If you’ve been suffering from chronic headaches lately and can’t figure out why, your contact lenses are probably to blame. People who wear contact lenses are likely to experience vision-related headaches for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of them.

Wrong Prescription
Though it doesn’t happen often, if an error was made in your contact lens prescription, it could lead to an eye strain and recurrent headaches.

“Being under-prescribed will lead to squinting, giving you frontal headaches,” says Dr Alan Glazier, optometrist and founder-owner of Shady Grove Eye & Vision Care in Washington. If this is the cause, replacing the lenses with contacts of the correct power should eliminate your headaches. Check with your ophthalmologist or optometrist to see if you’re using the right ones.

Dry Eyes
Dr Glazier says, “Dry eyes can cause eye discomfort and headaches. They can also make you more sensitive to light, causing you to squint. Constant squinting can cause a muscle-tension headache.” Headaches from dry eye discomfort and squinting usually occur later in the day.

Computer Vision Syndrome
Working on a computer for several hours a day puts you at risk of developing computer vision syndrome (CVS), the symptoms of which are headaches and eye strain. Although contact lenses don’t necessarily increase your risk of CVS, your contacts may dry out due to the exhaustive fatigues and eye strain, adding to your discomfort.

When discussing your headaches with your eye doctor, be sure to mention how often and how long you work in front of a computer, and whether your headaches occur more frequently during and after computer work.

Soft Or Toric Contact Lenses
Toric contact lenses are used to correct astigmatism, a defect in the eye caused by a deviation from spherical curvature. However, contacts sometimes aren’t as effective at correcting astigmatism as glasses. If you have astigmatism and experience headaches after wearing contacts for several hours, talk to your eye doctor in case you need to change them.

What You Can Do
If your eye doctor finds out that your headaches are not caused by your contacts, go for a thorough eye exam to rule out any other serious causes that may be the reason for your headache.

However, if you can’t avoid wearing contact lenses, Dr Kerry Assil, an eye surgeon and innovator from Los Angeles, shares a few tips to keep in mind while using them.

  1. Do not sleep in your lenses. It is important for your eyes to replenish their natural tear film.
  2. Clean your contact lenses on a daily basis with a good cleaning solution.
  3. Always wash your hands before touching your contacts.
  4. If your eyes are uncomfortable, red or have a discharge, stop using your lenses as it may point to an infection.
  5. Ask your doctor for over-the-counter artificial tear drops, in case your eyes dry out.
  6. Always store your contact lenses in a clean case and replace every three months to avoid infections.
  7. Do not use tap water to clean your lenses.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Diseases & Conditions here.

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An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, and Cardiff University, Wales, Yoshita Sengupta has more than five years of experience in writing for various news outlets. As Founder and Director of Underscore, a content solutions agency, she writes for multiple digital and print news outlets and consults brands. When not working for Underscore, she works with social entrepreneurs and homeless communities, which includes running a library for street children.