A migraine is a complex neurological disorder that causes moderate to severe pain—usually on one side of the head—throbbing or pulsing. Migraine sufferers experience a range of other symptoms that can vary across individuals. Many people who have bad eyesight often wonder whether not wearing their prescription glasses or contacts can trigger a migraine headache. This article answers that critical question and explains the relationship between eyesight and migraine. Ocular migraines Migraines can affect eyesight. In fact, there's a medical term for that, ocular migraine. This is a form of severe headache that is accompanied by temporary vision changes, such as seeing flashes of light, zigzagging patterns, blind spots, and shimmering spots or stars. These symptoms are collectively referred to as migraine aura. There are mainly two types of ocular migraines: migraine with aura and retinal migraine. The former impairs vision and can make an individual see flashing lights, stars, patterns, or blind spots, while the latter causes bad eyesight in only one eye and is usually characterized by decreased vision and flashing lights. There are many risk factors for ocular migraines, such as genetics, hormone imbalances, weather changes, and certain odors. Does poor eyesight trigger migraine? Refractive errors, such as astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia, or presbyopia, don't directly cause or trigger a migraine, whether ocular or other types. However, if you're not using your prescription glasses or are wearing outdated glasses, you're likely to strain your eyes, which in turn can trigger a migraine. When you squint to see better, the muscle tension in your forehead and around your eyes increases, which can cause headaches. Bad eyesight can increase both the frequency and intensity of headaches. So, it's crucial that people with migraines who have refractive errors see an eye doctor for regular eye exams. Updating the glasses or contacts prescription can decrease the risk of migraine and even regular headaches. Additionally, you might want to drop habits that can promote eye strain, such as reading in low light conditions or staring at your computer screen or smartphone for too long. It's important to keep in mind that certain other eye-related conditions can also cause visual disturbances and headaches. These conditions include angle-closure glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Reducing the risk of these serious conditions and maintaining good eye health are a few more reasons you must consider scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor every once in a while.