The Connection Between Eyes and Headaches

woman at computer with glasses and headache

Do you get headaches while watching television? While reading a book? Is your child complaining about headaches while in class? If so, you aren’t alone – 1 in every 6 people reports headaches in a 3-month period in the United States.

And vision and a splitting headache are often closely related. This is because headaches can cause or result in various eye problems. One cause might be that the muscles around the eyes become fatigued. Or a headache could signal a more serious issue.

What Is Causing Your Headache?

Though it is always best to consult with a doctor about persistent headaches, there are common causes for the occasional pain. Read on for some conditions which can directly affect your eye health and/or cause headaches.

Eye Strain Headaches

Typically occurs when the eye muscles responsible for focusing on objects are overused. Oftentimes, your headache may not be a symptom of poor eyesight. It could be that the eye muscles are simply being overworked. Prolonged use of digital devices like smartphones and tablets is a common culprit in more recent years. But any activity causing you to focus your eyes without regular breaks can lead to eye strain. This will inevitability lead to tension headaches. Low light conditions will also cause eye strain. Pay attention to these telltale signs that, if caught and remedied early, may keep headaches at bay.

  • Blurred vision
  • Sore eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Double vision
  • Burning eyes
  • Shoulder and neck pain

Cataract Headaches

Cataracts and other eye conditions such as glaucoma and uveitis (inflammation of the pigmented layer of the eye between the retina and cornea) can cause headaches. The pain and inflammation caused by these conditions lead to throbbing headache pains.

Migraine Headachesman in dark with headache

If you have had a migraine or know someone that suffers from them, then you are aware of how debilitating they can be. Visual disturbances such as flashing lights and experiencing blurry vision can predict the onset of a migraine. Migraines are difficult to treat, but you may be able to prevent a full-blown migraine by:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Resting your eyes
  • Massaging your shoulders and neck
  • Alleviating stress

Headaches Caused by Vision Conditions 

Astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness are common vision issues. These conditions don’t allow the eyes to focus properly, which will of course lead to eye strain and tension headaches.

Headaches Caused by Sinus Issues

Anyone with sinus issues can educate you on the pressure and pain felt around the eyes. The pressure around the eyes coupled with congestion can lead to headaches.


Each type of headache or vision problem may respond differently to treatment. It’s also important to note that what is effective for one person may not work for another. Nevertheless, the following tips may help prevent or ease headaches associated with eye issues:

  • Take frequent breaks from your computer or phone screen. Every 20-30 minutes focus on something in the distance for 20 seconds.
  • Use a humidifier; it helps moisten the air in the room.
  • Adjust lighting. Make sure it is sufficient for your given task. Adjust the brightness of your smart device and avoid glare from sunlight to help skirt eye strain.
  • Manage stress by taking deep breaths, stretching, meditating, or practicing other stress management techniques.
  • Eat right. A healthy diet does wonders for your eye and overall health.
  • See your eye doctor. You may need prescription glasses or contacts, or it could be that your vision has changed, and you need new prescription eyewear.


If you experience frequent, severe headaches, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause. You’ll also receive a treatment plan that addresses it. Don’t allow headaches and vision problems to negatively impact your quality of life. Please contact The Eye Center, with locations in Huntsville and Madison, at (256)705-3937 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.


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