Headache, one of the most common health complaints, is not usually caused by eyestrain or by vision problems. Most headaches fall into one of three groups: muscle contraction, migraine, or disease of the head, eyes, ears, or teeth.
Muscle contraction headaches, the most common type, are caused by pain from contraction in the muscles of the neck and base of the head. This muscle tension, usually temporary, and usually caused by stress, leads to pain in the forehead, temples, and around the eyes.
Migraine headaches are caused by constriction of the blood vessels in the head. Symptoms can include: several severe headaches in close succession, visual display of jagged flashing lights (with or without headache), more severe pain on one side of the head, or pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Migraines may be caused by or exacerbated by stress.
Diseases are the least common cause of headache. A headache with this cause is usually felt on the side where the disease occurs. Symptoms may include blurring of vision, extreme light sensitivity, numbness, dizziness, or weakness. Pain may appear suddenly, or increase dramatically over weeks or months.
A thorough medical exam by your family physician is recommended in cases of recurrent headaches. An eye exam may be helpful. The treatment depends on the diagnosed cause of the headache. Eyestrain over a long period of time can cause headaches, but eyestrain is rarely the sole cause of headaches.
A red eye is not always as minor as it may seem. Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the wall of the eye. This layer contains many blood vessels and provides nourishment to the eye. Inflammation of the uvea can cause damage to eyesight in several different ways: by restricting blood flow, by scarring of the pupil, by causing swelling of the retina, by causing elevated eye pressure, or by inducing a cataract to grow. The symptoms of uveitis include eye redness, eye pain, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. There are many different causes of uveitis, including some diseases that effect other areas of the body.
Examination by an Eye M.D. will determine whether a red, irritated eye is uveitis. Sometimes a detailed physical exam and blood work are needed for diagnosis. If it is determined to be uveitis, it should be treated immediately to prevent damage to the eye. Treatment with eye drops will reduce the inflammation, and other medications may be needed to treat more severe symptoms.