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Headaches and The Eye
Headaches are very commonly experienced by us humans. They arise from many causes across many systems of our body and also mind. The causes may range from trivial to grave in their seriousness. Following are common causes of headaches arising from Eye Problems

1) Refractive Errors ( having glasses)
Headaches can occur when people don’t use glasses which they may be having or using wrong glasses ( under corrected or overcorrected glasses). Typically such headaches are not present after rest as in waking up after a night’s sleep. As the day progresses, the headache builds up and may be worst by the evening. It may also worsen on reading or watching TV. It is usually relieved by rest or after night’s sleep. Such type of headache should prompt a person to get an eye check up for glasses and use appropriate glasses. Often, glasses got from optical shops directly may also be inaccurate and cause headaches. So it is better to get tested by an eye doctor or an optometrist.

2) Glaucoma: Rise of Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
Eye pressure rises can be Acute ( sudden) or Chronic (persistent). Sudden rise of Eye pressure occurs in Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma in which, typically in evening hours there occurs a headache and accompanied by an eye ache on one side ( Right or Left eye) which may be associated with seeing rainbow colored haloes from that eye, redness of eye and reduction of vision. This may occur for a short while with low intensity and also disappear on its own as night comes on ( Intermittent Angle Closure). Or it may persist, intensify and cause a worst kind of headache and eye pain (like an attack) associated with vomiting or nausea ( Acute angle closure). Earliest assessment/ treatment by Eye doctor is required. The pressure rise in chronic type (Open Angle Glaucoma) is usually painless but sometimes vague headaches for no reason occurring in middle age or later may point to its presence.

3) Muscle Imbalance
The two eyes normally work together. Some problems in this binocular harmony ( Technically called Phorias, convergence insufficiency, accommodative insufficiency……… don’t worry if you can’t understand these terms) may cause headaches ,esp in children and young adults. Your eye doctor will help.
There are other diseases where eye is not the cause of headache but is involved or associated in the disease process like migraine, rise of pressure in the brain, etc but that is a different topic and is not the focus of this Tip

Dr. Pradeep Sheth, M.S.; FRF


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