Are Your Vision and Eye Health Causing Migraines?
Submitted by Elman Retina Group on June 9, 2023
Frequent headaches can be caused by a headache disorder, such as migraine disease, or may be due to an undiagnosed eye condition. If you have recurring migraine-like headaches with or without visual symptoms, an eye exam is essential in determining the cause of your head pain. Schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists in Baltimore to discuss your eye health and head pain.
Migraines are known for their visual symptoms, called the migraine aura, which may occur before the pain sets in. Zigzagging lines, shimmering lights, and light flashes are common with visual aura, which may not always come with head pain. Ocular migraine is a headache disorder that causes temporary vision loss in one eye and typically goes away within an hour. It mimics severe eye conditions, which is why it’s crucial to see an eye doctor if you have blind spots in your central vision that start small and expand.
Eye Strain Headaches
Eye strain happens when the eyes are used for too long with a lot of intensity, such as staring at a screen, reading a book, or doing detailed work for hours. Eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome, often comes with a headache and other symptoms, such as fatigue, dry eye, and blurry vision.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause increased intraocular eye pressure. While open angle glaucoma is the most common form, it typically doesn’t present with early symptoms and is the “silent thief” of vision because it causes gradual peripheral (side) vision loss. Closed-angle glaucoma happens when the drainage system in the eye suddenly closes, causing a rapid increase in eye pressure that leads to severe headache, eye pain, vomiting, and other symptoms.
Long-term uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause vision damage. Diabetic retinopathy happens when elevated blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye (retina), causing light sensitivity, headaches, and other symptoms.
The uvea is the middle section of the eye between the white sclera and the retina. Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea that leads to headaches, blurry vision, eye pain, redness, light sensitivity, and eye floaters. Untreated uveitis can lead to vision loss.
You likely know conjunctivitis by its other name, “pink eye.” This eye concern causes the transparent coating covering the eyeball and lining the inside of the eyelids (conjunctiva) to swell or become inflamed. Conjunctivitis leads to headaches, itching eyes, redness, tearing, and discharge in the affected eye.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the macula, which is located at the center of the retina and is responsible for your central vision. This serious eye disease leads to eye pain, headaches, and visual disturbances and may progress rapidly or gradually depending on whether you have dry or wet AMD.
Retinal detachment happens when the retina pulls away or detaches from the back of the eye, causing headaches, light flashes, curtain-like shadows, and increased eye floaters.
June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, and our eye doctors want to help you find relief from head pain. If you’re experiencing unexplained migraine headaches, contact Elman Retina Group to schedule a thorough eye exam and consultation. Call our Baltimore office at (410) 686-3000.