One of the most layered and complex topics in the world of neurology is undoubtedly that of a “headache.” With many specific factors contributing to both onset and duration, it can be challenging to determine what management strategies will most completely provide relief for your headache.
When Optometrists evaluate headache provocation, our generalized principles are, at least ostensibly, somewhat simple. At least 80% of the information we acquire throughout the day is visual in nature – and if we’re unable to process this information comfortably and efficiently, it has the potential to exacerbate discomfort. In particular, given the near-centred world in which we live, artificial light sources and extended engagement with screens will most certainly contribute to the plight of those who struggle with headaches.
A headache that is at least partially visual in nature often takes the form of tension that originates at the front of the head, around the eyes or along the temples, or is precipitated by a unique and transient visual phenomenon known as an aura. If visual information is the cause, then it should be considered as one of the main areas from which to build a solution. For many of our clients, modifications to their glasses prescription – including incorporation of tints and visual stress-relieving prism – goes a tremendous way towards providing relief.
Along with glasses modifications, Vision Therapy can additionally provide tremendous benefit for those who struggle with headaches. Generally speaking, glasses modifications provide the scaffolding, while vision therapy helps to embed the solution. When used in concert, the two can provide tremendous relief to headache sufferers with vision at the root of the issue.
As a point of reference, the thoughts outlined above are far from being anecdotal or entirely my own. Having attended a tremendous number of talks and events on all things headache, I’ve felt it important to compile literature that speaks to the discussion above (see: Impact of Visual System on Headache Provocation). While rather information-heavy, this collection of literature is meant to provide a small glimpse into how we as Optometrists think about providing relief for those of our patients who struggle.
If you or a loved one is struggling with headaches that are impacting quality of life, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team would be happy to provide you with further information and outline what we can do to provide relief.
Until next month,
Paul Rollett, OD, FCOVD