Headache is pain located to the head and sometimes neck which can be induced by a variety of different triggers and underlying medical conditions. Sometimes headache may originate from some conditions which initially affect the eye. For example, people who squint a lot and overwork their eye muscles are prone to headaches. Furthermore, headache also affects people suffering from glaucoma, an eye condition characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure. This is the reason why doctors always take into consideration potential eye disorders when trying to figure out the source of headache. After identifying the eye disorder which triggers headaches, it can be cured and subsequently even the associated headache will subside.
The Structure and Function of the Eye
The eye is a precious organ which makes us see all the things and people from our surrounding. This is achieved by various parts of the eye, all of which have specific functions. The light from the outside enters the eye through the cornea, iris and pupil. It is then refracted by the lens and sent to the retina. The retina is a receptor, an eye organ made of light sensitive cells (rods and cones) which collect the light, transform it into electrical impulses and send them via the optic nerve to the brain (visual centers in the brain). The shape of the eyeball is maintained by the vitreous humor and aqueous humor, a special fluid also necessary for maintaining optimal pressure inside the eye.
Refractive Errors and Headaches
Repeated and prolonged headaches are frequently associated with refractive errors. These include myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia.
Refractive errors cause inappropriate focusing of the image onto the retina which subsequently forces the eye muscles to work harder. As a result, one starts to feel the pain in the head. Fortunately, all of the mentioned conditions are easily brought under control with eyeglasses or contact lenses. By correcting the refractive error, eye muscles may continue working normally and are no longer subjected to excessive strain.
Glaucoma and Headaches
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition frequently associated with headaches. In glaucoma there is increased intraocular pressure. Such increase is a consequence of either build-up or inadequate drainage of aqueous humor. Elevated pressure easily leads to damage to the optic nerve and is also responsible for the onset of headaches. Unlike open angle glaucoma, which is characterized by the slow accumulation of aqueous humor inside the eye, angle closure glaucoma is an acute and quite serious condition which leads to sudden and severe pain in the eye, redness of the affected eye, headache, watering of the eyes, nausea, vomiting and sometimes loss of vision.
Fortunately, even glaucoma is curable and it can be treated either conservatively or surgically, Both treatments efficiently deal with symptoms and signs of eye disorder and also take care of the associated headache.