Headache, or cephalgia, is among the most common comorbid symptoms that patients name as part of their chief complaints for an eye examination. Sometimes headache is the primary reason for an eye visit. Additionally, young patients are often referred by primary care providers or internists for an eye check when headache is a symptom.
Headache is so common that virtually everyone has experienced at least one headache episode in a lifetime. Every health care provider has encountered at least one patient with headache in their career. Fortunately, most headaches encountered in medical settings are benign in nature; the pain often disappears spontaneously or with treatment over a short period of time. Mortality or permanent morbidity secondary to headache is rare.
Nevertheless, headache is one of those medical symptoms that many health care providers do not like to hear about or manage because headache has a plethora of etiologies. Despite the fact that most headaches are benign, there still lies a small risk that the headache is a true emergency, and misdiagnosing or missing a true emergency can lead to a loss of a limb or life.