Why do children get headaches?
Headaches in children are common and usually not serious. Causes include migraines, stress and tension headaches, trauma, sinus disease and eye problems. Certain foods with nitrate preservatives can trigger headaches. Brain tumors in children as a cause for headaches are extremely rare, and are usually associated with additional neurologic symptoms such as dizziness and fits.
How are children with headaches evaluated?
Children should have a thorough physical examination with a pediatrician. He/ she may refer to a neurologist. It is helpful to keep a headache diary so that possible triggers (certain foods or activities) can be discovered. Sometimes an EEG and/or MRI Brain is needed to rule out the cause.
If the pediatrician finds no obvious medical cause for the headaches, a referral to an ophthalmologist is required to perform a complete eye exam. Examination includes refractive error (the need for glasses), eye alignment, and binocularity (the ability to use both eyes together).
How do eye problems cause headaches in children?
Hyperopia (farsightedness) requires extra effort to focus clearly while reading. This can sometimes lead to fatigue and headache. Glasses can reduce the effort required to see clearly at near and improve the headache.
Other causes may be convergence insufficiency, acute infections and inflammation of the eye or acute attack of glaucoma. In children acute attack of headache and redness can happen after ingestion of antiepileptic drugs like topiramate..