If you’ve ever wondered – Can dry eyes cause migraines and headaches? – the simple answer to that question is, yes. But before we discuss the association between dry eyes and migraines, let’s get a quick overview of dry eyes.
While dry eye symptoms may be experienced differently by different people, some general commonalities include stinging, burning, or grittiness of the eyes.
Other symptoms you may encounter are excess tears following dryness, eye discharge, inflammation, blurred vision, heavy eyelids, inability to cry, uncomfortable contact lenses, inability to stare at a computer monitor or TV, and tired eyes.
Some people may also experience migraines and headaches. In fact, dry eyes seem to be more common among those who suffer from migraines and headaches. The connection between migraines and dry eyes is not fully understood, but researchers believe inflammation may be linking the two together.
Alternatively, migraines may also be a result of structural differences in your eyes. In a 2015 study, researchers found differences in the ocular structures of those who suffered from migraines and those who did not.
Certainly, additional research is required to better understand the connection between dry eyes and headaches. Whether headaches are a symptom of dry eyes or the other way around is yet to be determined. Both headaches and dry eyes can also be a side effect of certain medications.
If you suffer from headaches and migraines, it may be beneficial to treat dry eyes, too, for additional relief.
Treatment options for dry eyes and headaches
Some treatment options for dry eyes include changing your environment, using a humidifier, becoming aware of your allergies, following your allergy treatment plan, using artificial tears and prescription eye drops, wearing medicated contacts, and, in extreme cases, surgery.
Here are some examples of home remedies for headaches:
Biofeedback: Electronic sensors monitor body functions and data fed back to the patient through sound and computer images to help teach the patient how to control responses such as tight muscles, heart rate, etc., for preventing headache.
Acupuncture: Needles are inserted under the skin to improve energy flow. Some studies show that acupuncture can be effective in acute migraine prevention.
Neck stretches: Muscle tension can add to the pain of a headache, so doing muscle stretches can be helpful when symptoms are present.
Aerobics: Brisk walking, swimming, and cycling have been known to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches for some people.
Gentle massage: If you can locate the optical nerve and gently massage the back of the head, as well as the base of the skull, it can bring headache relief.
Cold compress: Applying a cold compress to the affected area of the head can be helpful in cases of the throbbing headache.
Meditation: Meditating can level off blood pressure, which is why it can help with headaches. This is something that is easy to do in the comfort of your own home or in a meditation class.
Lavender oil: This oil has a calming effect and has been used by many headache sufferers. Some people put drops of lavender into boiling water and inhale the steam, or apply the oil right on their temples.