Blurry Vision and Headache

Blurry vision and headache are two common symptoms that frequently occur together and may indicate a variety of underlying health conditions. As an experienced local optometrist, Dr. Zurcher believes it's essential to offer in-depth information on this subject to promote the health and well-being of our community. In this in-depth discussion, we will explore the potential causes, prevalence, and treatment options for patients experiencing blurry vision and headache, as well as highlight the importance of scheduling a comprehensive eye examination with our qualified optometrist.

Blurry Vision and Headache in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

Blurry Vision and Headache: A Closer Look


Studies have suggested a potential link between the two conditions. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology found that people with dry eye disease were more likely to report having migraines. Another study from 2019 published in Cornea found that dry eye symptoms were more severe in migraine sufferers.

However, it's important to note that these studies do not necessarily imply causation, but rather an association. It is unclear whether migraines cause dry eyes, dry eyes cause migraines, or if there is a common underlying factor causing both.

The prevalence of each condition can vary widely based on the specific population studied. Dry eye syndrome is estimated to affect about 5-50% of the adult population, depending on the criteria used to define it. Migraines are estimated to affect about 10-15% of the general population. However, the prevalence of having both conditions simultaneously is less clear and would need further research for a definitive answer.

Potential causes

Various factors can contribute to the simultaneous occurrence of blurry vision and headache. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Refractive errors: Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can cause blurry vision, which may lead to eye strain and headache if left uncorrected.
  • Presbyopia: This age-related loss of near focusing ability can cause blurry vision when reading or performing close-up tasks, often leading to headaches. Learn more about presbyopia here.
  • Migraine: Visual disturbances, such as blurriness or seeing zigzag patterns, may accompany a migraine headache, affecting 12% of the U.S. population.
  • Eye strain: Prolonged screen time, inadequate lighting, or uncorrected vision problems can lead to eye strain, resulting in blurry vision and headache.
  • Dry eye syndrome: Insufficient tear production can cause blurry vision and discomfort, potentially triggering headaches. Learn more about dry eye syndrome here.
  • Binocular vision dysfunction: When the eyes don't work together properly, it can result in double or blurry vision, and headaches due to the extra effort required to maintain focus. Learn more about BVD here.

Serious health conditions: In some cases, blurry vision and headache may signal more severe issues, such as glaucoma, a brain tumor, or a stroke. Immediate medical attention is necessary if these symptoms appear suddenly, worsen rapidly, or are combined with other symptoms.

Diagnosing and Treating Blurry Vision and Headache

Comprehensive eye exam: A thorough examination by our qualified eye care professional is essential for accurately diagnosing the cause of blurry vision and headache. The exam typically includes a visual acuity test, refraction assessment, eye muscle evaluation, and a thorough inspection of the internal and external eye structures.

A deeper look into the visual system 

Depending on the outcome of the comprehensive eye exam our eye doctor may recommend additional testing to identify the underlying cause of your symptoms. Additional tests may include testing to identify how your eyes work together, how you process visual information, digital imaging of the eye, and dry eye tests. 

Treatment options

Depending on the cause, various treatments may be prescribed to alleviate blurry vision and headache, such as:

Eyeglasses or contact lenses: Correcting refractive errors can often resolve blurry vision and associated headaches.

Vision therapy: A personalized program of eye exercises may help improve binocular vision dysfunction and alleviate symptoms.

Dry eye treatment: For dry eye syndrome, our eye doctor may recommend a number of treatments from at home care to in office heating and expression of your eyes oil glands.

Medications: In the case of migraines, prescription medications may be prescribed to prevent or treat the headaches and associated visual disturbances.

Lifestyle changes: Reducing screen time, optimizing lighting conditions, and taking regular breaks can help minimize eye strain and related symptoms.

Medical intervention: In the rare event of a serious health condition, prompt medical attention and appropriate treatment are crucial to protect vision and overall health.

Blurry vision and headache are prevalent symptoms that may indicate various underlying conditions, ranging from simple refractive errors to severe health issues. Early detection and appropriate treatment are essential in managing these symptoms and safeguarding one's vision and well-being. By understanding the potential causes and available treatment options, you can take proactive steps to address blurry vision and headache.

Prevention and proactive care

Regular eye exams: Scheduling comprehensive eye exams every 1-2 years, or more frequently if advised by our optometrist, can help identify and address vision issues before they lead to blurry vision and headache.

Proper ergonomics: Ensuring a comfortable and ergonomic workspace with appropriate lighting can help reduce the risk of eye strain and associated symptoms.

Screen time management: Implementing the 20-20-20 rule (taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away) can help minimize digital eye strain.

Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise can promote overall eye health and help prevent vision-related issues.

Diagnosing and Treating Blurry Vision and Headache
Diagnosing and Treating Blurry Vision and Headache

Diagnosing and Treating Blurry Vision and Headache

If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist or you live too far from our optometry clinic in Olympia, you could start your online search by typing in phrases such as "eye doctor near me," "optometrist near me," or "eye specialist near me."

Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exams for Blurry Vision and Headache

Don't let blurry vision and headache compromise your quality of life. At American Family Vision Clinic, we are committed to providing the highest level of care for our patients. If you are experiencing blurry vision and headache, or if it's time for your regular eye examination, please contact our office at (360) 491-2121 to schedule an appointment. Our experienced team of eye care professionals will work diligently to identify the cause of your symptoms and provide personalized treatment options to help you see clearly and live comfortably. Remember, early intervention is key to preserving your vision and ensuring long-term eye health.

Patients with blurred vision visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of comprehensive eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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