There are many different types of headaches and a wide range of causes that may lead to a headache. Learn more about when you should visit your eye doctor to discuss your headaches.
Types of Headaches
- Sinus headache: pain associated with the sinuses which are located above the eyebrow and below the eye near the nose.
- Potential causes: allergies, sinus congestion, infection in sinuses
- Tension headache: pain may be in a band around the head extending from above the ears forwards towards the forehead and/or backwards above the neck
- Often due to stress
- Migraine: pain on one side of the head sometimes causing blurry vision, sensitivity to light, or lights in the vision
- More often in women, often recurrent
- Cluster: pain focused in one area on one side of the head, often behind the eye or near the temple region
4 important points to describe your headache to your doctor:
- Location of the headache may help your doctor determine the cause of the headache or where to perform additional testing
- For example, pain located near the nose may indicate a sinus headache
- Severity of the headache may be one of the most important factors.
- While many people get mild headaches occasionally, any severe headache should prompt immediate attention.
- Identifying triggers that bring on a headache may allow you to better manage your headaches.
- For example, oftentimes patients with migraines report triggers including loud noises, bright lights, or caffeine use.
- Associated symptoms that happen before, during or after your headache are also very important to discuss with your doctor.
- Concerning symptoms that should prompt immediate attention: tingling, numbness, weakness, loss of vision, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, double vision
- Other important symptoms to note: lights in your vision, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, throbbing
Headaches may be associated with your eyes or vision when:
- They are associated with visual activity.
- For example, notice if you get headaches when you are driving a lot or when you are staring at a computer all day.
- You have other visual complaints including blurry vision or double vision
- These complaints could mean issues with your prescription, eye alignment, or ocular health
- You are not wearing the most up to date prescription.
- A prescription that is too strong or too weak can cause the eyes to strain which can lead to a headache.
When should you be concerned with a headache?
Any severe headache (ex: 10/10 pain) should be seen by a doctor immediately – go to the Emergency room if necessary.
- Any headache associated with tingling, numbness, loss of vision, vertigo, nausea, dizziness, double vision should prompt immediate attention including the emergency room if necessary.
- Repeated headaches of any kind, should be discussed with your doctor.
If you are concerned with ANY headache of any kind please seek help – whether that be from your primary care doctor, eye doctor, or emergency room if necessary. Ultimately, getting an evaluation by a doctor is safer than assuming a headache is benign.