Dry eye occurs when you don’t have sufficient quality tears to sustain and keep your eyes moist. This eye condition is a common and persistent problem, especially in older adults. One complication that comes with dry eye is migraines.
Dry Eye Syndrome and Migraines
Studies suggest that people with dry eye syndrome may suffer from migraines that are longer-lasting and more painful. According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, people who had more migraines had a higher salt content in their tears. The higher salt content in tears can cause further drying.
In a 2017 study of almost a million U.S. veterans, researchers found that dry eye is more common in older people with chronic pain conditions than those without. Researchers also discovered that the frequency of dry eye increases with the number of chronic pain conditions. This suggests that dry eyes can indicate the presence of a chronic pain condition, such as migraine, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or facial, neck or back pain.
Possible Shared Mechanisms
There are different theories about what causes dry eye syndrome and migraine. Eye doctors and experts believe that these two conditions may have shared mechanisms. For instance, inflammatory processes appear to be contributing to both dry eye and migraines.
Central sensitization is when your central nervous system overreacts to certain stimuli, such as sound, light, noise or touch. It can cause serious pain and lower pain tolerance. Central sensitization is associated with migraines and dry eyes. Genetics also seems to play a role in these two conditions. Dry eye syndrome has been genetically linked to IBS, chronic pelvic pain and fibromyalgia.
At Insight Vision Center Optometry, we’re happy to help with your family’s eye care needs. We specialize in different therapies, including scleral lenses, vision therapy and more. Give us a call at (714) 486-3315, or complete our contact form to learn more about our services. We assist patients in Newport and Costa Mesa, CA.