Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a prevalent eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. One such problem that many people don't typically associate with myopia is headaches. Understanding myopia, the causes, symptoms, and treatment is essential for maintaining eye health and comfort.
Myopia is generally thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If your parents are myopic, there's a good chance you'll develop the condition as well.
Extensive near work, such as reading or using a computer or smartphone for extended periods, is another common cause of myopia. The strain this puts on your eyes can stimulate the eye's growth, leading to the development or progression of myopia.
Finally, there's evidence to suggest that lack of outdoor time during childhood can contribute to the development of myopia. Exposure to natural light and focusing on distant objects outdoors seems to be protective against the onset of myopia. Unfortunately, in our increasingly digital world, many children (and adults) are spending less time outside, potentially contributing to the rise in myopia cases.
The link between myopia and headaches can be attributed to the strain that nearsightedness puts on your eyes. When you're myopic, your eyes have to work harder to bring distant objects into focus. This extra effort can lead to eye strain and, subsequently, headaches.
The headaches associated with myopia are often felt around the brow area and can range from a dull ache to a throbbing pain. They're usually exacerbated by activities that require distant vision, like driving or watching TV. The headaches can also become more frequent and intense if your myopia is worsening and you haven't updated your glasses or contact lens prescription.
Recognizing the symptoms of myopia-related headaches is the first step towards finding relief. The most common symptom, of course, is experiencing headaches after periods of distant vision. These headaches can occur intermittently or be chronic, depending on the severity of your myopia and how much strain your eyes are under.
Other symptoms of myopia can include blurry distance vision, frequent squinting, and eye strain or fatigue. You might also find that you need to sit closer to the television or the front of the classroom to see clearly, or that you're having difficulty seeing while driving, especially at night.
If you're experiencing headaches in conjunction with these other signs of myopia, it's important to consult an eye care professional for an evaluation and possible treatment options.
There are several myopia treatment options that can help reduce headaches. The most common treatment is prescription eyewear, such as glasses or contact lenses. These tools correct your vision by adjusting the way light enters your eyes, reducing the strain and potentially alleviating the associated headaches.
Another option is orthokeratology, a non-surgical procedure that involves wearing specially designed contact lenses that reshape the cornea while you sleep. This treatment has not only improved my distance vision but also significantly reduced my headache frequency.
In some cases, refractive surgery, such as LASIK or PRK, may be an option. These procedures permanently reshape the cornea, reducing or even eliminating the need for corrective eyewear. It's a more invasive option, but one that many myopia sufferers, including myself, have found to provide long-term relief from both blurred vision and headaches.
There are multiple treatment options available that can correct your vision and alleviate the strain that leads to headaches. It's crucial to consult with an eye care professional to discuss these options and find the best solution for your individual needs.
If you are experiencing headaches due to vision challenges, schedule an eye exam with our professionals at Eye Focus Northwest in our Salem and Tigard, Oregon, office. Please call or text (971) 808-2640 or (971) 202-1932 to book an appointment today.