Headaches and migraines can be incredibly painful for those who are afflicted with them.  At times, they can be so debilitating that it becomes a challenge to even leave a dark room. There are many causes behind headaches and migraines, and since your eyes and brain are closely connected, there are direct impacts between some eye issues and headaches. Here are a few examples:

Changes in Eyesight

Simply put: You may need vision correction. Whether that’s a need for glasses or contacts, or an updated lens prescription, it’s important to make sure your vision is clear and sharp. When you’re struggling to see clearly, your eyes are constantly adjusting to create sharper vision. The constant adjusting creates additional eye strain, especially when trying to read up close, and could cause eye fatigue or headaches.

Strain and Fatigue

There’s a long list of reasons why your eyes could become strained or fatigued throughout the day. If you work long days on a digital device, you may start to experience discomfort—one reason being an increased exposure to blue light, which has been associated with eye strain. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a real thing, and those who experience it often feel eye strain, shoulder pain and headaches. It’s important to take frequent breaks from staring at digital devices, so your eyes can rest and rejuvenate.

Eye Conditions

Multiple eye conditions can cause discomfort and headaches, especially if they create pressure in your eyes or impact vision. For example, presbyopia is a decline in the ability to focus due to aging and the hardening of your eyes’ lenses, and could lead to headaches. Because of the vision challenges, it’s important to get the condition corrected or the additional strain could cause discomfort. Also, have you heard of ocular migraines? An ocular migraine is a condition where the blood vessels in the optic nerve at the back of your eye tighten and swell, resulting in various visual distortions. While they are not necessarily painful, they can feel uncomfortable.

If you’re experiencing headaches regularly, be sure to consult your VSP provider to see if there’s an eye issue causing your symptoms. And don’t forget to get your annual eye exam to keep your eyes healthy!


The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your eye care doctor or physician for actual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This article is the work of the attributed author and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of VSP. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.


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Dr. Matt Alpert is the owner and lead optometrist at Alpert Vision Care in Woodland Hills, CA.