If you suffer from headaches or migraines, we may be able to help alleviate your pain. Eyestrain and stress tend to be blamed for many headaches, but there are a number of vision deficiencies that can actually be the cause:
- Refractive Errors – The need for glasses, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
- Strabismus – Any misalignment or turn of the eyes, whether visibly noticeable or not.
- Accommodative Insufficiency – The inability to focus or sustain focus for near vision such as reading.
- Convergence Insufficiency – Difficulty converging both eyes simultaneously to focus for near vision.
Up to 20% of the population is affected by either strabismus or convergence insufficiency, and their symptoms are the primary reason children are being misdiagnosed with ADHD.
Strabismus is defined as misaligned eyes, crossed or wandering eyes, or eyes that turn inward, outward, upward or downward. Though seldom obvious to the naked eye, these eye turns generally become more prominent with fatigue or close work. Headaches and other symptoms ensue because the brain receives conflicting messages with various angles from the eyes.
Convergence insufficiency hinders the learning process for approximately 13% of students, and nearly 80% of these children also have accommodative insufficiency. Both of these conditions involve trouble focusing the eyes together for near work such as reading. Consistent difficulty focusing is uncomfortable for the eyes and will produce headaches.
Other symptoms and behaviors that may accompany headaches with the above visual conditions include:
- Lack of attention span or fidgety – often leading to a misdiagnosis of ADHD or learning disability
- Takes a long time to do homework
- Poor comprehension for what is read
- Dislikes or avoids reading, school and homework
- Blurred or double vision, words seem to move around
- Itchy, red, watery eyes
- Squinting, tilting head, using finger to track words
- Fatigue, eyestrain
If you or your child suffers with headaches or migraines, we suggest a complete developmental vision evaluation with a developmental optometrist, which is much more extensive than a basic eye examination. We will test every aspect of your vision to determine if vision problems are the cause of your headaches.
If you are diagnosed with a vision deficiency that is causing your headaches, we offer several options:
- Glasses, contact lenses, or specialized frames – May be needed to correct refractive vision deficits. Nearsightedness (myopia) means a person cannot see far away clearly, whereas farsightedness (hyperopia) means near vision is more difficult. With hyperopia, computer usage, video games and reading can all be a struggle for the eyes to focus for any length of time – frequently causing headaches and eyestrain. People with astigmatism have oval-shaped corneas, making some words and objects blurry from different angles, again generating headaches.
- Photosyntonics or Colored Light Therapy – This process involves wearing specialized colored lenses for a certain length of time daily while staring at a light or lamp. Certain colors are more conducive to alleviating headaches, stress and tension.
- Vision Therapy – An individualized program tailored to improve your particular vision problem(s). Therapy generally includes computer games, vision charts, and activities using props such as balls, prisms, and other interesting items age appropriate. Our goal would be to retrain your eyes and brain to work together optimally, enhancing your overall vision and eliminating troubling symptoms such as headaches and migraines.
It is important to remember that headaches are a symptom of a problem, not a disease in and of itself. You can treat a symptom, but discovering its source is the only opportunity to cure it.
There are treatable conditions such as dry eyes and eye inflammation that can also cause headaches, as well as serious conditions such as tumors, glaucoma, temporal arteritis, and high blood pressure in the brain. Frequent complaints of headaches should never be ignored and should be addressed by a specialist.
If you or your child experience headaches or migraines, please schedule an appointment with us today. We have a proven track record of relieving our patients of headache pain. Instead of just treating the symptoms or suffering through an episode, let us help you find the root of the problem. If it is visual, we will do our best to get rid of your headaches forever.