Tension Headaches And Eyesight
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. They are the headaches you get when your boss tells you that report they said was due on Friday is actually due on Wednesday or when midterms approach and you havent begun studying yet or when the kids wake up screaming at five in the morning.
You know what Im talking about. These types of headaches can happen frequently depending on your stress levels and current health. Often, they manifest themselves as eyesight headaches.
Tension headaches can be caused by stress, a cold or flu, caffeine, alcohol, fatigue, and wearing the wrong prescription glasses or contact lenses. Theyre often not very severe. Will they annoy you and slow you down? Maybe, but they wont debilitate you like a migraine will but well get to that in a moment.
Symptoms of a tension headache include pressure around the forehead , a dull pain or throbbing inside your head and pain in the neck and upper back.
Women are more likely than men to suffer from headaches. Treating a tension headache can be easily done at home if it isnt severe. Taking aspirin occasionally to relieve you of the headache symptoms is quite safe. However, many medical professionals will warn against taking aspirin too often to cure your headaches.
Using aspirin as a crutch will eventually lead to more headaches. Your body will become accustomed to the aspirin that when the medication wears off, you will still be left with a headache.
One Can Affect The Other
Regardless of whether one does in fact cause the other or not, suffering from both dry eye and headaches can make things extra unpleasant. Some research indicates that migraine attacks can be longer and more severe in people who are also suffering from dry eye.
At the same time, people with migraines are more likely to experience dry eye, and dry eye can lead to a migraine taking on different qualities. In addition to lasting longer, migraines in dry eye sufferers can also come with feelings of nausea and sensory sensitivity, and may cause vomiting.
What Causes Ocular Migraines
Theyre thought to originate in a similar way as migraine headaches, by irregular electrical activity in the brain. Genetics play a role in who experiences migraines, and theyre also more common in women. Potential triggers include certain MSG-containing foods, harsh light, stress and changes in weather.
Although the root cause is the same, it is not known why some people experience migraine pain after visual disturbances and others dont or why the same person might experience both on different occasions.
It is quite common that as women get older, they might have fewer headaches and less pain but more of these auras, Dr. Estemalik says.
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Treatment For Headache Behind The Eyes
Treatment for headaches behind the eyes is based on the cause. However, one of the best treatments for any type of headache is to prevent it before it happens. This means avoiding triggers and acting fast at the first sign of pain.
Most people treat mild to moderate headaches with over-the-counter painkillers. These include acetaminophen, naproxen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Note: OTC medications should only be used occasionally. Although generally safe, they can trigger side effects, including rebound headaches.
Other remedies that help relieve the pain associated with most headaches include:
- Daily exercise
Cluster headaches are also treated with medications, including:
- Sumatriptan injections
Sinus headaches usually require antibiotics if related to an infection and decongestants to alleviate the sinus pressure causing the pain.
Additionally, symptoms can be managed by breathing warm, moist air and with warm compresses.
Headaches Related to Vision Issues
The pain from vision-related headaches might be eased by:
- Taking frequent breaks from screens
- Eyeglasses prescription update
Can A Sinus Infection Affect Your Eye
Can a Sinus Infection Affect Your Eye?
Absolutely! Sinusitis, otherwise called a sinus infection, occurs when pesky bacteria and viruses invade the sinus cavities located in the face. These spaces in the face can fill with mucous, and that mucous can become infected. Youll know when you have a sinus infection because the sinus cavities will be filled with fluids and youll feel pressure around them. Sinus Infections can affect your eyes in a few different ways.
One of the hallmark symptoms of a sinus infection is feeling pressure build up in your face. You may even feel pressure behind your eyes. Thats because, all the sinus areas Frontal, Ethmoid, Sphenoid, and Maxillary, sort of surround the eyes anatomically. The Ethmoid sinuses are located at the nose bridge and extend down the nose on each side of the nose, directly beside each eye. The Frontal sinus extends to the nose bridge above each eyebrow.
Our SmartDocMD online physicians currently offer diagnosis and sinus infection treatment online to anyone in the state of California. Our offices are based in the Bay Area but our service is available throughout the state. We are planning on expanding to other states, so check back for updates.
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How Do You Treat Visual Disturbance
Firstly, do not panic visual disturbances can be frightening, but in most cases are short lived. If you are driving or operating machinery, stop what you are doing and wait for the symptoms to go away. Make a note of your symptoms, how long they lasted and what you were doing just before they began. In most cases, there is a common trigger and keeping a diary of symptoms can help work out what the trigger is. Simply avoiding the trigger, where possible, may be all you need to do.
Common triggers include:
- flashing or flickering lights
What Do Visual Disturbances Look Like
- Black spots, threads, wiggly lines that float across your vision. We call these floaters. This visual disturbance can occur with or without flashes of light.
- Patches of shimmering light or flashing lights.
- Psychedelic colours, distorted colours and shapes, or kaleidoscope vision.
- Zig-zag patterns or dark spots in your vision.
These are all associated with visual aura of migraine.
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What Does A Headache Behind The Eyes Mean
Headaches occur in all parts of the head. Some even affect the neck and shoulders.
Its common for someone experiencing a headache to feel pain in their face, especially around or behind their eyes.
Headaches that affect your eyes might also affect vision and sensitivity to light.
Understanding what the location of your headache means can help you alleviate the pain and avoid the same type of headache in the future.
Most of the time, a headache behind the eyes does not mean anything serious. Sometimes its linked to vision problems or eye strain. However, its a good idea to seek medical attention if you frequently experience headaches that involve your eyes.
What Is Ocular Migraine
According to the American Migraine Foundation, about 25 to 30 percent of people with migraine experience aura, and less than 20 percent have it with every attack.
- sparkling or shimmering spots
- speech changes
Certain things, like bright or flashing light, can trigger migraine with aura.
An attack usually starts with a small spot that slowly expands. It might dart away when you try to focus on it. You may still see it when you close your eyes.
These can be disturbing, but theyre temporary and not usually harmful.
The attack typically lasts 20 to 30 minutes, after which vision returns to normal.
For some people, this aura is a warning sign that migraine pain and other symptoms will soon hit. Others have aura and pain at the same time.
An attack can also happen by itself, with no pain. This is called acephalgic migraine or silent migraine.
Migraine with aura isnt the same as retinal migraine, which is more serious. Retinal migraine happens in only one eye and can cause temporary blindness or in some cases, irreversible damage.
Having migraine with aura doesnt mean youre having a stroke or that stroke is about to happen. If you have migraine with aura, though, you may be at a higher risk of stroke.
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What Are The Acute Treatments For Migraine
An isolated visual migraine, without headache, typically does not require any acute treatment, since the visual symptoms resolve on their own fairly quickly. The first few times someone experiences a visual migraine it usually causes a lot of anxiety. Once someone has become familiar with the symptoms of a visual migraine, new episodes no longer cause the same level of anxiety.
It can be helpful to try to rest during the episode. Some patients benefit from other strategies, including eating something, having caffeine, or taking an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
Patients in whom the visual symptoms are accompanied by a severe headache often benefit from additional therapies. The goal of these medications is to try to cut short the headache before it becomes too severe. Some patients find naproxen , which is a stronger anti-inflammatory medication, to be helpful. Other patients try a class of medications known as triptans.
Triptans are specially designed to work on receptors on blood vessels and brain cells in order to halt a migraine at an early stage. Although there are a number of different triptans, made by several different pharmaceutical companies, each of these is approximately equally effective. Triptans are often taken orally, but also come as injections and nasal sprays. These medicines are generally not considered safe in patients with a history of strokes, heart attacks, or other vascular diseases.
How Can I Treat Migraines Without Using Medicines
It is very important to remember that many of the most effective preventive treatments for migraines do not require any medications. Frequent aerobic exercise is an excellent example of an effective way to improve headaches. Other strategies may include better sleep habits, stress reduction, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.
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Tracking Your Migraine Symptoms
Keeping a record of your migraine symptoms may help you figure out patterns and triggers to your attacks. It may be helpful to record such things as:
- When and where your pain or symptoms start
- Whether the pain spreads to your entire head or neck
- How well and how quickly acute treatment helps reduce the pain or other symptoms
- How long your pain or symptoms last
- Whether you experience other symptoms such as vision changes, nausea, or light sensitivity
Are Your Migraines Caused By Bad Eyesight
As the third most prevalent illness in the world, migraines are present in 25 percent of American households. Migraines can make anyone miserable, and anyone that suffers from them has no doubt quickly tried to discover what is causing them in hopes of alleviating the pain. There are many triggers for migraines, from flashing lights to loud noises. One of the most common causes of migraines is bad eyesight. Straining to see near or far can trigger the dreaded brain pain. If you are having trouble pinpointing what is causing your migraines, take into consideration your eyesight and your vision habits.
When people have bad eyesight, they often squint or hold items too close or too far away from their eyes. Over time, this can have a negative impact on your vision as it weakens the muscles and nerves. People dont always realize how much their vision has changed over time. You may have had perfect vision as a child and young adult, but now you have trouble seeing. Its normal for our vision to get worse as we age.
Reading or using a computer in bad lighting can also cause eyestrain. Other eye issues that may trigger a migraine are glaucoma or papilloedema .
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Comprehensive Eye Care For The Whole Family
Eye Medical Clinic has both optometrists and ophthalmologists on our experienced team of eye specialists. We have proudly served the Bay Area for more than 70 years and we are fully equipped to care for the eye needs of the youngest member of your family to the most senior member. Wed love to talk to you about your migraines as they relate to your vision and see how we can help.
We invite you to experience our expert eye care for every generation at Eye Medical Clinic. Our team, including experienced doctors John Sullivan, MD Mona Bagga, MD and Christina Nguyen Deane, OD, as well as a highly trained and dedicated staff, is dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullestwith the clear vision, you deserve. Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.
Headaches & Eye Problems
Headaches and eye problems are often closely related. Headaches can be both the cause and result of various eye problems.
The exact causes of many types of headaches are unknown, though many different triggers have been identified.
Different types of primary headaches have distinct links to eye problems.
- Migraine: Often accompanied by visual disturbances, migraines can cause severe light sensitivity and pain behind the eyes. They may be caused by exposure to bright lights that strain the eyes, among other factors.
- Cluster: This is a severe and recurring type of headache. Cluster headaches cause intense burning and piercing pain behind or around the eyes. They can also cause watery eyes, swollen eyelids, and sensitivity to light and sound.
- Tension: One of the most common types of headaches, tension headaches can cause a feeling of pressure behind the eyes as well as sensitivity to light. Eye strain is a potential trigger of tension headaches.
Unfortunately, the exact cause of each of these types of headaches is unclear. They are often due to a combination of factors.
Eye problems are rarely the direct cause of a headache. They are more often symptoms of a headache.
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How To Treat An Ocular Migraine
Ocular migraines are treated the same way as other migraines, and both medications and lifestyle changes may help to cut down symptoms and reduce the number of migraines you have.
Migraine medications fall into two categories: drugs that help stop migraines when they happen and drugs that prevent migraines.
Medications you can take when you get a migraine include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- NSAIDS with caffeine like Excedrin
- Prescription triptan drugs like sumatriptan or rizatriptan
Medications you can take daily to prevent migraines include:
- Beta-blocker medications like propranolol
- Certain antidepressants like amitriptyline
- Anti-seizure drugs including topiramate and Valproate
There are also new prescription monoclonal antibody drugs which may be self-injected monthly or every few months which have been effective for many people in preventing migraine.
Lifestyle changes are also a key way to prevent migraines. “I generally recommend that people maintain a routine lifestyle because the brain thrives on a regular routine,” Hindiyeh says.
Hindiyeh recommends several helpful lifestyle changes, including:
- Sleeping and waking up at the same time every day and avoiding naps
- Eating regular meals
- Doing some aerobic exercise every day where you get your heart rate up and sweat, like jogging or biking
It’s also important to avoid ocular migraine triggers like bright digital screens as much as possible.
Symptoms Of Retinal Migraine
The symptoms of retinal migraine may include:
- partial or total loss of vision in 1 eye this usually lasts 10 to 20 minutes before vision gradually returns
- headache this may happen before, during or after the vision attack
It’s unusual for an episode of vision loss to last longer than an hour. The same eye is affected every time in almost all cases.
Vision may slowly become blurred or dimmed, or there may be flashes of light. Some people see a mosaic-like pattern of blank spots , which enlarge to cause total loss of vision.
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Why Do Vision Changes Happen With Migraine
Doctors have a few ideas of what may cause vision changes during a migraine attack. Changes to electrical charges in the cortex of the brain may be the cause. Retinal migraine may be caused by the same electrical changes in the eye. Lack of blood flow to certain areas of the brain or eye may be the problem.2
More research is needed to find out what causes the visual changes that come with migraine.
Can Poor Eyesight Trigger Migraines
Poor eyesight is not commonly a trigger for migraine. Although it can cause eyestrain and headaches in some people. Poor eyesight isnt even in the top 10 most common causes of headaches!
Refractive errors, like astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia or presbyopia when uncorrected or under corrected can cause muscle tension. If you squint to see better, you are tensing the muscles in your forehead and around your eyes. Or you may find you lean closer to your computer screen, or lift your chin to try and see through the bottom of your spectacles. These changes to posture and muscle tension around the head, neck and shoulders is a very common cause of headaches. So, having up to date and properly fitting spectacles can actually reduce your muscle tension.
Despite this, when looking for the underlying cause of your headaches or migraines, having a full and thorough eye examination is still high on the list of priorities. Refractive errors may not be a common cause of headache or migraine, but they can contribute to the frequency and intensity of the head pain. There are also other eye related conditions that can cause visual disturbances or headaches such as Angle Closure Glaucoma and Age Related Macular Degeneration.
What about in children?
If you experience migraine headaches, we recommend consulting your doctor and/or eye care professional. They can help you get to the cause and come up with a treatment plan.
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