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What to do if your child’s glasses are giving them headaches

young girl wearing eyeglasses with a headache

What can you do if your child says their glasses are causing headaches?

Headaches are a common symptom of adjusting to a new pair of glasses, a process that can take up to two weeks. Fortunately, there are four ways you can help your child to stop the headaches:

  • Have your child take off the glasses when the pain starts.

  • Adjust your child's glasses.

  • Clean your child's eyeglass lenses.

  • See your child's eye doctor.

How glasses can cause a child's headaches

First, let's explore why glasses can cause a child's headaches:

Part of a child's struggle with adjusting to new glasses is getting their eyes to “unlearn” whatever strategies they were using to see more clearly.

A child also usually has to adjust to the fit of a new pair of frames and to seeing things from a new point of view, which can cause their eye muscles to overwork. 

Strained eye muscles can cause eye fatigue, eye strain and even blurry vision — all which can lead to headaches.

SEE RELATED: My child says their new glasses make their vision blurry. What should I do?

How to reduce your child's headaches caused by glasses

1. Have your child take off their glasses when the pain starts

Your child should wear his or her glasses, as prescribed, but take them off when they experience eye pain, headaches or dizziness. Don't let your child revert to wearing an old pair of glasses to reduce discomfort; that will only delay the adjustment process. 

In most cases, the headaches and eyestrain should subside after a few days.  

2. Adjust your child's eyeglasses

Your child may be experiencing headaches because the eyeglass frames don't fit their head correctly. To determine whether the fit of the frames might be causing your child's headaches, pinpoint where the eyeglasses sit on their face. 

Do the glasses slip down? Do they leave a red mark on their nose? Are they too tight on the sides? Do the glasses fit crookedly on your child's face? 

They may simply need a bit of adjustment to the nose pieces or stems. If you don’t feel comfortable making these adjustments yourself, your child’s eye doctor (or an optician in the office) will be able to do a quick fitting for you. 

3. Clean your child's eyeglass lenses

If your child still has headaches after wearing eyeglasses for a few days or after you’ve fixed the fit, you may want to check the lenses.

If your child has been handling their glasses a lot, they could be leaving the lenses full of dust and smudges. Clean your child's glasses carefully with a non-abrasive cloth and water. 

4. See your child's eye doctor

If your child continues to experience headaches after frame adjustments and lens cleanings, you should see your child's eye doctor. There could be a problem with your child's prescription or with the way the lenses were made. 

Your child's eye doctor also may wish to reexamine their eyes to see if any issues have developed since their last eye exam. 

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