Is Working From Home Giving You a Headache or Migraine Attack?

Working from home and attending meetings virtually, rather than in person, can mean spending almost the entire workday looking at a screen — in addition to the screen time you log when you’re not at work.

For people who work from home, “the average person is spending more than 13 hours on digital devices during the course of a day,” says Paul Karpecki, OD, a member of the vision health advisory board at Eyesafe, a company that develops technology to filter out blue light from electronic displays.

“If you have any potential issue that can cause headaches, it’s more likely to come out in a situation like that, where you put that much strain on the system,” Dr. Karpecki adds.

Both migraine attacks and tension headaches — the most common type of headache — can be triggered by environmental factors and changes in your routine, according to Hamilton. Migraine attacks tend to be more debilitating, with symptoms such as throbbing pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

It’s estimated that between 85 and 90 percent of people with migraine experience sensitivity to light, particularly the blue-tinted light that’s most commonly emitted from phone and computer screens, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

There are a few things you can do if you think extra screen time is giving you more headaches, says Karpecki.

  • Try to limit your screen time to daylight hours. Research shows that exposure to blue light can change your natural circadian rhythm and disrupt your sleep schedule.
  • Consider using technology like Eyesafe — in a screen protector, for example — that filters out blue light.
  • Give your eyes a chance to relax by periodically (every 20 minutes or so) moving your gaze to something farther away, which can reduce eyestrain.
  • Take occasional breaks to keep your eyes moist. Blink rates go down about 75 percent when we’re on digital devices, says Karpecki.

RELATED: That Burning Sensation in Your Eyes? It May Be CVS, Computer Vision Syndrome

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