Can a Smart Phone or Digital Device also cause Headache?

Most research indicates that computer operators report more eye-related problems than non-computer office workers. Researchers have been noticed that visual symptoms occur in approximately 70-85% of computer workers. A survey released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) showed that approximately 20% of computer workers have musculoskeletal disorders.         

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) can be defined as “complex of eye and vision problems related to near work that are experienced during or related to computer use.” And this condition most often occurs when the viewing demand of the task exceeds the visual abilities of the computer user. The symptoms can vary but mostly include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision (distance or near), dry and irritated eyes, slow refocusing, neck and backache, light sensitivity, double vision, and color distortion. In medical term eyestrain also called asthenopia which is the subjective complaint of uncomfortable, painful, and irritable vision. Asthenopia can be caused by some underlying conditions such as focusing spasm, different vision in each eye, astigmatism, hyperopia, myopia, excess light, voluntary focusing, eye coordination difficulties, and more. 

Headache is the most difficult malady to diagnose and treat effectively. There are numerous types of headaches and it can be caused by a number of different conditions.

Visual headaches most often occur toward the front or sides of the head (there are a few exceptions to this); occurs most often toward the middle or end of the day; do not appear upon awakening; do not produce visual auras of flashing lights; often occur in a different pattern (or not at all) on weekends than during the week; can occur on one side of the head more than the other; and bring other more general symptoms. It is necessary to elicit the time of onset, location of the pain, frequency, duration, severity, and precipitating factors such as stress, certain foods or medications to distinguish the type of headache. Associated signs and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and noise sensitivity should also be told to the doctor.

Many times a worker complains of a migraine headache. However, migraines are a very specific type of headache and have an organic, not visual, cause. There is no clinical diagnostic test to establish the presence of a migraine headache.

Computer workers most likely get tension-type headaches. These can be precipitated by many forms of stress, including anxiety and depression; numerous eye conditions, including astigmatism and hyperopia; improper workplace conditions, including glare, poor lighting, and improper workstation setup. These types of headaches are mild to moderate in intensity, often occur on either or both sides of the head, are not aggravated by physical activity, develop during the early to middle part of the day, last from few minutes to the rest of the day, and are relieved by rest or sleep. Chronic tension headaches vary somewhat from this but have the same type of symptoms and occur much more frequently.