Possible Link Exists between Dry Eye and Migraines

Feeling awful headache.

Migraines alone can be painful enough but for those who suffer from these debilitating headaches plus dry eye, the pain is even greater. Recent discoveries into the connection between dry eye and migraine could lead to better diagnosis and management for those who experience both of these painful conditions.

An observational comparative study published in the journal Cornea analyzed a small group of participants, half of whom suffered from migraines, to determine if there was a possible correlation between migraines and dry eye symptoms. Their findings showed significant differences between the groups with migraine and those without. Clinical indicators revealed that those with migraine exhibited greater degrees of dry eye symptoms. The researchers concluded that migraine headaches are likely related to dry eye disease and that migraine might be aggravated by dry eye disease.

Ophthalmologist Dr. Jacqueline Muller has also examined these correlations in her practice and reported similar findings. Dry eye can cause both visual changes and ocular discomfort. These symptoms can likely lead to headaches in susceptible patients. To test her hypothesis that hours of eyestrain and the dry eye that resulted could lead to headaches, Dr. Muller aggressively treated the dry eye of her patients who had both dry eye and headaches. In more than 90% of these patients, the frequency and severity of headaches decreased.

These research findings suggest implications for both patients and clinicians. Dr. Muller recommends that eye care providers query patients about dry eye and headaches to determine whether aggressive dry eye treatment might lead to improvement for both conditions. It’s also important for headache sufferers to be aware of this link and detail their history of symptoms to their physicians in order to achieve better treatment outcomes and improvement of painful symptoms. BostonSight® PROSE is one treatment option that has helped many dry eye patients relieve the discomfort, light sensitivity, and loss of visual acuity that accompany dry eye.

Do you suffer from both dry eye disease and migraines? What treatments and strategies have helped you cope?