Migraines and Eyes...Are They Related?

No. They're not very related. You might think they are or might have heard that they are, and maybe even your doctor told you they are, but they're not. I have a patient almost every day tell me that their eyes and vision have caused them to have migraines. They don't. I frequently have patients who are known and previously-diagnosed migraine sufferers coming in because their doctor told them to "get their eyes checked to rule out vision as cause of their migraines". Well ok that's real easy: it's not. Migraines are poorly understood in medicine, and they have a lot of visual SYMPTOMS: aura, flashing lights, "zig zag" patterns, glowing/growing spots, temporary vision loss, blurry vision, pain in/around/behind the eye, etc etc etc. So migraine sufferers often end up in the OD's chair complaining about their eyes and vision, but no eye problem causes migraines. None. Not refractive error, not the need for glasses, not the glasses themselves, not eye disease, not glaucoma, etc etc etc. When I figure out that a patient is having or had a migraine, I tell them to talk to their PCP about it and maybe consider a referral to a neurologist. But I don't worry too much about my Rxs "causing" them to have migraines b/c that's not possible. A migraine is a neurological problem, not an ocular one, despite it's obvious ocular and visual symptoms. I'll tell you something else about migraines: they're not "really bad headaches". When I hear a patient tell me something like "by the end of the day I've used the computer so much I have a MIGRAINE!", that pretty much rules out a migraine diagnosis right there. That's a tension headache or a stress headache or something else, but it's not a migraine. That sounds nothing like a migraine. Migraines can cause some serious pain, but not all head pains are migraines. In fact relatively few are. Just because you have headaches, even "really bad" ones, does not mean you have migraines. Migraine sufferers probably laugh at people calling their really bad headaches "migraines". They're not the same. Headaches are common, and eye/vision CAN cause some headaches (although IMO not nearly as many as they're blamed for). But no eye problem causes a migraine. That does not exist.


  1. A new frame of mine (Oakley plank, I'm a fan) has been giving me some problems. At first, it was a little too snug and I was getting eye strain and minor headaches, which would immediately be resolved after taking off my glasses. I got them adjusted and things are a lot better. How can this be?

  2. the squeezing of your head was reduced or maybe the optical center was aligned with the adjustment


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