screen followed by even longer nights binge watching television can worsen any underlying headache problems you may have.
When you have a headache, the pain and pressure it causes in the head can make it difficult to function. Headaches may come on suddenly or develop gradually overtime resulting in sharp pain, a dull ache or a throbbing feeling. They may last a few hours to a few days.
Types of headaches
If you suffer from migraines a type of headache that causes severe throbbing or pulsing pain on one or both sides of the head screen time can aggravate any associated light sensitivity. Eye strain, brightness, blue light and screen flickering can be migraine triggers.
Another type of headache cervicogenic headache is when a problem in the neck causes pain in the head. Cervicogenic headaches often start at the base of the skull and radiate up one side of the head. Poor posture at your workstation can worsen cervical muscle inflammation and tightness, which can in turn exacerbate cervicogenic headaches.
Ways to prevent headaches
There are ways to prevent these types of headaches. They include:
When to see a doctor
Kevin Weber is a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an assistant professor of neurology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
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Having Poor Neck And Body Posture During Use
You might not think that the posture with which you look at your cell phone or mobile device would affect your eye strain or headaches, but that is just simply not true. For example, people with migraine often report that neck discomfort is at least a symptom of attacks and could even function as a trigger.7 Even without the presence of an underlying condition, neck and spine issues have been independently associated with excessive cell phone use.8 In addition, there is a unique condition called occipital neuralgia, which occurs when nerves in your spine become compressed and cause radiating headaches and other pain. Believe it or not, craning your neck to view your smartphone screen may lead to this scary issue!
How Can You Reduce Your Sensitivity To Phone Screen Light
Let’s face it: we don’t want to give up our smartphones because they are too much a part of our daily routines. Thankfully there are options for reducing your sensitivity to mobile screen light and decreasing the amount of headaches and eye problems you are experiencing. Below are a couple of articles that offer easy tips for big improvements.
1Kvanç, SA, et al. Relation between Smartphone Use and Unilateral Ocular Pain and Headache. Current Perspectives on Less-known Aspects of Headache. 2017 Apr 12 4:77-84. DOI: 10.5772/66624.
2Choi JH, et al. The influences of smartphone use on the status of the tear film and ocular surface. PLoS One. 2018 Oct 31 13:e0206541. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206541. eCollection 2018.
3Kim J, et al. Association between Exposure to Smartphones and Ocular Health in Adolescents. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2016 Aug 23:269-76. doi: 10.3109/09286586.2015.1136652. Epub 2016 Jun 2.
4Montagni I, Guichard E, Carpenet C, Tzourio C, Kurth T. Screen time exposure and reporting of headaches in young adults: A cross-sectional study. Cephalalgia. 2016 Oct 36:1020-1027. doi: 10.1177/0333102415620286. Epub 2016 Jul 19.
6M. Tatsumoto, T. Eda, T. Ishikawa, M. Ayama, K. Hirata. Light of Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cell Causing Migraine Headache Exacerbation. IHC symposium OR3. 2013 June.
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Your Monitor Is Below Your Eye Level
When youre working at a computer thats positioned way too low, youre probably looking down. Slouching in front of your desk all day can add excess tension to your neck and may result in a neck misalignment.
When misalignments in your neck exist, these can impede blood flow to your brain. Poor blood flow to the brain often equates to terrible headaches. And these headaches can progress into a full-blown migraine attack.
Is It Your Posture
Another possible link between screen time and headaches is that your posture may be to blame. Poor posture can lead to tension in your back and neck that can then lead to tension in your head. This results in tension headaches.
Try to correct your posture when working. And remember that TMJ can make tension headaches worse. Consider alternate treatment options if your screen-related headaches dont improve with eye exercises and breaks.
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Why Do I Feel Dizzy When I Move My Eyes Around
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo . This condition causes an intense and brief but false sense that youre spinning or moving. These episodes are triggered by a rapid change in head movement, such as when you turn over in bed, sit up or experience a blow to the head. BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo.