Can Astigmatism Cause Headaches? Unraveling the Connection

Healthy Mind / Tuesday, March 26th, 2024

Are you suffering from frequent headaches and asking if your astigmatism could be the culprit? Can astigmatism cause headaches? Astigmatism, a common refractive error, might play a significant role. This article delves into how an irregularly shaped cornea or lens can lead to strained vision and headaches. Join us as we explore the link between astigmatism and headaches, shedding light on symptoms, reasons, and potential relief methods.

Don’t let unanswered questions about your vision and headaches linger. Discover the connection and find pathways to relief.

What is Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a common vision condition caused by an irregular curvature of the cornea or the lens inside the eye, leading to distorted or blurry vision at any distance. Unlike a perfectly shaped cornea, which has a symmetrically round shape (like a basketball), an astigmatic’ cornea’s curve is shaped more like a football, with one curve being steeper than the other. This irregularity prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light-sensitive surface at the back of the eye, causing images to appear stretched or blurry.

Astigmatism can occur alone or alongside other vision conditions like nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia). Untreated astigmatism can lead to symptoms such as blurred or distorted vision, eye strain, headaches, and difficulties with night vision. Over time, it may significantly affect quality of life by impairing the ability to perform daily activities that require sharp vision.

Corneal astigmatism occurs when the cornea, the eye’s front surface, is irregularly shaped, leading to distorted or blurred vision because light rays are not focused properly on the retina. Lenticular astigmatism, on the other hand, arises from an irregular shape of the lens inside the eye, which can also cause vision distortion but is due to the lens’s inability to focus light accurately on the retina.


The Connection Between Astigmatism and Headaches

Astigmatism is a common vision condition resulting from an irregularly shaped of either the cornea or lens, causing blurred or distorted vision. This visual distortion can lead to strain and discomfort, often manifesting as headaches due to the effort required to focus on unclear images. Here are the key points to understand the connection between astigmatism and headaches:

  • Cause: An irregularly shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, leading to blurred or distorted vision.
  • Symptoms: Headaches, alongside blurred or distorted vision, are frequent symptoms of astigmatism, especially after reading, using a computer, or focusing on visual tasks for extended periods.
  • Diagnosis: Astigmatism is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam, which assesses the eye’s ability to focus light and examines the cornea’s shape.

Astigmatism Symptoms: When Astigmatism Leads to Discomfort

wear glasses astigmatism diagnosed

Astigmatism, a common refractive error, leads to various symptoms ranging from mild to severe, affecting daily activities and overall quality of life. Here’s a deeper look into when the astigmatism occurs and leads to discomfort:

Blurred Vision

The primary symptom of astigmatism is blurred or distorted vision at all distances, which results from light failing to focus on the retina properly.


Frequent headaches often accompany astigmatism due to the strain of trying to focus on blurred images, significantly contributing to discomfort.

Eye Strain

Prolonged activities such as reading, computer work, or any task requiring focused vision can cause significant eye strain and discomfort.


Individuals with astigmatism often squint in an attempt to clear their vision, which can lead to discomfort and further strain.

Night Vision Problems

Many people with astigmatism experience difficulty seeing clearly at night, which can be particularly uncomfortable while driving or navigating in low-light conditions.

Treatment Options for Astigmatism-Induced Headaches

distant objects refractive errors light bends

Treating astigmatism-induced headaches involves addressing the underlying refractive error to alleviate the strain on the eyes that contributes to discomfort. Here are the treatment options available:

  • Prescription Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses: The most common treatment for astigmatism, corrective lenses help focus light correctly onto the retina, significantly reducing headaches and improving vision.
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): This involves wearing specially designed rigid contact lenses overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea, improving vision during the day and potentially reducing headaches.
  • Laser Eye Surgery: Procedures such as LASIK or PRK can permanently correct the shape of the cornea, eliminating the need for glasses or contacts and the headaches caused by astigmatism.
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK): Similar to LASIK, PRK removes a layer of corneal tissue to reshape the cornea, offering a long-term solution to astigmatism and associated headaches.
  • Regular Eye Examinations: Keeping up with regular eye exams ensures that any changes in vision or astigmatism are promptly addressed, preventing the worsening of symptoms and headaches.

Preventative Measures and Lifestyle Adjustments

visual acuity test how much light

Adopting preventative measures and making lifestyle adjustments are essential in reducing the risk of developing astigmatism or worsening existing conditions, ultimately preventing associated discomforts like headaches. Key strategies include:

Regular Eye Exams

Early detection through annual or biennial eye doctor examinations can identify astigmatism or other vision issues before they become problematic.

Proper Lighting

Ensuring adequate lighting while reading or working can help prevent eye strain and discomfort, reducing the risk of developing astigmatism-related symptoms.

Screen Breaks

Taking frequent breaks using the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds) when using digital devices can minimize eye strain.

Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals supports overall eye health. Regular exercise can also improve blood circulation, benefiting eye health.

Eye Protection

Wearing glasses to protect your eyes during activities that could lead to eye injuries can prevent astigmatism caused by trauma to the eye.

Discovering the link between astigmatism and headaches offers valuable insights into managing discomfort. Understanding that astigmatism can lead to headaches highlights the importance of regular eye examinations and seeking appropriate treatments. By addressing and correcting astigmatism, individuals can alleviate headaches and improve their quality of life. Don’t let astigmatism-induced headaches disrupt your daily activities; explore treatment options and take steps toward clearer vision and headache relief.


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