Eye muscle strain may be a part of the reason for headache pain. A difficulty focusing or looking down and reading is a common sign that you are having trouble bringing your eyes inward. Eye muscle trigger points can develop in the ocular muscles. Neck tension and poor mechanics are an associated finding.
Another common finding after a head injury, concussion or even whiplash is a nerve injury affecting the eye muscles of one or both eyes. This creates a continued strain and eye muscle pain. This can be treated with Physical Therapy and is not usually something that requires an optometry assessment. Most people with this problem have had a normal eye exam. The problem is not with the eye itself but the muscles and nerves that control the eye.
Underlying Causes of Myofascial Trigger Points and Nerve Entrapment of the Ocular Muscles
Whiplash Associated Injury
Chronic Headaches, Tension Type Headache
The problem is not with the eye itself but the muscles and nerves that control the eye
Our theory is that this can occur with clenching and tension to the cranial sutures, most commonly the sphenoid bone. Tension and changes to motion of the upper neck including loss of proprioception or head and joint position sense can also affect the eye muscles.
Symptoms of Ocular Myofascial Trigger Points
Eye fatigue by the end of the day or with increased reading and activity
Pain around or behind your eye or eyes
Dizziness or feeling 'off'
Depth perception issues, driving is more difficult and can be more stressful
Walking grocery aisles, especially the cereal aisle or large stores such as Costco are difficult and cause symptoms
Muscle trigger points in the eye muscles can be felt next to the edge of the orbit along the bone. We do not recommend pushing on the eye itself. Supporting next to the eye where the muscle attachments are and adding head motion can bias the cranial nerves of the eye. Increased pain with testing suggests a cranial nerve entrapment as part of the underlying problem.
The most common muscle involved is the superior oblique muscle of the eye. It is easier to feel this muscle as it goes through a sling on the inside of your eye. It is responsible for inward motion as well as rotating the eye inward.