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Eye problems may cause headaches in children

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 9 months ago

A recent study published in the journal Ophthalmic Epidemiology has shed light on the prevalence of eye-related problems in children who experience headaches. The study, conducted at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, reviewed the medical records of 1,878 children between the ages of 2 and 18 who visited an outpatient ophthalmology clinic with complaints of headaches. The researchers found that approximately one-quarter of the children had one or more eye-related findings that may have contributed to their headaches.

The most common eye condition among these children was refractive issues, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, which affected close to a fifth of the participants. Eye misalignment, known as strabismus, was the second most common condition, affecting 4.4% of the children. Other eye conditions, including uveitis, glaucoma, and optic nerve elevation, were found in very small percentages of the children.

According to lead study author Lisa Lin, MD, these findings are significant because a treatable eye condition was identified in a quarter of the children. She emphasizes the importance of examining the eyes of children who complain of headaches, as the eyes can provide valuable insights into potential underlying issues.

While the study did not follow up with the children to determine if their headaches improved with the correction of their eye problems, experts highlight the importance of taking children's headaches seriously. Paul G. Mathew, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, urges parents to consult with a pediatrician if their child experiences headaches, as further consultation with specialists such as eye doctors or neurologists may be necessary.

Mathew, who is also on the board of directors of the National Headache Foundation, stresses that children's headaches should not be ignored or dismissed. He recommends being aware of headache triggers, such as lack of sleep, stress, dehydration, delayed meals, and weather changes. Additionally, he advises parents to ensure that their child has plenty of downtime, eats regular nutritious meals, stays hydrated, and gets adequate sleep.

In conclusion, this study highlights the potential link between eye-related problems and headaches in children. While further research is needed to establish a causal relationship, it emphasizes the importance of considering eye examinations when children complain of headaches. Parents are urged to take their child's symptoms seriously and advocate for the best possible diagnostic efforts.

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