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Are Your Migraines Caused by Bad Eyesight?

Migraines can make anyone miserable, and anyone that suffers from them has no doubt quickly tried to discover what is causing them in hopes of alleviating the pain. There are many triggers for migraines, from flashing lights to loud noises. One of the most common causes of migraines are bad eyesight. Straining to see near or far can trigger the dreaded brain pain. If you are having trouble pinpointing what is causing your migraines, take into consideration your eyesight and your vision habits.

When people have bad eyesight, they often squint or hold items too close or too far away from their eyes. Over time, this can have a negative impact on your vision as it weakens the muscles and nerves. People don’t always realize how much their vision has changed over time. You may have had perfect vision as a child and young adult, but now you have trouble seeing. It’s normal for our vision to get worse as we age.

Reading or using a computer in bad lighting can also cause eyestrain. Other eye issues that may trigger a migraine are glaucoma or papilloedema (which is the swelling of the optic nerve).


Regardless of how you strain your eyes, eyestrain may be what is causing your migraines. Some easy ways to eliminate eyestrain as the trigger for your migraine is to address the causes of that the straining in the first place.

We often strain our eyes because we do not realize how weak our eye muscles have become. In this case, you may want to try some eye exercises to strengthen your vision. You can build eye muscle strength the same way you build your biceps or abs, through exercise and a healthy diet. Overtime, your vision will improve and your eyes will feel less fatigued and strained.

Another way to address eyestrain caused by working on a computer, which is known as Computer Vision Syndrome, is to give yourself much-needed breaks from the glare of the computer screen. Computer Vision Syndrome can cause your eyes to feel irritated, red, and dry in addition to being sore. Basically, for every 10 minutes of work you do in front of the screen, you want to look at something 10 feet away for at least 10 seconds.

If you use a computer all day at work, really try to spend time away from computer screens in your down time.

Overworked Eyes

Sometimes we have such demanding work and personal schedules that we unintentionally overwork our eyes. This is another possible trigger for migraines.

An easy way to combat overworked eyes is to relax them. One exercise you can do to relax overworked eyes is the Relax and Reset. It is a palming exercise that will not only allow your eyes to relax and rest, but it will also allow your mind and body to do the same. Essentially, all you have to do is take regular breaks from seeing. During your lunch break, find a quiet place to close your eyes and relax them. Gently rub your palm against your closed eyelids. If you work on the computer every day, it’s especially important to take breaks and rest your eyes.

All your other muscles get breaks when you sit down or stop moving; the eyes rarely get breaks besides bedtime. The combination of a relaxed mind, body and eyes should help combat any migraine that is trying to work itself to the surface.

Other Eye Conditions 

Two other eye conditions can trigger severe headaches: glaucoma and papilloedema.

Glaucoma causes the pressure to build up in the eye which leads to damage of the optic nerve. There are two main types of glaucoma, the open angle glaucoma and angle closure glaucoma.

The open angle is a slow build-up of the pressure over time, while the angle closure has a quick buildup of pressure which causes severe pain along and sometimes is accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Papilloedema is when the optic nerve swells because of other medical issues such as brain tumors or hemorrhages.

Both glaucoma and papilloedema are medical conditions that require medical treatment. Any headaches caused by them will not immediately be relieved until the conditions are addressed, even then it may require a lot of time before the headaches are completely resolved.

If glaucoma is the cause of your migraines, your physician will do a variety of tests to see how far along the glaucoma has progressed. They’ll measure intraocular pressure, test your optic nerve, measure corneal thickness, and inspect the drainage angle. In terms of treatment, there are a few things you can do at home to help. First and foremost, your diet can really make a difference. There are many vitamins and minerals that can help strengthen your eyes and even help prevent glaucoma. In severe stages, your physician may prescribe eye drops and medications.

If papilloedema is the cause of your migraines, you will likely be prescribed a diuretic. It’s common among people who are severely overweight, so your physician may recommend losing weight. You can do this by cleaning up your diet and ensuring you get the necessary nutrients every day. Exercise is also crucial to losing weight. In severe cases when losing weight doesn’t help, surgery may be needed. For example, draining an abscess in the brain or treating an infection could be possible solutions.

By making a few small lifestyle changes, you can not only rebuild your vision, but eliminate the pain and frustration that come with migraines caused by bad eyesight.

This post originally appeared on Rebuild Your Vision.


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