Can Visual Rehabilitation Successfully Treat Headaches?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, December 19, 2021

If you suffer from occasional or frequent headaches, the problem may be in your visual system. 

Headaches are common, and almost everyone has experienced them at one time or another.

Fortunately, visual rehabilitation can help to reduce or even eliminate headaches caused by many vision problems.

Every year, up to 75 percent of adults ages 18 to 65 suffer from headaches, and at least 30 percent report that their headaches are severe.

But many people are unaware that headaches can actually signal a problem within the visual system — and can be treated with a program of visual rehabilitation.

Visual rehabilitation is effective for those who have binocular vision problems, such as convergence insufficiency or focusing issues— both of which can develop from a post-traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, or other neurological event.

How do vision problems cause headaches?

Achieving clear and comfortable vision requires serious brain power and relies on the strength of the visual system.

When the visual system does not work efficiently, either following a TBI or other neurological condition, it compensates by working harder and exerting more effort— often resulting in eye strain and the headaches you are suffering from.

According to the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, 90 percent of post-TBI patients experience visual symptoms.

The most common vision problem that can lead to headaches is called binocular vision dysfunction (BVD), a condition in which the eyes are misaligned and are therefore unable to work in coordination with one another.

Convergence insufficiency and accommodative dysfunction are two types of binocular vision dysfunctions that often lead to headaches.

SEE RELATED: Visual Migraines

If you or a loved one are experiencing headaches, call to schedule a functional visual evaluation with an eye doctor near you and find the relief you seek.

Find an eye doctor near you

How do I know if my headaches are vision-related?

The only way to confirm that your headaches are vision-related is by having your eyes examined by a neuro-optometrist. 

A neuro-optometrist will assess your vision to determine if a visual dysfunction is present.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms that signal a vision problem, be sure to inform your eye doctor during your exam:

  • Double or blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dull, stabbing or throbbing pain around the eyes
  • Headache around the eyebrows
  • Headache that impacts daily functioning or memory

In contrast, tension headaches typically cause a feeling of tightness or squeezing around the forehead — but even these could be exacerbated by ineffective operation of the visual system.

What is visual rehabilitation?

If a visual dysfunction is at the root of your headaches, strengthening the visual system with visual rehabilitation, can help to relieve your symptoms.

Visual rehabilitation is a customized treatment program that focuses on retraining the eyes and brain to work together more effectively.

Prism lenses may also be prescribed as part of the rehabilitation program to correct eye alignment for more efficient visual processing.

Rehabilitating your visual system takes the stress off of your eyes, thus alleviating your debilitating headaches.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Blurry Vision and Headaches

If you are experiencing headaches, schedule a functional visual evaluation with an eye doctor near you to find out if visual rehabilitation could be the answer. 

Many people are unaware that headaches can actually signal a problem within the visual system.

Visual rehabilitation is a personalized program that could change your life!