Wearing new glasses can cause headaches while the eye muscles adjust to them. Improper fit, incorrect prescription, and misuse can also cause headaches. A person can take various steps to manage or prevent headaches.

A headache is pain in any part of the head. There are two types: primary headaches, where the headache is the main problem, and secondary headaches, which are due to another underlying condition. Wearing glasses can cause temporary discomfort and headaches. Eye strain and eye diseases can also cause headaches. “Asthenopia is the medical term for headaches secondary to eyestrain.

This article explains why glasses can cause headaches, as well as the symptoms and treatments associated with them. It also explains when to see a doctor and what other possible causes of headaches are.

The eyes must compensate for changing visual demands when using eyeglasses for the first time or when the prescription is drastically changed. The muscles around the eyes and the focusing systems have to readjust to adapt to the lens and work differently. It usually takes a few days to a few weeks for the eyes to adjust to new prescription glasses. It is best to contact your ophthalmologist if symptoms, such as headaches, persist beyond this period after wearing new glasses.


People can experience several symptoms as their eyes adjust to new eyeglasses, even if they are properly fitted and prescribed. These symptoms can be the following:

seeing objects smaller than their objective size, which is called micropsies
blurred vision
image distortion


A person should not stop wearing their new glasses because of the discomfort. Instead, she should follow her doctor’s recommendations. Repeatedly taking glasses off and switching between old and new glasses can make it harder for the eyes and brain to adapt.

Bad fit

Ill-fitting eyeglass frames are another possible cause of headaches. An ill-fitting frame can put pressure on the temples or the bridge of the nose, causing headaches. An ill-fitting frame can sit too close or too far from the eyes and cause discomfort. Poor pupillary distance, or the distance between the pupils, can also lead to headaches and other symptoms.

Ill-fitting glasses can

be loose at the ears
slip on the nose
pinch the bridge of the nose


A person can go back to their eye doctor and have their frames adjusted to fit properly.

Wrong prescription

Uncorrected refractive error can also cause headaches. A 2016 study found that migraine is a common type of headache in people with refractive error, called ametropia. A headache can also occur if a person wears glasses for a purpose other than that for which they were designed. For example, glasses worn for distance vision and reading may be ineffective for computer use. Rather, a person should use eyewear that meets the demands of their activities.


The type of headaches that refractive errors can cause differs from person to person. A 2019 study of children with refractive errors found that some reported dull pain in, behind, or around the eye (periocular pain), while others reported frontal and acute headaches.

Other symptoms of refractive errors may include the following

double vision
blurred vision
glare or halos
difficulty focusing and concentrating


The best way to treat headaches due to refractive errors is to have regular comprehensive eye exams and address the underlying eye problem. It is best to contact your ophthalmologist if you feel that your glasses are not providing adequate corrective action or if you think it would be useful to wear glasses for other uses.

Eye fatigue

If a person wears glasses to work on a computer and has headaches, the headaches may be due to eye strain rather than the glasses. It is also possible that the glasses she wears to work on a computer are not suitable for this use. Their ophthalmologist can advise them on a different prescription for using digital screens. Eye strain occurs when the eyes are tired from intense and prolonged use. Another term for eyestrain is “asthenopia”. It occurs when the eye muscles continually adjust to focus, overstraining them. A 2020 study of college students with asthenopia found that symptoms can include the following

itchy eyes
difficulty concentrating

Digital eye strain, also known as computer eye strain or computer vision syndrome, is a type of eyestrain that occurs in people who use digital electronic devices, such as computers and tablets, for prolonged periods of time. . A 2020 study found that 12-41% of participants experienced headaches, neck pain, eye strain, and general fatigue when using tablets and smartphones.


Visual fatigue can lead to eye discomfort and headaches. As it is caused by tension in the eye muscles trying to correct visual acuity, it is not usually present upon awakening and tends to worsen with prolonged use of the eye.

Below are other ocular and non-ocular symptoms that often accompany digital eye strain:

dry eye
itchy eyes
feeling of having something in the eye
blurred vision
neck stiffness
general tiredness
back pain

Uncorrected vision problems, such as astigmatism, and refractive errors, such as myopia, can also contribute to eye symptoms when using a digital screen.
It is best to contact a doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you experience symptoms of eye strain.


A person who works in front of a screen can reduce eyestrain by taking frequent breaks. It can be helpful to follow the 20-20-20 rule. This rule is to pause every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 meters away for 20 seconds. Minimizing glare from screens where possible can also be helpful.

Ways to prevent eyeglass headaches

Regular eye exams can help prevent underlying eye conditions from causing headaches. This helps ensure that the person has the correct prescription. An ophthalmologist may need to adjust a person’s prescription over time, depending on how their vision changes. An eye doctor can also make sure the glasses are comfortable, not too tight, and do not put too much pressure on the temples.

Preventing eyestrain can also help reduce headaches. The best way to do this is to change the computer and the way the person uses it. To do this, it is necessary

place the screen 15-20 degrees below eye level
place reference materials above the keyboard and below the screen
avoid glare from windows and lighting
consider using an anti-reflective filter
sit in a chair so that the feet are flat on the floor and the arms are at 90 degrees and rest comfortably on the table or desk
follow the 20-20-20 rule, which is to look at an object 20 meters away for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of computer use
make sure to blink frequently.

When to contact a doctor?

It is best to contact your ophthalmologist if you suffer from frequent or persistent headaches when wearing your glasses. The ophthalmologist can ensure that the prescription and the fit of the glasses are correct. It can also tell when glasses should be worn, such as when reading or working on a computer, and recommend ways to reduce headaches.

Other causes of headaches

Many eye conditions can cause headaches other than wearing glasses. These include in particular

angle-closure glaucoma, which refers to fluid in the front of the eye that cannot drain properly
giant cell arteritis, which results in swelling of the arteries that run along the temples
a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), which can lead to:
vision changes, such as double vision
droopy eyelids
severe headaches
A person should contact their doctor if they have concerns about any of the above conditions. These can be serious conditions that require immediate treatment.


Wearing glasses can lead to headaches due to improper fitting or prescription. It can also be unsuitable eyewear, such as wearing long-distance glasses to work closely at a computer. Eye strain can also cause headaches. Regular eye exams help ensure that a person is wearing properly prescribed and fitted glasses. They also help identify and treat any underlying eye conditions that may be causing headaches. People with persistent symptoms should see their eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Other serious conditions can cause headaches; it is therefore essential to consult a doctor to inform him of his symptoms.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.