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Thread: Headaches w/ Dry eyes?

  1. #1
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    Headaches w/ Dry eyes?

    Hey everyone, I was wondering, can headaches be linked to dry eyes? I ask because in addition to my dry eyes, I get two types of horrible headaches.

    1. My temples are extremely tight and tense, as if I have a rubberband squeezing my temples. It's extremely hard for me to open my eyes w/ this headache because I feel like I'm pulling on a rubberband in my temples to open my eyes. This usually happens when my eyes feel the "menthol sensation" and rawness. I don't know if this has anything to do w/ eye strain, but I don't use the computer or read much these days. I am a high myope though.

    2. I also get a headache in my forehead, where my forehead feels extremely heavy and it's difficult for me to open my eyes all the way. This usually accompanies tired feeling eyes.

    As if dry eyes are bad enough, I gotta have these headaches! I've asked a couple eye docs. One doc said I should talk to my general practitioner, who just told me to use advil. Another eye doc says that my body is just telling me to close my eyes to protect them.

    What do you all think it could be? Anyone experience this and know I could do? I would like to at least eliminate my headaches, if my dry eyes can't be cured. I'm in my early twenties and I can barely work, let alone start my career =(

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by odydnas View Post
    Hey everyone, I was wondering, can headaches be linked to dry eyes? I ask because in addition to my dry eyes, I get two types of horrible headaches.

    1. My temples are extremely tight and tense, as if I have a rubberband squeezing my temples. It's extremely hard for me to open my eyes w/ this headache because I feel like I'm pulling on a rubberband in my temples to open my eyes. This usually happens when my eyes feel the "menthol sensation" and rawness. I don't know if this has anything to do w/ eye strain, but I don't use the computer or read much these days. I am a high myope though.

    2. I also get a headache in my forehead, where my forehead feels extremely heavy and it's difficult for me to open my eyes all the way. This usually accompanies tired feeling eyes.

    As if dry eyes are bad enough, I gotta have these headaches! I've asked a couple eye docs. One doc said I should talk to my general practitioner, who just told me to use advil. Another eye doc says that my body is just telling me to close my eyes to protect them.

    What do you all think it could be? Anyone experience this and know I could do? I would like to at least eliminate my headaches, if my dry eyes can't be cured. I'm in my early twenties and I can barely work, let alone start my career =(
    I have the same kind of sensation. Are you on any kind of prescription drugs. I was on diazepine (valium) for a while and I swear the headaches and dry eye started then. They are in the benzodiazepine family. They are powerful muscle relaxers and might interfere with the small eye muscles.

    Cabut
    Cabut
    65yr.old male, Arizona resident.

  3. #3
    I also sometimes get temple headaches, although I haven't observed any correlation between them and bad "dry eye days." I'm wondering, though, whether these types of headaches might be related to mild dehydration, which, as we all know, can certainly exacerbate any dry eye symptoms.

    Randal

    Quote Originally Posted by odydnas View Post
    Hey everyone, I was wondering, can headaches be linked to dry eyes? I ask because in addition to my dry eyes, I get two types of horrible headaches.

    1. My temples are extremely tight and tense, as if I have a rubberband squeezing my temples. It's extremely hard for me to open my eyes w/ this headache because I feel like I'm pulling on a rubberband in my temples to open my eyes. This usually happens when my eyes feel the "menthol sensation" and rawness. I don't know if this has anything to do w/ eye strain, but I don't use the computer or read much these days. I am a high myope though.

    2. I also get a headache in my forehead, where my forehead feels extremely heavy and it's difficult for me to open my eyes all the way. This usually accompanies tired feeling eyes.

    As if dry eyes are bad enough, I gotta have these headaches! I've asked a couple eye docs. One doc said I should talk to my general practitioner, who just told me to use advil. Another eye doc says that my body is just telling me to close my eyes to protect them.

    What do you all think it could be? Anyone experience this and know I could do? I would like to at least eliminate my headaches, if my dry eyes can't be cured. I'm in my early twenties and I can barely work, let alone start my career =(

  4. #4
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    Yes, very often. Might be a good question for one of the Docs on this site?
    just keep swimming...

  5. #5
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    Since i'm not the only, this sounds like a good question to post on the experts forum. Will do. Thanks all!

  6. #6
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    I find that when I have to squint on my bad dry eye days in order to make my ocular surface smaller, thus not as much of my is exposed to feel irritated, I can get headaches from time to time. Obviously squinting will do this, so if you do this to combat your symptoms it could be the culprit.

  7. #7
    Did you ever get tested for allergies. My biggest complaint in the beginning where constant headaches. Dr. Latkany told me to get tested for allergies. I did, and it turns out that my headaches were related to the allergies. I did not know I had allergies before, even though I was usually congested. Taking allergy medicine helps with the headaches, and I usually feel overall better.

  8. #8
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    I actually did get tested for environmental allergies and as I expected, I was only mildly allergic to one thing: dust mites. And I actually feel a lot better at home in my bed than any where else. Go figure. And I doubt it's from dehydration, I drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.

    I'm beginning to think that it must come from squinting all the time like untkicker, and from anxiety and fatigue. I find that I am constantly anxious and stressed now. I've started doing some gentle hatha/restorative yoga and meditation, and I am hoping that will make a difference. I'll keep the board updated on whether yoga and meditation is helps my headaches and dry eyes.

  9. #9
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    hi - I too suffer from headaches - the squinting idea seems to make sense to thanks for that tip - I will try not to squint and see if that makes any difference.

    Thanks

    EllMitcho
    The magic gloop IS out there somewhere - right?

  10. #10
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    Unhappy Headaches

    Hi,

    Have you seen a neurologist? I have this problem and allergies and found out my "sinus headaches"-- forehead pain like you describe-- was actually migraines. You should get properly evaluated since most doctors who are not neurologists misdiagnose migraines.

  11. #11
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    Dry Eye and Headaches

    I too have difficulties with headaches; they are almost constant for the past 2 plus years. I am confident it is caused in some way by the dry eye situation, but I cannot determine exactly what the connection might be. My gut feeling is that because my eyes are so overly sensitive that the effort to keep them open results in the stress/strain in the forehead and temple area thus causing the headaches. Mind you this is merely my theory.

    I have seen pain management doc's as well as neurologists. They have tried various meds to treat migraine and cluster headaches, none of which have helped. So I am back to the theory that the dry eye is the cause. As background, I rarely ever suffered from a headache prior to the start of the dry eye symptoms.

    I also suspect that the dry eye is caused by rosacea. From what I read 50% of those suffering from rosacea also experience ocular rosacea. So my next step is a dermatologist, which I have lined up for this Tuesday. Wish me luck.

    Regards and keep trying to find an answer.

  12. #12

    headaches/pain associated with DES

    I have a lot of experience with this and did a lot of research on myself. DES cause body pain and headaches without a doubt !

    Doctors don't acknwoledge as they only focus on the eye and in this also only on the visible ocular surface. Furthermore, since there are no researches done on this subject that show this relationship for doctors this relationship doesn't exist.

    My experience suggest that the pain/strain/tension is a result of two main reasons:

    1) dry cause eye strain by building pressure on the eye muscle. This could result from the fact that DES deteriorate vision acuity (my experience is poor vision, less light-darker, weak colors,etc) which make the muscle to over work to compensate for that. Also muscle further contract in order to compensate on the poor vision acuity, all this result with eye strain. This strain/tension spread to the entire body, as it can't remain limited to one organ.

    2) DES create constant pain on the nerves of the eyes


    The best way to attack this is four folds:

    a) treat DES -drops, scleral lenses

    b) have your OD examine your vision under the influence of A Cycloplegic (pupil dilation) which relax the focus muscles, and thus somewhat neutralize the eye strain/constrained muscles effect. This alone, could indicate that your REAL (or more accurate) prescription number is actually lower than your current one, and that would help the muscle to relax and would reduce your strain and improve your vision. This works very well and more common than you may think ! I actually came to that conclusion myself after I become aware that this is what happen to me and forced my OD to do so, and the result were beyond what I could ever imagine !

    c) check for MGD and if necessary perform hot compress, followed by lid massage and oil squeeze. The swollen lid and trapped lipid oil put pressure on the lids and eyes

    d) meditate- I highly recommend on Goenka tradition Vipassana meditation and Ana Pana technique. This actually relax the entire body, and make you better accept and tolerate pain/pressure and better function with it, as well as many other wonderful benefits.


    ** for more info on all the above solutions, please search in my previous posts through my profile, as I have already written detailed posts on each of this subjects

  13. #13
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    I get a headache, sometimes, when I've had a particularly tough job opening my eyes, first thing in the morning. My eyes are severely stuck in the morning, to the point that I have to pull them open with my fingers. However, I used to try desperately hard to open them myself, and it was after doing this that I used to get the headaches

  14. #14
    beachblanketbingo Guest

    Sinus

    Did you ever get a cat scan from an ENT - its possible you have sinus issues - I have sinus polyps and although I never get a runny nose - my cat scan showed my sinuses to be blocked - hence the headaches

  15. #15
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    I find this thread very interesting. Are there any updates from any of the posters here?

    I have a friend who is an optometrist, I also work for one. I asked my friend about the connection between dry eyes and headaches, and I think she misunderstood. She said if I wake up with the headache, then it isn't vision related. Which wasn't my question to begin with, I never did think my headaches are related to my vision.

    I have a headache when I go to bed, when I wake up, and every minute in between. The pain has been worse lately, and my doctors are no help. My forst neuro put me on Topamax, thinking the pain was keeping me awake, not allowing the proper rem sleep. This neuro just wasn't who I wanted to begin with, and I never felt any recovery with him. My 2nd neuro is a brilliant neurologist, and I am very happy I have him. Yet, he hasn't helped my headaches either. He did take me off topamax, had a sleep study done, which, yes, I have sleep apnea, I never expected that one. Well, it's a year after starting on a CPAP, and the head pain is still there. He then said maybe I have too much stress and anxiety in my life and put me on Wellbutrin, which I am about ready to wean off of, it's not helping either. I asked to be tested for Sicca/Sjogrens and the test came back negative, which I understand is not unusual. My thyroid numbers come back in range, which also is not always normal for the person. I do believe I have adrenal fatigue, yet they don't seem to want to discuss it. I am pre-diabetic by most doctor's standards, so for now, I am watching my blood glucose level, just to see what it's doing.

    My eyes are very dry, as is my mouth. When I read the first poster ask about hydration being a problem, I found that to make perfect sense to me. How is everyone else here doing with the headaches?

  16. #16
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    Headache pain constantly

    Not that this will be of much help, but I am convinced that the doctors truly do not have any understanding of the connection going on between dry eye syndrome and headaches. So with that being said I don't have any hope about asking my eye doctor. I have already gone the neurologist route and they try meds to treat atypical migraines. My concern is that too much medication can run the risk of further drying out the eyes; so many seem to.

    I do agree with the blurbs concerning squinting in response to the eye pain and discomfort. That seems to be the headache connection.

    Unfortunately I have nothing positive to share. The only relief that I have discovered is to close my eyes. I seem to be doing that far too often each day, but I have no other ideas about dealing with the constant pain.

  17. #17
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    I'm sorry, I do understand what you mean...been there, did that.

    It wopuld be easier for us to deal if we at least knew what we are dealing with.

  18. #18
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    For my 2 cents on my situation. After Lasik almost 10 years ago, I began to have pain in my left eye. I also had extreme dry eyes from the Lasik. The doctor(s) could not offer any advice except that it was caused by the dryness. Funny it was only in the eye that was butchered during Lasik.

    I was still working then and spent all my off-work time in bed with an icepack on my eyes and taking pain meds. I had to have a medically necessary surgery on this eye (cataract) and this made the pain worse.

    Seven years after Lasik, I was diagnosed with Sjogrens. I had the disease for a long time, but no way of knowing exactly how long. Within the past year, my rheumatologist told me to try Lyrica. I'd tried neurontin, and many, many others like it but nothing helped. I'd taken Lyrica for a few months and finally realized the pain in my left eye was 50% better. The Lyrica also helped in some of my other Sjogrens problems (neuropathy). I do believe Lyrica is worth a try, but I think it's more likely to work if the pain is of a neuropathic nature. I also think dry eyes can cause extreme pain and make you crazy. Well, nearly crazy. Lucy
    Don't trust any refractive surgeon with YOUR eyes.

    The Dry Eye Queen

  19. #19
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    I also have severe dry eye from lasik. I dont have the nerve pain that Lucy described, but I do get severe headaches often when my eyes are very dry. What helps sometimes for me is taking Excedrin Migraine, filling my eyes with genteal gel and icing. If its really bad, Ill use ointment (otherwise I try to stay away from ointment, but when the gel seems to disappear after only 5 minutes in my eye, I turn to the ointment!).

    I generally get these headaches when I am REALLY dry, and I can tell because I am double plugged so it is pretty obvious to me when I have no tears, and this is usually when the headaches are at their worst. If only one eye is really dry, I will only get the headache above that eye. I have no doubt that there is some relationship between the headaches and the dry eye.


    -Shells

  20. #20
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    Since my dryness started to worsen three months ago, I've had slight headaches. It may be because my eyes are having to work harder or because I'm screwing them up every now and then to induce what tears I can muster. I've got some Paracetamol in the house so have taken the occasional tablet (something I hardly ever do).

    Moonraker

  21. #21
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    Headaches after LASIK

    I've had a headache every day since my LASIK-induced dry eye started 3.5 years ago. For the most part, I think the headaches are caused by tension related to squinting in an attempt to deal with vision fluctuation and to keep bright light and air out of the eye. Most of the tension I experience is across the brow; not at the temples. In general, there are at least two days per week during which the headaches are totally incapacitating.

    I asked by doctor for some kind of analgesic, but he said that most would be ineffective for dry eye related headache pain and they would most likely make the dry eye worse in the long run. The only thing that he could recommend for excruciating dry eye induced headache pain is a topical steroid, which I don't want to take long-term because of adverse side effects (cataract and glaucoma).

    Someone had mentioned taking a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines make dry eye worse in most cases and, therefore, may be a contributing factor with regard to headaches. I frequently take Ambien-CR (which is not technically a benzodiazepine, but is a benzodiazepine mimic or "atypical benzo") to help me get through the night due to severe insomnia since LASIK, but if I take it more than three nights in a succession, my dry eye gets much worse.

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