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Experiencing Headaches? Visual Problems May be Causing Them

Experiencing Headaches 640We’ve all been through it: A headache that seems to pop up out of nowhere and suddenly makes the most routine tasks unpleasant, even impossible. What many people don’t know is that visual problems can cause mild to severe headaches. Dr. Sophie Jobin will conduct a comprehensive examination to determine whether visual problems are the cause of your headaches, and if so, offer treatment. Read on to discover what triggers vision-related headaches and how we can help you find relief. 

Visual Problems That Can Cause Headaches

Digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome, is a frequent cause of headaches. Staring at a computer or cell phone screen for long periods of time can strain our eye muscles, to the point where our vision gets blurry and our head hurts. Furthermore, headaches, shoulder, neck, and back pain can result from the improper placement of the computer screen. 

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, here are some conditions that may be causing your pain:  

  •   Strabismus, also called visual misalignment or crossed eyes: when the eyes aren’t lining up with each other and produce images in double vision
  •   Binocular vision dysfunction: when the eyes’ line of sight don’t match, and the eye muscles strain to produce a focused image
  •   Presbyopia: commonly referred to as age-related farsightedness, when the eye’s natural lens thickens and becomes less flexible with age. Small text is harder to see up-close
  •   Astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness: when a misshapen cornea produces blurred or distorted vision and difficulty seeing either closeby or far-off objects
  •   A note of caution. If your headache is severe, something far more serious may be  occurring. A sudden, severe headache can be a symptom of a stroke or a sight-threatening eye condition that requires immediate medical care. Two such eye conditions include: 
  •   Acute angle-closure glaucoma: This occurs when fluid pressure builds inside the eye, leading to severe headaches, eye pain, blurry vision, and seeing halos around lit objects.
  •   Giant cell arteritis: This occurs when the blood vessels’ inner linings swell, restricting blood flow. Symptoms include decreased vision and throbbing pain in the temples.

Treating the Visual Problems That Can Cause Headaches

A comprehensive eye exam by a neuro-optometrist is the best way to determine whether you have visual challenges that could be causing your headaches. Neuro-optometrists have undertaken specific training to analyze whether your headaches have a visual basis. Their eye exams go beyond the 20/20 sight test and often include eye tracking and eye teaming, focusing, depth perception, oculo-motor control, visual processing, peripheral awareness, and visual-vestibular integration.

If the exam shows that visual challenges are causing your headaches, we will be able to structure a comprehensive treatment plan that might include specific optical lenses, vision therapy, and advice on effective lifestyle changes. Vision therapy is a customized regimen of exercises that improve the eye-brain connection. 

Vision therapy utilizes prism lenses, personalized eye exercises, and often, computer-based games. In vision therapy, we’ll work with you on improving the way your eyes and brain communicate. Doing so can often improve balance, coordination, and cognitive abilities. Vision therapy reduces eye strain and can alleviate or even eliminate vision-related headaches.   

If you’re having headaches, visit Dr. Sophie Jobin, who will thoroughly assess whether your symptoms are being caused by visual problems, and if so, treat the problem and alleviate your pain. We’re here to look out for your vision.

Eye Health Centre serves patients from St. Albert, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Fort Saskatchewan, and throughout Alberta. 



We’ve all experienced headaches that seem to pop up out of nowhere. 

What many people don’t know is that visual problems can cause mild to severe headaches.

Eye strain is one common cause of headaches. 

Untreated visual problems like astigmatism, strabismus, binocular vision dysfunction, nearsightedness and farsightedness can also bring on headaches. 

Vision therapy can help.

Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today.