11.3.2 Headache attributed to refractive error

Description:

Headache caused by ocular refractive error(s), generally symptomatic after prolonged visual tasks.

Diagnostic criteria:
  1. Any headache fulfilling criterion C
  2. Uncorrected or miscorrected refractive error(s) in one or both eyes
  3. Evidence of causation demonstrated by at least two of the following:
    1. headache has developed and/or significantly worsened in temporal relation to the onset or worsening of the refractive error(s)
    2. headache has significantly improved after correction of the refractive error(s)
    3. headache is aggravated by prolonged visual tasks at an angle or distance at which vision is impaired
    4. headache significantly improves when the visual task is discontinued
  4. Not better accounted for by another ICHD-3 diagnosis.
Comments:

Most patients with 11.3.2 Headache attributed to refractive error will seek advice from an ophthalmologist.

While refractive error is much less commonly a cause of headache than is generally believed, there is some evidence for it in children, as well as a number of supportive cases in adults.