Are my headaches related to my eyes?

Are my headaches related to my eyes?

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.


Dr. Gustavo Garmizo, FAAO
Dr. Gustavo Garmizo
FAAO Board Certified Optometric Physician
West Broward Eyecare Associates
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