Blurry Vision and Headaches

Dr. Russel Lazarus, May 18, 2021

Did you know that headaches and blurred vision could indicate you have a undiagnosed eye condition? 

When blurred vision and a headache are experienced at the same time it can be frightening, especially the first time it happens.

Blurred vision can affect one or both eyes. It can cause vision to be cloudy, dim, or even peppered with shapes and colors, making it difficult to see.

If a headache occurs with or causes blurred vision, it may be due to an underlying condition or medical emergency.

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Contact an eye doctor near you if you experience blurred vision and a headache at the same time, as it can be a sign of a serious condition.

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Conditions that can cause both a headache and blurred vision include:

1. Migraines

Migraines affect at least 10 percent of the world’s population. Migraine headaches cause severe pulsing or throbbing pain in a part of the head.

Roughly one-third of migraine sufferers also experience visual disturbances, such as blurred vision.

Visual symptoms of migraines tend to last an hour or less. Visual problems tend to set in before any pain is experienced, but they can also occur during the headache itself.

Other symptoms commonly associated with migraines include:

  • blind spots
  • nausea and vomiting
  • objects seeming closer or further away than they are
  • partial or complete temporary loss of vision
  • seeing flashes of light or stars, squiggles, or dots
  • seeing an aura of light around objects
  • sensitivity to light and sound
  • tunnel vision
  • zigzagging lines that move across the field of vision and often shimmer

These symptoms are typically treated with painkillers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and  prescription medications.

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact an eye doctor near you.

2. Eye Strain

Eye strain occurs when the eyes become exhausted from prolonged use, such as driving long distances or looking at a computer screen or other digital device.

In many cases, signs and symptoms of eyestrain can indicate an underlying eye condition.

Undiagnosed visual problems causing headaches include such as an eye muscle imbalance or a need for glasses for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. Wearing glasses with an incorrect prescription may also cause eye strain.

Other than headaches and blurred, signs and symptoms of eye strain may include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Double vision
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes

3. Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)

    BVD is due to a misalignment between the two eyes, causing the eyes to struggle to work together.

    When people have normal binocular vision, their eyes function together and are completely in sync at all times, allowing the eyes to give the brain one clear and focused image.

    Headaches and dizziness are the two most common symptoms associated with BVD. 

    Patients with BVD tend to experience headaches in the front of the face or the temples. The dizziness is often described as feeling lightheaded or disoriented.

    Other signs and symptoms include:

    • Anxiety
    • Dizziness
    • Double vision
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Light sensitivity
    • Motion sickness
    • Stress

    Blurred vision and headache together can indicate a serious medical condition.

    If symptoms are mild and only last for a short period or you’ve been diagnosed with migraine, see an eye doctor.

    LEARN MORE:  Guide to Eye Conditions

    If you’re concerned about your symptoms, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you.