Pain behind the eyes – causes and home remedies

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Eye Health | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - 04:30 PM

pain behind the eyesPain behind the eyes can be quite discomforting and sometimes impair your ability to see because it is so severe you may only want to keep your eyes closed. There are many causes for pain behind the eyes, ranging in severity. Knowing what is causing your pain behind the eyes can help you obtain relief from the discomfort and fee like yourself again.

Here we will outline the common causes for pain behind the eyes along with home remedies you can try for pain relief.

Common causes of headaches or pain behind the eyes

Vision problems: Vision problems can lead to eye strain. For example, if you aren’t wearing glasses when you should or if you’re wearing the wrong prescription, your eyes may get tired, so you feel pressure and pain.

Sinusitis: This is a common condition that can cause headaches and pressure in the sinuses, leading to pain behind the eyes. It may be caused by allergies or an infection. You may also experience pain in the cheeks.

Scleritis: This is inflammation associated with some types of arthritis. The sclera is the film that covers the eye. When inflamed, it can become red, feel like burning, cause pain, and affect vision in severe cases.

Optic neuritis: This is a common early sign of multiple sclerosis, bringing on changes in vision accompanied by eye pain and numbness. Headaches in optic neuritis can be intense, so the goal is to reduce inflammation and relieve the pain.

Migraines: Migraines can affect vision and cause pain behind the eyes. One may also experience flashes, squiggles, or other visual obstructions. Migraines may also cause increased sensitivity to light.

Cluster headaches: Although not common, cluster headaches are quite severe. Pain behind the eye brought on by cluster headaches is usually centered around one eye and can be piercing.

Dry eye syndrome: The eyes can become dry for many reasons, including allergies or inadequate tear production. The syndrome is accompanied by itchiness, burning sensation, and a sharp pain behind the eyes.

Trauma: Trauma of the eye or even the head can cause pain behind the eyes. This can result from direct impact, hemorrhaging, or a headache.

Papilloedema: This condition develops when the optic nerve collects excess fluid and begins to swell. It is caused by various medical conditions and can worsen while coughing or sneezing. Lying down usually brings relief.

Aneurysm: A damaged blood vessel in the brain can lead to an aneurysm, when the blood leaks out from the blood vessel or the blood vessel bursts.

Glaucoma: Glaucoma results from the damaging pressure buildup behind the eye. Glaucoma can lead to pain, changes in peripheral vision, and even blindness.

Cranial nerve palsies: This is a painful condition in which blood flow behind the eye gets compromised, causing pain and leading to vision problems.

Hormones: Changes in hormones have been linked to migraines and headaches. Fluctuations in hormones can change blood flow to the brain and medications can worsen the effects as well thus contributing to a headache.

Home remedies for headache and pain behind the eyes

dry-eyes-risksHome remedies for pain and headache behind the eyes include:

  • Follow a healthy lifestyle and maintain proper eye care: Get plenty of rest, eat well, visit your eye doctor regularly, and always keep your prescriptions up to date.
  • Apply cold or hot compresses: Easing headaches can be done by soaking your feet in hot water and your hands in cold water. You may also wish to place a cold compress on your forehead.
  • Try exercises: Lay down on a hard surface and place your hands behind your head. Press your thumbs into the area of the base of your skull and allow your head to fall back. Hold that position as long as you can.
  • Eat and drink properly: Staying well hydrated can reduce the risk of headaches. It’s also important that you avoid smoking, alcohol, processed foods and medications that cause your hormones to fluctuate in order to further reduce your risk of headaches.
  • Use steam to relieve congestion associated with sinusitis

Treatment options for headache and pain behind the eyes

If you can’t relieve your pain behind the eyes with home remedies, you want to ensure there isn’t any serious underlying condition that is causing the pain.

See your doctor or an eye specialist for eye examination and other tests to uncover what is causing the pain behind the eyes.

Over-the-counter pain medications often give patients a quick relief for pain behind the eyes, but if the pain has become chronic or if medications don’t work, your doctor will have to refer you for a more thorough examination and look for alternative treatment options.


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