Why Your Sunglasses Might Be Causing Your Headache

by Sarah Wright on April 07, 2023

Have you found your favorite pair of sunglasses yet? Some of us can wear anything and love it all – but for the rest of us, we find out that the wrong pair of sunglasses can cause major discomfort. If you find sunglasses uncomfortable, here are a few reasons why, and what you can do to find a better pair.

  • Pressure on your nose.
    • If your sunglasses are too heavy or pinch the bridge of your nose, it could be that they are causing sinus pain from the maxillary or ethmoid sinuses.
    • If you feel pressure on the top of your nose or along your cheekbones, try a lighter sunglass, or a half-frame style.
    • If you feel your nose is being pinched, or feel pain just under your eyes, try a wider saddle bridge, and avoid the keyhole bridge style.
    • Many metal sunglasses like aviators have adjustable nose pads. Using needle nose pliers, you can bend them into the most comfortable place for your bridge and nasal sinuses.


  • Pressure or pain along the temples and ears.
    • Your sunglasses might feel too tight along your temple, too hard on the top of your ear, or put too much pressure on the back of your ear.
    • If your sunglasses feel too tight along the temple, pressing on the muscles and veins, then you likely need a wider sunglass style.
    • If the temple feels too wide or heavy along the ear, then you may need a narrow, lightweight temple – like those usually found on aviators or some sports sunglasses.
      • If one ear hurts but the other doesn’t, consider twisting your sunglasses slightly to ensure the pressure rests on both ears evenly.
        • Metal sunglasses should twist evenly. Plastic sunglasses may need a bit of heating using a hair dryer on the edges of the frame/hinges to make the adjustment.
      • If the curve of the earpiece puts pressure on the back of your ear, you may want a temple that’s straight or which curves only slightly.
      • Some sunglasses may have nickel hinges, which could cause rashes or discomfort for those allergic to nickel.


  • Too heavy overall.
    • A pair of sunglasses that’s too heavy can not only cause temple and nose pain, but maybe even neck or jaw pain.
    • Look for plastic half frames and narrow earpieces for lightweight sunglasses. Thick plastic sunglasses, oversize lenses, and thick metal frames are heavier – so avoid those styles. Many sunglass sites will have information about how heavy the sunglasses weigh.


  • Warped lenses that cause visual distortion.
    • If everything seems to be curved along the edges, or if one or both eyes seem to see waves when you put your sunglasses on, the lenses may be warped! If they are, take them back to the retailer for an exchange and try out another pair.
    • Lenses can warp if they are left in hot cars or near heaters. They may also just be a pair that snuck through the quality check process. Make sure every pair of eyewear you use doesn’t impede your vision in any way.


  • Lens colors that cause eye or muscle strain.
    • Darker lenses are great for midday outdoor use, but dark brown or smoke gray lenses may cause eyestrain if they are used in lower-light environments like indoors or on cloudy days.
    • If you find yourself straining to see, consider getting a lighter pair, or a pair with a gradient lens that allow more visibility as you look at your hands or the ground.
    • If you feel yourself squinting, causing pain along the edges of your eye, check and see if your lenses are too dark, or even too light.


  • Too much light coming in from the edges.
    • Straight frames sit a short distance away from the eyebrow ridge, and while it may be preferred for some, for others it lets in too much light. If you find yourself squinting, even with sunglasses on, you might need a wide temple style with a sports curve frame that hugs the face and blocks light from the sides and top from coming in.


We hope these suggestions help you narrow down what’s causing headaches and why so that you can find your perfect pair of eyewear. When you’re out shopping in the wild, try on several different pairs and styles to see which ones feel the most comfortable, so when you’re shopping online you can narrow down your choices!

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