People with Migraines Have a 20 Percent Higher Risk of Dry Eye Disease

dry eyes migrainesPeople with migraines have a 20 percent increased risk of experiencing dry eye disease, and this is especially true for seniors.

A study took place throughout 10 years and involved nearly 73,000 individuals who were cared for at ophthalmology clinics. The findings revealed that living with migraines was associated with a 20 percent higher risk of dry eyes, even after taking into account medications and other factors.


This association seemed to get stronger with age, especially among women. In men over the age of 65, migraines nearly double the risk of dry eyes, whereas women’s risk at the same age was 2.5 times greater.

Research lead Dr. Richard Davis explained, “Physicians caring for patients with a history of migraine headaches should be aware that these patients may be at risk for [concurrent] dry eye disease.”

Many migraine patients don’t associate their migraines with dry eyes. This is why the latest research findings are so important – they shed light on the possible relationship. Knowing this relationship exists can assist patients in receiving a diagnosis.

Dry eyes affect nearly eight to 34 percent of adults and causes discomfort, visual disturbances, and other ocular issues that can negatively impact a person’s quality of life.

Although the study did not prove cause and effect, it does shed light on the possible link. Underlying inflammatory processes on a cellular level could play roles in both migraines and dry eyes.


The authors theorized, “Inflammatory changes in dry eye disease might trigger similar events in neuromuscular tissue, leading to the development and propagation of migraine headaches.”

The study teaches doctors treating migraine sufferers to look out for possible symptoms of dry eyes so that treatment can begin early on.

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Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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