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What Causes Headache Behind Eye

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How Do You Treat Headaches Behind The Eyes

Pain or Pressure Behind the Eye: What It Could Mean

Not every headache behind your eye requires a visit to the doctor. You can often treat them at home with these remedies:

  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol and smoking
  • Over-the-counter pain medication for mild or moderate pain

If you have severe pain, you should seek medical advice immediately. Your doctor may prescribe treatment like antibiotics for sinusitis or prescription medication for migraines.

Causes Of Headache Behind The Eye


These headaches often begin with pain around your eye and temple. They can spread to the back of your head. You might also have an aura, which can include visual signs like a halo or flashing lights that sometimes come before the pain starts.

You may also have nausea, a runny nose, or congestion. You could be sensitive to light, sounds, or smells. Migraine headaches can last several hours to a few days.

Tension headaches

These are the most common types of headaches. They usually cause a dull pain on both sides of your head or across the front of your head, behind your eyes. Your shoulders and neck may also hurt. Tension headaches might last 20 minutes to a few hours.

Cluster headaches

These cause severe pain around your eyes, often around just one eye. They usually come in groups. You may have several of them every day for weeks and then not have any for a year or more before they start again.

Along with the pain, you may also have watery eyes, congestion, and a red, flushed face. The attacks last 30 to 60 minutes and are so strong that you may be restless and can’t stand still while they happen. Cluster headaches aren’t very common and mostly happen in men.

Sinus headaches

A sinus infection can cause a headache around your eyes, nose, forehead, cheeks, and upper teeth. This is where your sinuses are. Youâll often also have a fever, congestion, and a thick nasal discharge. The pain usually gets worse throughout the day.


Sinus Headaches Or Pressure

Many times people dont 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 , 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.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Headaches Behind The Eyes

The symptoms that accompany headaches behind your eyes vary with the kind of headache you experience. Likewise, while you may have a migraine or tension headache, your symptoms will vary.

Similar types of pain often occur with several different kinds of headaches, which makes it challenging for doctors to diagnose them without information about your lifestyle. To identify which headaches you experience, look for specific symptoms associated with each one.

Migraines go beyond the pain in your head and may come with sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, weakness, mood changes, and even an aura before the headache begins. These headaches usually occur only on one side of the head.

Tension headaches can happen once or for several months, at which point your doctor will diagnose them as chronic headaches. Aside from pain behind your eyes, you may experience head tension, head tenderness, and forehead pressure.

Cluster headaches, like migraines, occur on one side of the head and create extreme pain. You might also feel sweaty or flushed, have teary or red eyes, and feel congested or have a runny nostril.

Sinus headaches can trigger pain anywhere your sinuses reach, including your eyes, nose, cheeks, forehead, and teeth. These headaches often accompany allergy symptoms like congestion, nasal discharge, and even fever. With sinus pain, you may notice the pain worsening over the course of the day.

Headache Above Or Behind The Left Eye: Causes And Treatments

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Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health

Experiencing a headache above or behind the left eye can have a debilitating effect on your daily activities. Pain that occurs around your left eye can start off as a dull throb and gradually becomes more intense and turn into sharp stabbing pain. Along with the headache on your forehead above the left eye, you may feel pressure in your head that can make concentrating and focusing difficult.

Some types of headaches that affect the left side of your head can also cause other symptoms. For example, along with the throbbing pain, you may experience flashing lights, nausea, sensitivity to light, or a stuffy nose if blocked sinuses cause a one-sided headache.

In the majority of cases, a headache behind or above your left eye that comes and goes can be treated with simple home remedies. Applying a cold pack, massaging your left temple and forehead, or getting more rest can be enough to relieve the pain and ease the discomfort behind your left eye. In some rare cases, if you have a constant headache that isnt relieved by natural treatment and is accompanied by other symptoms, you should see your doctor about it.

This article explores the most common causes of headaches that can occur behind the left eye and why some headaches affect your left forehead above your eye.

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What Causes Cluster Headaches

The exact cause of cluster headaches is not clear, but they have been linked to activity in part of the brain called the hypothalamus.

People who smoke seem to have a higher risk of getting cluster headaches.

Some people who get cluster headaches have other family members who also get them, which suggests there may be a genetic link.

Cluster headache attacks can sometimes be triggered by drinking alcohol or by strong smells, such as perfume, paint or petrol.

Eye Conditions Associated With Headaches Behind The Eyes

Headaches behind the eye may be associated with more serious causes, such as optic neuritis and angle-closure glaucoma.

Optic neuritis is a condition where the optic nerve is inflamed. This condition is linked with autoimmune disorders and often has symptoms that cause headache pain behind or in the area of the eyes. Symptoms may also include dim vision, blurry vision, and pain in moving the eyes.

Glaucoma is a condition where fluid builds up in your eye and can damage the optic nerve. Headaches with severe throbbing eye pain can be symptoms of a form of glaucoma called angle-closure glaucoma. The symptoms may also include blurry vision, seeing halos, red eyes, nausea, and vomiting.

Both optic neuritis and angle-closure glaucoma are severe conditions. If either is suspected, you should contact your eye doctor or go to an emergency room.

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Essential Oils For Headache Relief

You can also use some essential oils for their pain-relieving effect to quickly get rid of a headache. Essential oils work to get rid of head pain in 2 ways. First, the aroma from essential oils helps to relieve stress and have a calming effect on the mind. Second, many essential oils have a cooling effect on the skin and have relieving pain properties.

One of the best essential oils for headache relief is lavender essential oil. The journal European Neurology published studies showing that lavender essential oil is an effective natural treatment for migraine pain.21 Other studies have confirmed the ability of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil for headaches.22

How to use:

To create your own analgesic topical treatment for headaches using essential oils, this is what you should do:

  • Choose one of the above mentioned essential oils or use a combination and mix 10-12 drops of essential oil in 1 oz. of a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or olive oil.
  • Place some oil on your fingertips and gently massage to your temples forehead.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day to help treat recurring headaches around your right eye such as tension headaches, migraines, and trigeminal neuralgia.
  • If you have a headache behind your right eye which is caused by blocked sinuses, then choose eucalyptus oil as it will help to unblock your sinuses. You can also experiment with other essential oils for getting rid of headaches.

    How To Find Relief From The Pain And Discomfort Caused By Migraines Eye Strain Tension And Sinus Issues

    What causes migraines and headaches behind your eyes

    by Barbara Stepko, AARP, September 15, 2020

    Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

    En español | Blurry vision, dryness, itchiness all are common eye complaints that may suggest an underlying problem. But perhaps the most uncomfortable, not to mention worrisome, symptom is pain that occurs behind the eyes. It can be a sign of a range of issues, including eye strain, migraine and sinus infections. Depending on the cause, there are ways to eradicate the ache and get some sweet relief.

    Some common reasons for behind-the-eye aches:

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    Headache Behind Eyes: Causes Triggers And Treatment

    Headaches are defined as pain in any region of your head. A number of different headache types or other conditions can cause aches in the area behind one or both eyes.

    In addition to pain, headaches in this area a sensitivity to light and eye discomfort.

    While headaches of any type are common, knowing the cause can help you treat them at home. It can also help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis in order to administer the most effective treatment.

    the most common form of headache worldwide. Anyone is susceptible to this type of headache, though theyre more common in women.

    Tension headaches may be episodic or chronic. Chronic tension headaches are classified as headaches that occur 15 or more days per month for more than 3 months.

    Tension headaches are described as causing a tightening feeling or pressure around the forehead. Pain behind the eyes can also occur. Other symptoms associated with this form of headache include:

    • dull head pain

    that occur in clusters of 1 to 3 headaches a day. They usually occur around the same time of day for several weeks at a time.

    Cluster headaches can last as short as 15 minutes to over an hour. Theyre described as a searing or piercing painful sensation usually located behind one eye. They often wake people from sleep.

    Other symptoms you may experience with cluster headaches include:

    described as periodic, recurring attacks of moderate to severe throbbing pain on one side of the head.

    Headache Above Or Behind The Right Eye Main Causes

    Most of us will experience a headache behind the right eye or left eye at some point in our lives. In fact, according to some reports, headaches of any kind are the most common types of pain that people suffer from.

    Lets look at some of the most common reasons for headaches that cause throbbing pains that feel like it is behind or above your right eye.

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    Eye Pain From A Tension Headache

    The most common type of headache, tension headache, feels like a tight band around the head and may cause mild, moderate, or excruciating pain behind your eyes, neck, and head. It can occur due to muscle contractions in the neck and head regions. The symptoms of a tension headache are:

    • Dull, aching pain in the head
    • Feeling of pressure or tightness across the forehead or on the back and sides of the head.
    • Tenderness on shoulder, scalp, and neck muscles

    Episodic tension headache usually lasts for 30 minutes to one week and may occur less than 15 days a month. Chronic tension headache lasts for hours and may occur 15 or more days a month.

    Home remedies for a Tension headache

    Note: See your doctor if a tension headache affects your life, especially if you have to take medication for a headache two or more times a week.

    When Is A Headache An Emergency

    Eye Pain

    You should call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room if:

    • You have experienced a head injury.
    • Your headache is severe and came on suddenly.
    • You experience vision loss.
    • You have a very high temperature.
    • You are confused.
    • You are having sudden memory problems.
    • You are having trouble speaking.
    • The whites of your eyes are red.

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    Treatment For Headache Behind The Eyes

    Treatment for headaches behind the eyes is based on the cause. However, one of the best treatments for any type of headache is to prevent it before it happens. This means avoiding triggers and acting fast at the first sign of pain.

    Most people treat mild to moderate headaches with over-the-counter painkillers. These include acetaminophen, naproxen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Note: OTC medications should only be used occasionally. Although generally safe, they can trigger side effects, including rebound headaches.

    Other remedies that help relieve the pain associated with most headaches include:

    • Daily exercise

    Cluster headaches are also treated with medications, including:

    • Sumatriptan injections
    • Prednisone

    Sinus headaches usually require antibiotics if related to an infection and decongestants to alleviate the sinus pressure causing the pain.

    Additionally, symptoms can be managed by breathing warm, moist air and with warm compresses.

    What Is Digital Eye Strain

    Digital eye strain is the direct result of spending too much time staring at a screen. Although headaches are a common symptom of digital eye strain, you might also experience blurry vision, dry eyes, and tension in the neck and upper back. The condition can even lead to psychological symptoms, like irritability and reduced attention span, according to the Vision Council. Its prevalent in office workers and particularly common in those who wear contact lenses or glasses.

    Unfortunately, eye strain isnt a new symptomit can occur from staring at anything up close, such as a book or newspaper, for an extended period of time. But research has shown the problem is exacerbated by computers and handheld devices.

    There still isnt a ton of research on the long-term effects of staring at screens all day, says Ming He, M.D., neuro-ophthalmology specialist at the Neuroscience Institute at JFK Medical Center. Until theres more definitive research, its important to protect yourself as much as possible when using the computer.

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    How To Prevent Eye Pain

    What are other ways to treat pain behind the eyes? Remember that a healthy lifestyle is important to prevent and treat pain behind the eyes, especially when headaches are the cause. A healthy lifestyle will include getting adequate rest and eating lots of vegetables and other whole foods. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water, while avoiding processed foods, smoking, and alcohol.

    How do you avoid pain behind the eyes? It can help by wearing proper eye protection when the cause of your pain behind the eye is vision-related. Here are some other ways you can prevent pain behind the eyes:

    • Be sure to routinely and thoroughly clean your contact lenses. Also, wear your glasses whenever you can to allow time for your eyes to rest. Contacts should also not be worn longer than intended.
    • Chemicals should always be directed away from your body. The chemicals include pest control spray, detergents, and household cleaners.

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    Headache Behind Left Eye: 13 Causes With Treatments

    Headaches Behind Skull & Eyes (Great Self-Help Techniques) Occipital Neuralgia

    A headache behind the left eye is not a rare condition. The pain can interfere with your work, home duties, and other daily activities. It can be located in the eye, behind the eye, or in the head. This miserable pain may range from mild or dull to a throbbing and sharp stabbing. You may also experience nausea, flashing lights, or sensitivity to light. This pain will make it hard for you to concentrate or fall asleep.

    The common causes of a headache behind the left eye are a cluster headache, tension headache, eyestrain, and migraine. However, there are also other causes of why this condition occurs. Knowing the exact cause of a headache can help you deal with it properly.

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    Headache Behind Eyes: 10 Common Causes & What To Do

  • 10. COVID-19
  • A headache behind the eyes or within the eyes can occur due to vision problems , migraine, sinusitis, inflammation of the optic nerve or even COVID-19 infection. It can affect one or both eyes, and can be mild or intense. This pain can worsen with eye movement or straining to see.

    Pain behind the eyes can occur with other eye symptoms like redness, burning, increased light sensitivity, decreased vision, itching or headache.

    Therefore, if you experience pain behind the eyes, you should consult your doctor for assessment and to identify the cause so that adequate treatment can be started. Treatment may include using prescription glasses, eye drops or, in some cases, oral medication.

    The main causes of pain behind the eyes are:

    Treatment Of Headache Behind Eyes

    The best treatment for headache behind the eyes depends on the underlying cause.

    Migraines caught early enough may be successfully treated with non-prescription, over-the-counter painkillers, but several prescription medications are available for use both preventatively to reduce the number of attacks and the pain when a migraine headache starts.

    A daily medication regimen may be needed to treat chronic migraines and prevent headaches behind the eyes.

    Treatment of cluster headaches focuses on decreasing the severity of pain, shortening the cluster period and preventing future attacks. Oxygen therapy, injectable triptans and local anesthetics are among the treatments of choice these headaches behind the eyes.

    To determine the best treatment and prevention measures for a headache behind your eyes, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist. In some cases, your eye doctor may refer you to a neuro-ophthalmologist for a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan.

    Page published on Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    Page updated on Thursday, July 7, 2022

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