Parents are often mystified by the cause of their children's headaches. A common assumption is that headaches might be related to poor vision, indicating a need for eyeglasses. But, a recent study says otherwise. New research indicates that even when children's headaches strike during visual tasks like homework, vision or eye problems are rarely the cause of kids' headaches.

Boy with headache

The study was conducted by pediatric ophthalmologists at Albany Medical Center in New York State to help provide more reliable answers for parents, family doctors and pediatricians who face this common health question. The researchers reviewed medical records of children under age 18 who were seen at the clinic for frequent headaches between 2002-2011. All of the children received complete eye exams by the clinic's ophthalmologists — eye medical doctors.

The findings showed that there was no significant correlation between children's frequent headaches and a need for vision correction. Follow up reports from parents showed that headaches improved for three-quarters of the children, and headaches were equally likely to improve regardless of whether they received a new prescription for vision correction.

"We hope our study will reassure parents that in most cases, their children's headaches are not related to vision or eye problems, and that most headaches will clear up in time," said Zachary Roth, MD, an ophthalmologist who led the research team.

Good vision and eye health are key to children's ability to do well in the classroom and be safe on the playground. Keep kids' eyes healthy by following the American Academy of Ophthalmology's guidelines for children's vision screening and learning about common children's eye problems. If your child has vision or eye health problems, find an Eye M.D. in your area who can help.

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