A patient once said to me, “Dr. Cheryl, these prism glasses are doing something! My headaches are getting better.” This young woman had been suffering from severe, debilitating headaches for her entire life. She was taking various medications every day to control them, but when it was “that time of the month,” the headaches would become unbearable. She would have to stay in a dark room when they occurred, often for days at a time. These headaches were destroying her life; work, school and her social life were all suffering, and she had pretty much lost all hope – until she came to see me at the Neuro Visual Center of New York.
How Caffeine Affects Headaches
I explained to my patient that while there are many factors contributing to her headaches that we could not control – particularly the hormonal swings every month – there were some triggers that we could control. First of all, I advised her to stop all caffeine and caffeine-containing medications cold turkey. This was not an easy task, as she suffered from a terrible rebound headache the first week. Unfortunately, this is the only way to get out of the caffeine-headache cycle. Many people see caffeine as a solution to their headache issues, but it really isn’t. While caffeine may make headaches better temporarily, it’s only a short-term fix, and the headaches will be that much worse when they return.
Vertical Heterophoria & the Visual System
After dealing with the caffeine problem, I addressed the vertical imbalance in this patient’s visual system. Vertical heterophoria (VH), a binocular vision disorder caused by a misalignment of the eyes, was putting a great amount of strain on her visual system. The constant stress resulting from this was a major headache trigger for her. Fortunately, I was able to correct the misalignment using special aligning prismatic lenses. The prisms in her new glasses made an immediate impact on her vision and headache symptoms.
Identifying Food Triggers
What you eat plays a big role in the occurrence of headaches and migraines. Everybody’s dietary triggers are different, so it’s important to pin down what exactly causes problems for you. Identifying these triggers can be difficult, but keeping a food journal will help. Keep in mind that it can take an entire day for a specific food to generate a headache, so be sure to record everything you ate for the full 24-hour period prior to it coming on. For the best and most accurate results, it’s important to document at least 20-30 of these occurrences.
Find Out How We Can Help
As for my patient, she is working on controlling other dietary triggers. Giving up caffeine and chocolate is tough, and I’m very proud of all her hard work. I truly believe she will soon be completely headache-free. To find out if prismatic lenses can help with your headache and migraine symptoms, contact the Neuro Visual Center of New York today at (516) 224-4888. One quick call could change your life!