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  • 30 September, 2020

    Migraines vs Headaches

    At any given time, 15 per cent of Australians seek pain relief medication to soothe headaches, making them one of the most common health complaints. In addition to this, a whopping 4.9 million Australians suffer from migraines, characterised by more severe, debilitating pain.

    Both headaches and migraines can have a direct relationship with vision. Vision is linked to the nervous system, meaning that changes in one can affect the other.

    If you are one of the many Australians who suffer from headaches or migraines, understanding their connection to vision can help you better manage their severity and frequency.

    The difference between headaches and migraines

    Headaches typically occur as a result of tension or strain, with milder symptoms of discomfort, whereas migraines are accompanied by severe pain and sensory sensitivity.

    Both headaches and migraines can be triggered by a number of vision factors, however migraine sufferers are more likely to experience more severe visual disturbances.

    Vision problems that may trigger headaches and migraines

    Digital eye strain

    Digital eye strain is caused by excessive, prolonged use of screens and can trigger headaches or migraines. For most of us, our eyes prefer to focus further than six metres away, so viewing a computer screen for long periods of time forces the muscles in our eyes to work harder and without regular breaks this can lead to eyestrain and headaches.


    Long-sightedness is a common eye condition affecting 7.2 million Australians, where objects closer to you may appear blurry.

    A person with long-sightedness may have clear vision, however suffer from headaches and tired eyes whilst reading, writing and using digital devices. The condition can be corrected with the use of glasses or contact lenses.

    Incorrect prescriptions

    Headaches are the most severe sign that your glasses prescription is outdated or incorrect. An incorrect prescription causes your eyes to strain as they try to adapt to blurred vision in an attempt to make it clear.

    What are ocular migraines?

    An ocular migraine is a rare condition that affects one in 200 migraine sufferers, and can cause temporary vision loss or temporary blindness in one eye. Experts are not entirely sure what causes ocular migraines, however it is believed that spasms in blood vessels in the back of your eye or changes across the nerve cells in your retina are triggers.

    Symptoms of ocular migraines include:

    • Small or large blind spots that affect your central vision
    • A flickering blind spot in the centre or near the centre of your vision field
    • Wavy or zigzag ring of coloured light surrounding a central blind spot
    • A blind spot that slowly migrates across your vision field.


    How to limit the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines


    Whilst everyone experiences migraines and headaches differently, there are a number of preventative measures people can take to reduce their frequency and severity, including:

    • Ensuring you are looking after your general health with your GP
    • Avoid anything that may trigger migraines such as excessive caffeine, stress
    • If you wear glasses or contacts ensure your prescription is correct
    • Limiting screen time to reduce the potential of developing digital eye strain
    • Avoid sensory stimuli such as bright or strobing lights and strong smells


    If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or suffer from headaches and migraines, it is important to have regular eye examinations with your optometrist. Call us or book online at your nearest EyeQ Optometrist.

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Our contact lens provider Alcon is experiencing delays fulfilling orders due to a cyber-security incident involving their freight partner, Toll Group. These delays are across their entire network of optical retailers in Australia. We apologise for an inconvenience caused and encourage you to contact your local EyeQ practice for any urgent requirements.