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Can Dry Eyes Cause Headaches?

Many people who have headaches also have dry eyes. And people who have dry eyes sometimes complain of headaches.

But at this time, it appears more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between dry eyes and headaches — including whether one causes the other or whether headaches and dry eyes have a common cause.

It would not be too surprising if researchers someday find that dry eyes definitely cause headaches, as some evidence of a connection between dry eyes and migraines already exists.

Also, an ophthalmologist reported in Advanced Ocular Care that when she aggressively treated dry eye symptoms of 200 of her patients who had dry eye disease and also complained of headaches, more than 90 percent of them showed significantly fewer signs of dry eyes and also reported that their headache pain had either decreased significantly or their headaches were eliminated after one month of dry eye treatment.

Notes and References

Dry eye as a trigger for headaches. Advanced Ocular Care. July/August 2010.

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Gary Heiting, OD

Gary Heiting, OD, is a former senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 30 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear ... Read more