Eye Strain and Migraines

Eye Strain and Migraines

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Migraines are painful and can quickly ruin your day. There are many triggers that can set off a migraine headache, and one of the leading causes is eye strain.

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Many of us spend hours each day in front of a computer or other electronic device such as cell phones, TVs, and smart devices. We spend hours looking at the screen for too long, or working in dim or overly bright light.

It’s no wonder we get eye strain that can lead to headaches, migraines, and other problems such as chronic neck and shoulder pain.

What is a Migraine?

The signs of a migraine headache are obvious: throbbing pain, nausea, and sensitivity to noise and light. Some people may experience vision disturbances, such as flashing dots and wavy lines. Still others may have a temporary blindness in one eye. Not all migraine headaches are the same.  

Retinal Migraine

Retinal migraines can happen with or without a headache. Only one eye will be affected with vision disturbances and can include temporary blindness, with vision returning to normal once the migraine is gone. Some people may experience a throbbing headache on the same side as the eye that is affected.

Ocular Migraine

Ocular migraines affect both eyes. You may experience flashing lights or see stars. Blind spots in your field of vision may also occur.

Symptoms of Eye Strain

Eye strain is also known as visual fatigue. In this age of electronic devices, we put increasing demands on our eyes. When your eyes are fatigued, your productivity can be impaired and you may find it harder to concentrate. In some cases, eye strain may negatively affect your vision health. Some of the common symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Back and neck pain
  • Irritated and burning eyes
  • Problems focusing on the screen

Reducing Eye Strain and Migraines

There are some easy things that you can do to reduce eye strain.

  • Remember to blink. When we look at digital screens for long periods of time, we don’t blink often enough. This can cause eye strain.
  • Take breaks. Use the 20/20/20 rule, where you take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and focus on something that is at least 20 feet away from you.
  • Modify display settings. Many digital devices are too bright, which cause strain on the eyes from constantly looking at a bright light source. Adjust the screen so that it’s no brighter than the ambient light around you.

Eyeglasses Designed for the Digital Screen

One of the best things you can do if you’re one of those people who spend hours looking at a digital screen is to buy computer eyeglasses that are designed to optimize your eyesight.



Computer eye glasses have the benefit of:

  •         Reducing glare from the computer screen.
  •         Maximizing vision so that you squint less.
  •         Increasing screen contrast so it’s easier to read words.

Lens design for computer eye glasses

Talk to your optometrist about what type of computer eyeglasses are right for you. Some options to consider include the following:

  • Single vision lenses have one single power, giving you the best vision while sitting in the front the computer screen.
  • Occupational progressive lens are no-line multifocal lenses. They correct near, intermediate, and distance vision.
  • Occupational bifocal and trifocal lenses are lined multi-focal lenses. They have a clearer vision zone for near and intermediate vision than regular bifocal lenses.

Your optometrist will be able to help customize computer glasses to your specific needs.  

If you’ve been experiencing migraines, it’s time to see your optometrist to determine if eye strain, or other vision problems, are the cause. Call Image Optometry today to schedule an appointment.


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