Headaches and the eye

By Stephanie Venter - B.Optom (UFS)

Speaking about a headache, is something 9/10 people can relate to and most try to treat it themselves. Whereas others desperately start the eliminating process to get to the bottom of it. ascular headaches or tension headaches, or a mixture of both is usually the most common type xperienced. The other types of headaches consist of conditions that lead to inflammation, traction or dilation f pain-sensitive structures of the head and neck.

Patients are often referred to us to see whether a pair of spectacles can relieve some of the strain. In actual act, no specific mechanism exist in the eye itself that causes a headache, except in far-sighted people here there is a spasm of the muscle that focusses the lens.

Eye strain headache has a character of mild tension headache, localized to the brow region. Squinting to try and see better and bright sunlight, may be contributing to these symptoms. Fixed posture and mental concentration with prolonged near point tasks also contribute, especially in computer users. Headaches occurring with change in task demands may reflect stress related to intellectual demands, but are often attributed to use of the eyes. Visual headaches always improve with rest. Infrequent attacks of lightning pain in the eye, short stabbing pain behind the eye is relatively common, but there is no known cause.

When visiting health care professionals to identify the cause of a headaches, try to explain it with as much detail as possible, for example, what makes it worse or better, when you get them and the quality of pain throbbing or pulsing pain points to a blood vessel source; burning or aching a muscular cause; sharp or shooting pain usually originates from a nerve; a pressure like sensation has a chamber-derived (e.g. sinus cavity) origin; a brain tumour headache is usually dull, aching and intermittent, although in some it’s continuous.)

Always remember that a headache may be a symptom of a serious underlying condition calling for an immediate diagnostic workup and treatment. These cases often require laboratory and radiographic studies and neurological consult.