Headache pain never feels good, but feeling pressure behind the eyes can be especially miserable. Find out some common reasons and triggers for this type of headache pain.

If you feel a headache behind your eyes, that location may not be indicative of what’s causing the pain. In other words, it may not be trouble with your eyes, but it’s also very possible that this type of headache could cause vision problems for you.

Here are some reasons you may be feeling pain behind your eyes.

Tension headaches

These are the most common types of headache, and may cause pain behind your eyes, as well as on one or both sides of your head and from your neck down to your shoulders.

Triggers include poor posture, lack of sleep, being hungry or dehydrated, or eye strain from staring too long at a computer screen.

Treatments: If you have an occasional tension headache, many doctors may recommend an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You can also try a heating pad, warm compress, or rest. If you have these types of headaches frequently, your doctor may prescribe another medication.

Cluster headaches

If you have this kind of headache, you may feel extreme pain around your eyes (and particularly around just one eye) and your eyes may also feel watery. The name “cluster” has to do with the fact that these headaches usually show up several times for days or weeks, then disappear for a time before you have them again.

Triggers include smoking, alcohol, and certain medications.

Treatments: Your doctor may prescribe medication, such as verapamil or prednisone, or injected triptans or lidocaine nose drops. Some people find relief from breathing pure oxygen.

Migraine headaches

These types of headaches are known for being accompanied by both pain and visual symptoms, such as seeing a halo or flashing lights, or being extra sensitive to light. Nausea and a runny nose can also sometimes accompany the pain.

Triggers include not sleeping well, feeling stressed, bright lights, certain food and drink (such as alcohol or chocolate), or certain smells.

Treatment: Some people use caffeine to alleviate migraine pain, and there are also a number of prescription options for people who suffer regularly from migraines.

Sinus headaches or pressure

Many times people don’t recognize sinus pressure for what it is, because they often think of sinuses as just being around the nose. However, they are also located around our eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth, and you may feel sinus pressure in those areas that feels like a headache.

Triggers include sinusitis (including chronic sinusitis), colds, or allergies.

Treatment: Using a humidifier, warm compress, or breathing in warm, moist air from a vaporizer or pot of boiling water can help. Some people find relief from cold or sinus medications.

What Else Might Cause Pain Behind the Eyes?

Sometimes your pain isn’t a result of a headache at all, but may be the sign of something more serious.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss in people older than 60, and it is characterized by built-up fluid in your eye that can damage the optic nerve. Severe, throbbing eye pain combined with headache are two symptoms often described by people who have acute closed- or narrow-angle glaucoma. These symptoms are often accompanied by others, including blurry vision, eye redness, seeing halos, and nausea and vomiting. This is a medical emergency, so go to your emergency room or see your eye doctor immediately.

Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, and it can cause headache pain around or behind the eyes. Doctors aren’t sure what causes this condition, but it can be indicative of certain autoimmune disorders. Other symptoms include blurred vision, dim vision, and pain when you move your eyes. If you have these symptoms, see your eye doctor right away.

If you’re having persistent pain behind the eyes and you’re having visual symptoms, come see us to rule out any serious reasons for the pain. Contact us today.

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