Headaches can come on strong and suddenly, ruining your days and causing you pain at night. You think to yourself that it’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re overworked and stressed; or maybe that you didn’t eat or drink enough throughout the day. Or your body could be telling you, it’s time to retire the contact lenses.
If you wear contact lenses and are prone to frequent and persistent headaches, your contacts may be to blame. They may not be directly causing your headaches, but they are the starting point for a chain reaction. Breaking down this chain reaction will hopefully get you feeling better and back to your normal life.
What Are Contact Lenses?
Before we dive into dissecting our headaches, it would be good to know what contact lenses are and how they’re used. Contact lenses may seem like a simple vision enhancing tool, but the truth is a lot of work and calculations go into making the perfectly personalized pair of contacts.
Many would think that contacts are just mini glasses worn in contact with your eyes. To an extent, this is true. They do function as a replacement for glasses, but they function as a much better replacement for glasses. Because the contact sticks to the fluid on the surface of your eye, the contact moves with your eye naturally.
There are several types of contact lenses, including soft lenses, disposable lenses, colored contacts, silicon hydrogel contacts (that can be worn for longer periods of time). Besides colored contacts, all lenses will come with a prescription tailored just for you. Not only that, they will come in different shapes to best fit your eyes.
When such specific measurements are required, sometimes mistakes happen. Perhaps you have a slightly “off” prescription, or the contacts are ill-fitting. Like glasses, even the slightest miscalculation can mess with your eyes. Because the eyes are so closely connected to the brain, it’s no wonder that even when one element is off balance, everything is.
As we mentioned before, contacts are not directly responsible for your headaches. Rather, they play the key instigator. Contacts set off a series of other effects that eventually lead to annoying and sometimes painful headaches. There are three main reasons why your contacts are giving you headaches:
1. Wrong Prescription
The wrong prescription is a big problem. Have you ever tried on someone else’s glasses that had a much different prescription than yours? It isn’t very pleasant. You can probably just imagine how terrible it must be to unknowingly go the whole day like that because you’re wearing the wrong prescription lenses.
The wrong prescription can cause eye strain, which inevitably leads to headaches. Contact lenses (excluding non-prescription ones like colored lenses) are not for sale unless you have a prescription. Really the only way that you could receive the wrong prescription is if your eye doctor made a mistake.
Occurrences like this are rare, but that does not mean they don’t happen. Doctors are people too, and everyone makes mistakes. If you suspect you may have the wrong prescription, take your contacts off and call your eye doctor. Replacing the contacts with the correct prescription will eliminate the headaches.
2. Ill-fitting Contact Lenses
Poorly fitted contacts happen when they are worn for several hours more than they’re meant to be. As a result, the contacts dry up and shrink. This then causes the contact to lose its shape and no longer fit on the eye.
For one, this means that it no longer moves with the eye the way that it is supposed to. When it shrinks, the lens tightens around the eye, which may cause discomfort. This eye discomfort will then lead to headaches.
This is probably the most common cause of contact lens related headaches. We’re all guilty of over wearing our lenses at some point. Some days just get so busy that there’s no time to think of your contacts. Isn’t that the whole point of contacts? Sure, they’re convenient and invisible to others, but they shouldn’t be invisible to you.
An easy way to be rid of these headaches is to make sure you aren’t wearing your contacts for longer than you should be. This means, don’t wear them overnight if they aren’t suited for that, and don’t overwork them during the day. Talk to your eye doctor about your contacts and how long you can go wearing them before it’s a problem.
3. Dry Eyes
Those who have experienced dry eyes will know that they are the worst irritation. Dry eyes occur when your body isn’t producing enough tears and mucus to keep your eyes moist. Dry eyes can be caused by a number of things such as air quality, a side effect to medication, and dry contacts.
When your eyes and contacts dry up, it can be very uncomfortable. This can make someone more sensitive to light, causing constant squinting. Nonstop squinting will lead to eye and muscle strain, which will then manifest as a headache.
Office workers who use computers for long periods each day are at a greater risk of suffering from chronic dry eyes. Dry contact lenses may increase your risk of developing digital eye strain, which is becoming a huge problem today. Digital eye strain, also referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome, also causes headaches and eye strain.
The first step to avoid this is to pinpoint exactly what is causing your dry eyes. Enlist in your doctor’s help. Then work with them to fix it. They may recommend nutrients to fight dry eyes. But as you wait for the treatments to take effect, you can try blinking more often to force your eyes to produce tears.
There is no doubt that contact lenses are convenient in every way imaginable. But like any other eyewear, if not taken care of, the consequences will affect your vision health. If worn properly, you should be able to comfortably wear your contacts without fear.
With proper contacts you decrease your risk of headaches and dry eyes, and increase your eye health and your overall quality of life.