Everyone gets headaches. Most of the time they’re mild and go away before you know it. But sometimes they hit you like a ton of bricks and cause your vision to become blurry.
Cluster headaches and migraines are notorious for producing temporary changes in vision during an episode.
But did you know that visual problems can cause headaches and migraines or make them worse?
At Eye Health Centre in St. Albert, we offer relief to patients who suffer from vision-related headaches and other visual problems related to neurological issues.
Can Visual Problems Cause Headaches?
Absolutely! Headaches can result from an untreated visual problem or underlying eye condition.
One of the most common causes of vision-related headaches is eye strain. Struggling to maintain focus or overworking your eyes in any capacity can bring on a splitting headache.
Symptoms of eye strain include blurry vision, dry eyes, eye fatigue, head pain behind and around the eyes, light sensitivity and irritated eyes.
Binocular vision dysfunction (BVD) is a leading cause of eye strain. It results from the eyes’ physical misalignment, harming their ability to work in unison.
A person's two eyes move and focus as a team when their visual system is healthy, allowing them to see clearly and comfortably. If their eyes are even slightly misaligned, the eyes send 2 different images to the brain. The brain struggles to combine these two distinct images and responds by trying to force the eyes to work together. This results in eye strain, headaches, eye fatigue, double vision and/or blurred vision.
Problems with visual skills are another underlying cause of headaches. Our eyes rely on 17 key visual skills to function properly. A neuro-optometrist is trained to identify which visual skills may be underdeveloped and strengthen the weaker visual skills with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.
After spending time in front of a digital screen or studying for an exam, you may experience headaches or blurry vision. These symptoms could indicate a problem with your visual skills, including convergence, pursuits, depth perception, and peripheral vision.
Headaches are also very common after sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) like a concussion, or after surviving a stroke. These conditions can cause mild to severe changes in the visual system, often leading to persistent headaches, blurred vision and other challenges that make daily life difficult.
Other vision problems that can lead to headaches include:
- Ocular ischemic syndrome
- Closed-angle glaucoma
- Corneal infection or disease
- Herpes zoster (shingles)
- Eye inflammation
Fortunately, treating the medical condition or correcting the vision problem can often improve or resolve headaches.
How Can a Neuro-Optometrist Help?
Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can be viewed as a gym for your visual system, where the eyes and brain learn to work together.
Through repeating and mastering several personalized visual exercises and possibly the use of prisms or therapeutic lenses, your eye-brain connection will be stronger than ever — and your headaches and blurred vision will likely improve.
Neuro-Optometry in St. Albert
If you suffer from chronic or occasional headaches, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation with our neuro-optometric team, contact Eye Health Centre in St. Albert today.
Our practice serves patients from St. Albert, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, and Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta and surrounding communities.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Sophie Jobin
Q: How can you tell if your headache is vision-related?
A: The best way to determine whether your headaches are rooted in visual dysfunction is to ask your eye doctor for a functional vision evaluation. During this comprehensive assessment, your neuro-optometrist will evaluate your visual and ocular health, and test several key visual skills. In the event that a visual deficit is identified, we may recommend a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program tailored to the patient's needs.
Q: Which visual problems can neuro-optometric rehabilitation treat?
A: Neuro-optometry can effectively treat a wide range of visual disorders and deficits, including binocular vision dysfunction, double vision, eye strain, convergence insufficiency, strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), visual field loss, visual neglect, tracking and scanning difficulties, and focusing problems. A person can be born with these conditions or result from a concussion or other type of head injury, an eye injury, tumor or a stroke.
If you or a loved one are experiencing visual symptoms after a stroke or a head injury, do not hesitate to contact us.