Your life and eyes 4 min read

Neck and Shoulder Pain

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Tension in the neck and shoulders can lead to eye pain, as tense muscles can press on eye nerves at the back of your neck.

When thinking about what causes pain or strain to your eyes you would not think that tension in your shoulders or neck would have an effect. Anatomically speaking your senses are controlled by the brain and delivered through the nervous system through the spinal cord. For your eyes, this is delivered from the optic nerve which transmits electrical signals from the retina to the brain. Muscle tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders can lead to headaches or problems with your vision, as the flow of blood is restricted to your eyes. 

An image of the spine in the body

 

Signs you may notice are: 

  • A throbbing pain around the temples
  • Blurred vision or difficulty focusing
  • Migraines
  • Nausea or vomiting

The causes

Here are a few factors that can cause neck and shoulder pain. 

Digital devices - The use of digital devices have increased. When looking at a screen your eyes have to work harder because of the brightness of the screen. Our blink rate can almost half and will often mean you are squinting at the screen. 

Posture - Your posture is important and can be affected on a daily basis by working at a desk or through strenuous hobbies. Changes in your posture can affect the strain you are placing on your muscles in your back, which can cause tension headaches and other aches and pains. 

Uncorrected vision - Eye conditions that are undiagnosed for example hypermetropia or presbyopia will make you squint and strain when trying to focus. Your posture could be affected if you try to move closer or further away from an object.

If you are experiencing a lot of neck and shoulder pain, we recommend seeking medical attention from your doctor.

How to reduce the pain in your neck and shoulders? 

Here are a few suggestions which can help: 

  • Take regular breaks when using screens. Moving from your desk or looking away from the screen will reduce the strain on your eyes and allow you to stretch your muscles.
  • Ensure your computer screen is at arm’s length away from you. 
  • Noticing and adjusting your posture when slouching will help. 
Did you know? 

We have specialised lenses for frequent screen use. Ask your independent optician about specialist varifocal lenses or specialist single visions lenses if you wear your glasses regularly when using digital devices. They will be able to recommend lenses that  reduce computer vision syndrome.