Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Angel C
Eyeglasses improve your vision, and they also make for great fashion accessories. There is no question that wearing eyeglasses is beneficial. However, wearing eyeglasses can sometimes lead to headaches.
What causes headaches from wearing eyeglasses?
Headaches from wearing glasses can occur for various reasons, but it often comes down to eye strain. Eye strain is one of the many triggers for migraines, which is why headaches often follow when you experience eye strain.
What causes eye strain?
The medical term for eye strain is asthenopia. Asthenopia occurs when your eye muscles are exhausted. Tired eyes can be the result of staring at your computer screen for hours on end, or it could be from watching the road while driving long distances.
Your eyes get tired when you focus them in the same general area for an extended period of time. This stresses your eye’s ciliary muscle, a smooth ring of muscle within the vascular layer of your eye. The ciliary muscle changes the shape of your eye lens depending on the distance of the object your eye is focusing on. To enable you to focus on a nearby object, your ciliary muscle contracts. When you focus on nearby objects for too long, the ciliary muscle gets too tight due to a lack of depth variation.
It may sound serious, but don’t worry. Getting headaches from wearing glasses due to eye strain is common and self-treatable.
How do I prevent headaches from wearing eyeglasses?
There are a variety of options for prevention or treatment—it all depends on the reason you are getting headaches in the first place. To help you narrow down the cause of your headache, here are the most common causes of headaches while wearing glasses and their corresponding methods of prevention.
- Digital eye strain
The glare on computer screens, smartphone screens, and television screens can cause eye strain. This is why you get headaches when you sit in front of your computer all day.
The solution is to get eyeglasses with lenses that have a high-grade anti-reflective coating. You could also get bifocals with a weaker prescription that you can use when you need to be in front of your computer.
Apart from getting new eyeglasses, perhaps the easiest option is to look away from your computer screen once every fifteen minutes and focus your eyes on a distant object. Doing so prevents your ciliary muscle from becoming overstressed. Try to alternate between looking into the distance while standing up and sitting down, as this will help to further vary the way your eye muscles are working and focusing.
- Overexposure to bright lights
Too much exposure to bright light while wearing glasses can also cause headaches. In this case, the simplest fix is to turn off your lights and just open your eyes in complete darkness. Since your eyes have nothing to focus on in the dark, your eyes can rest completely.
You can also relax your eyes by applying a cold compress to them. Putting cold cucumber slices over your eyes does more than just reduce puffiness—the coolness also soothes your eyes. Remember not to put anything too cold over your eyes, though. Using something like ice can hurt the delicate skin around your eyes.
- Change in prescription
Getting headaches from new eyeglasses is common because your eyes haven’t adjusted to your new prescription. Your eyes are still used to your previous prescription,, so they attempt to focus the way they did when you wore your old eyeglasses, which puts stress on your eye muscles.
While getting headaches during the adjustment period is normal, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the problem. You can prevent headaches during the adjustment period for your new eyeglasses by following these tips:
- Wear your new eyeglasses all day.
Make it a point to wear your new eyeglasses as soon as you wake up. Starting the day by looking through your new prescription and wearing your new eyeglasses as much as possible will shorten the adjustment period, thereby reducing the occurrence of headaches.
If you find the headaches unbearable, you can rest your eyes by taking your new eyeglasses off for short periods of time. Avoid taking your new eyeglasses off for extended periods because doing so makes your eyes focus the way they used to with your previous prescription.
To allow your eyes to adjust without headaches and without taking off your new eyeglasses, you can take over-the-counter pain medications. Taking Advil or any other medication that relieves muscle pain will work.
Ergonomic and Eyewear Strategies to Prevent Headaches
While adjusting your eyewear is crucial in preventing headaches, the importance of an ergonomic workspace cannot be overstated. An improper setup can exacerbate eye strain and lead to headaches, even with the right pair of glasses. Here’s how to optimize your workspace to minimize the risk:
- Monitor Position: Your computer screen should be about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level. This reduces the need for your eyes to constantly refocus and prevents tilting your head at angles that can strain your neck and eyes.
- Lighting: Ensure that your workspace is evenly lit with minimal glare on your screen. Use blinds or curtains to control natural light and consider using a desk lamp with an adjustable shade to direct light where you need it without shining directly into your eyes.
- Chair and Desk: Select a chair with proper lumbar support and adjust the height so that your feet are flat on the ground. Your desk should allow your arms to rest comfortably at a 90-degree angle, preventing you from leaning forward and straining your eyes.
- Frequent Breaks: Incorporate the 20-20-20 rule into your routine: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This helps to reset your focus and gives your ciliary muscles a much-needed break.
- Eye Exercises: Simple exercises, such as palming, where you rub your hands together to generate warmth and then gently place them over your closed eyes, can help relieve eye strain. Rolling your eyes in a circular motion or simply blinking rapidly can also refresh your eyes and reduce the risk of strain.
By integrating these ergonomic practices with the proper eyewear adjustments, you can create a comfortable environment for your eyes and reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches associated with eyeglass use.
The discomfort of headaches should not overshadow the benefits of wearing eyeglasses. While it’s common to experience some strain as your eyes adjust to new lenses or prolonged screen time, these pains are manageable and often preventable. By choosing the right glasses with anti-reflective coating, managing light exposure, and giving your eyes the break they need, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of headaches.
Moreover, integrating ergonomic adjustments into your daily routine complements your eyewear choices. A well-set-up workspace can ease the stress on your eyes and neck, leading to a more comfortable and productive experience. From the position of your monitor to the lighting in your room, small changes can make a big difference. Embrace the 20-20-20 rule, perform eye exercises, and ensure your seating promotes good posture.
By addressing both the physical aspects of your eyewear and the environmental factors of your workspace, you can create a balanced approach to eye health. Remember, taking care of your eyes is a continuous process, and with these strategies, you can enjoy clear vision and fashion-forward eyewear without the headache.