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Does Eye Strain Cause Migraines?

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Your eyes are precious, without them the world will come crashing down. It is a blessing and you must take care of them! Did you know that you use your eyes non-stop for over 12 hours every day? That has got to have some toll on the poor things. And thanks to smartphones and tablets, your eyes remain under constant stress and pressure.

Eyes have some of the strongest muscles in the body, but since they are muscles, they get tired. They can start feeling tired due to exposure to bright fluorescent lights or staring at a screen for too long.  It is often that most people want to shut their eyes for just a moment at their desks and give them some relief;  this is due to a phenomenon called visual-fatigue.

Modern work and lifestyle changes have increased the number of people suffering from visual-fatigue quite a bit. All work related and entertainment-related activities have now transferred to smartphones, computers e-books, etc. which has increased the demand for the sense of sight.

People who suffer from visual fatigue are sure to experience symptoms such as headaches, loss of focus, burning sensation in eyes, tired eyes, tired neck muscles, etc.

Visual fatigue symptoms have increased by a 66% in children and adults, doctors are explaining this as digital fatigue.

Migraines and eye strain

Migraines are the extremely elevated form of uncomfortable headaches; if you have not experienced one then you truly are lucky. Migraines are extremely uncomfortable and have a host of unpleasant symptoms attached to them. The nauseating feeling, panic, heightened sense of pain and extreme sensitivity to noise and light are all a package attached to migraines. People who suffer from migraines report seeing flashing light and temporary loss of vision quite often.

Migraine symptoms vary depending on the cause of a migraine. Retinal or eye-migraines may not carry the same symptoms as other migraines. Retinal and ocular migraines are a result of inflammation in the vessels connected to the brain and the eyes.

Are migraines and eye strain connected?

They certainly are, if a migraine is stemming from the inflammation of the vessels connected to the retina and vision. A headache behind the eyes is caused by lack of sleep and eye strain. Habitual squinting and rubbing your eyes to reduce pressure on your eyes are symptoms of visual-fatigue that is directly related to migraines.

Ocular migraines are a condition, which is caused due to eye strain. This is also known as an ophthalmic or a visual migraine. This often affects one eye and is a result of blockage or constriction behind the eye. This type of a migraine only lasts for a little while but can be extremely uncomfortable.

Another symptom of an ocular migraine or migraines related to eye strain is scintillating, which means spasms of the nerves behind the eye and head. This entails flickering lights, flashes, and wavy lines.


Eye strain can cause migraines, ocular migraines and scintillating can lead to long-term headaches and conditions. When experiencing any of the related symptoms immediately see a doctor.

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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