Can An Optometrist Help With Migraines?

Can An Optometrist Help With Migraines?

Whereas headaches can cause pain and sometimes problems focusing, migraines are far more severe. When a person gets a migraine, it can cause a variety of symptoms including visual hallucinations, hearing impairments, difficulty speaking, vertigo, nausea, temperature changes, and more. Migraines also always create a horrendous headache that often pulses or throbs and causes extreme pain. Although migraines can be brought on by a variety of factors, as well as any combination of stimuli, optometrists may be able to help people whose migraines are related specifically to visual stimuli. Whether a person is prone to visual-based triggers or they develop a sensitivity to light before, during, or after a migraine, an optometrist may be able to help.

How An Optometrist Can Help Address Migraines

Tension Headaches
While headaches and migraines are not synonymous, a tension headache can be one of the triggers or warning symptoms associated with migraines. Because stress is often a main cause of tension headaches and migraines, when people who get migraines feel a tension headache come on, it may be a signal that a migraine is to follow. Tension headaches are one of the most common forms of headaches and they are caused by stress or by strain on the muscles in the head. This may be related to digital eye strain. Focusing your eyes for long periods or working with your neck bent can cause strain and tension in the forehead muscles, neck, shoulders, and back, which can cause tension headaches to develop. While not all people who get migraines are triggered by tension headaches, it can be one of several compounding causes. To help avoid tension headaches, visit your optometrist to ensure that your prescription is up to date so that your eyes do not strain to focus. Also, try to give your eyes breaks and remember to check your posture. If you develop any type of mild headache before your migraines occur, read 6 Vision Problems That May Be Behind Your Headache to learn more.

Convergence Insufficiency
This is an eye condition that affects how the eyes work together when viewing a nearby object. Convergence insufficiency prevents the eyes from properly focusing on close objects. Because the eyes do not focus in tandem, this can create double vision. This makes it incredibly difficult for people to focus on tasks such as reading, using computers, viewing their phones, cooking, and doing general up-close tasks. It is very common for people with convergence insufficiency and other binocular vision problems to suffer from migraines. One way to help address convergence insufficiency is through vision therapy, which can help train the eyes to work together. If your migraines tend to begin while you’re working on close tasks, visit your optometrist to assess for convergence insufficiency.

Lights And Migraines
Some forms of light and other visual stimuli can be a trigger for migraines. Often, fluorescent lights tend to trigger migraines, both because of how bright and harsh the lighting appears but also because fluorescent lights contain invisible pulsing that can induce migraines. Even if a person’s migraine does not begin because of the lighting, many people become sensitive to light when experiencing a migraine. To help prevent migraines caused by lighting or to reduce sensitivity to light before, during, and after a migraine, while the eyes are still highly sensitive, speak to an optometrist about coloured lens options. Some people find that blue-light blocking eyeglasses, pink-tinted eyeglasses, or sunglasses are beneficial.
 

If You Get Migraines, Speak To An Optometrist

Not everyone’s migraines are related to their vision, but if you are looking for migraine relief, it is worth discussing with an optometrist. Migraines can be triggered by several forms of stimuli and addressing any visual stimuli or ruling them out is an important part of understanding your migraines. At Sunridge Eye Clinic, we will work with you to assess your vision and discuss your migraines to get to the root of the problem. We will offer optometry solutions and work together to help reduce your migraine symptoms and frequency of migraines. To schedule an eye exam and discuss migraines with an optometrist, book an eye exam by calling 1-403-280-7518 or filling out the online contact form.
 

FAQ

Q: How long is a comprehensive eye exam?
A: A comprehensive eye exam will last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the tests performed by your optometrist.

Q: When I get migraines, I get spots in my vision. Can an optometrist reduce this?
A: No. An optometrist can help you figure out if visual stimuli contribute to your migraines and can recommend eyeglasses that help when your migraines make your eyes sensitive to light, but they will not be able to stop other visual problems (such as visual auras) that may occur during a migraine.

Q: What is an ocular migraine?
A: An ocular migraine refers to the loss or change of vision in one eye during a migraine. These often last for at least one hour. Although an optometrist cannot prevent ocular migraines, it is still important to visit an optometrist if you experience an ocular migraine, as it can mask other vision-threatening conditions.


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