5 Ways that Astigmatism Causes Headaches and What to Do About It
Headaches are widespread complaints year-round. People develop headaches for various reasons, including stress, fatigue, hunger, excess alcohol consumption, poor posture, and seasonal allergies. Vision problems are one common cause of headaches. Headaches are a known possible side effect of astigmatism.
If you have astigmatism, it means that your cornea is misshapen in a particular way – in this case, like a football. With this condition, your eye won’t be able to focus light evenly on your retina, resulting in distorted or blurry vision that forces your eyes to strain to see more clearly. There are several factors associated with astigmatism that can lead to the development of headaches.
- The distorted vision itself
The underlying cause of headaches related to astigmatism is eye strain. Whether you have blurry vision when looking at close or distant objects, your eyes work harder than average to focus. The eye muscles may contract too much, physically fatiguing the eye and triggering headaches.
- Squinting or straining
When you can’t see clearly, you may find yourself squinting to sharpen what you’re seeing. (Incidentally, squinting in children is a common sign that they are experiencing a vision problem.) Squinting for long periods can cause spasms in the muscles around the eyes and other facial muscles, and these spasms can lead to headaches.
- Eye fatigue
Eye fatigue is a common side effect of astigmatism. This condition can lead to eye fatigue when you concentrate on a visual task, such as using a computer, reading, or driving. As you perform these tasks, your eyes constantly adjust to try and achieve a sharp image – which an eye with astigmatism cannot do. The result is often tired eyes and eye strain that can lead to headaches.
- Poor night vision
Astigmatism can make it difficult to see at night, particularly when driving. This condition can cause your vision to be blurry and lights to look streaky or fuzzy; you may also notice that lights appear to be surrounded by halos, making it hard to focus. This distorted night vision can make your eyes work harder to see, potentially resulting in headaches.
- Related issues
If you have other eye issues along with astigmatism, your chances of experiencing headaches increase. Almost any untreated vision issue can lead to headaches, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and dry eye syndrome. You may also develop headaches if you have more serious eye health conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts.
Treatment for headaches and astigmatism
When you have a headache caused by astigmatism, there are two parts to treating it. The first is addressing the immediate discomfort, and the second is correcting its underlying cause – the astigmatism itself.
Resting your eyes can help relieve your headache in the short term. Try closing your eyes for a bit or focusing on something very far away to give your eyes a break. It’s a good idea to do this periodically anyway while you’re doing close work, such as reading or working at your desk. Over-the-counter pain medications can also help relieve headache pain.
However, the key to eliminating headaches caused by astigmatism is to correct the condition. If you are experiencing headaches related to your vision, make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. There are several possible treatments for astigmatism, including eyeglasses and specific contact lenses. Contact us today for an appointment. We can provide a consultation and eye exam and help you get to the bottom of your vision problems.