Ouch! You’ve got a headache and you don’t know why. Maybe you just gotten new glasses and you're worried that the prescription is wrong. Or maybe it’s been way too long since you’ve seen the eye doctor and your prescription needs an update. There's a good chance that your headache could stem from something unrelated to your vision or your eyewear, but let’s explore some possible reasons for that annoying pain around your eyes, forehead, and temples.
If it has been over a year since your last eye exam, it is definitely worth making sure you are not suffering from some visual impairment that you're unaware of. How do you know if you need glasses? Only a trained eye doctor can tell you for sure, but - believe it or not - proper vision correction can improve all aspects of life from your levels of concentration to your personal relationships. Being farsighted, in particular, when untreated can cause headaches, so that’s an easy one to remedy with a trip to your eye doctor.
Getting Used to a New Prescription
You know that an outdated prescription is not the headache culprit - because you just got a brand new pair of glasses. Well, your eye doctor may have warned you about this, but sometimes it can take a little time for your eyes to adjust to a new prescription. Blurry vision can occur - even with a correct prescription - as your eyes adjust. But any vision issues should resolve in less than two weeks. If two weeks have passed and you are still experiencing discomfort, please check back in with your eye doctor to make sure there’s not a prescription error. In the first two weeks, you can take a few steps to help get accustomed to your new prescription. First, put your new glasses on first thing in the morning when you wake up. If needed, take short breaks from wearing your new glasses. Finally, use over the counter painkillers to get relief in the meantime.
Computer problems & Reading glasses
Eyestrain comes from the overworking of muscles around the eye that are continually adjusting in order to focus. Repeated attempts to focus occur for different reasons; one is getting used to a new prescription. But eyestrain is also a common problem when wearing reading glasses while using the computer. Remember, reading glasses are for close-up work and the normal distance you sit away from a monitor is much farther away than where you would hold your reading materials. If you find yourself doing this, you may need bifocals. Eyestrain also happens when we spend too much time staring at screens. Screen time exposure can be mitigated with anti-reflective lens options and by taking steps like adjusting the lighting in your work space, and following the 20-20-20 rule. The rule is - look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Frame and Eye Position Adjustments
There are reasons other than an incorrect prescription that could cause a headache from wearing glasses. Your glasses should be personally customized just for you. That's not just the prescription but also the position of your eyes, the angle and position of the frame, and the distance between your pupils, which should all be accounted for. Having an incorrect frame size or frame adjustment can cause pain behind the ears, where the temples pinch into the sides of your head. If you need a frame adjustment, you can go back to your eye doctor or try simple adjustments yourself.
Not your glasses fault
The most common symptoms of eyestrain are headache and fatigue. For some people eyestrain can even trigger migraines - but this is rare. According to the American Migraine Foundation “most eye pain does not result from an eye problem” unless the eye itself appears red, inflamed or swollen. If there are no external cues of distress in the eye, the headache most likely comes from tension. It’s also important to note that if you are experiencing nausea and vomiting then you're not suffering from a vision related problem.
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