Head pain in the eye – causes, symptoms and treatments. Find out about this frequent medical condition and how to find relief.

Headache in the eye: causes, symptoms and treatments. Find out about this frequent medical condition and how to find relief.

Headaches can occur in various parts of the head, even behind the eyes. When a headache is specifically manifested in the eye, it can be a sign of an underlying condition that may require medical care. This article analyzes the causes, symptoms and possible eye pain treatments.

In some cases, ocular headache may be a consequence of tension or stress. Tension headaches usually occur as a deaf pain or pressure on the temples or on the back of the head, and sometimes they can spread to the area that surrounds the eyes. Bad postures, excessive time in front of the screen and emotional stress are usual triggers of tension headaches. To relieve this type of headache, it is recommended to practice stress control techniques, how to exercise regularly, relaxation exercises and ensure an ergonomic position of the work space.

Did you know? Bad postures and excessive time in front of the screen can contribute to tension headaches that cause eye pain.

  1. Another cause of headaches in the eye is the migraines. Migraines usually characterize a sharp or pulsatile pain on one side of the head, which can also affect the eye on that side. Migraine can be accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, sound or smells, as well as nausea or vomiting. It is crucial to identify and avoid the trigger factors that can cause migraines, such as certain foods, hormonal changes or lack of sleep.
  2. A less frequent but more serious cause of ocular headache is glaucoma. This disease is characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure, which can cause eye pain, blurred vision and even loss of vision if it is not. Glaucoma requires immediate medical attention, as it can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve. Periodic eye exams are crucial for early detection and glaucoma treatment.
Causes of eyebrows: Common symptoms:
  • Tensional headaches
  • Migraines
  • Glaucoma
  • Pain or pressure in the eye or around it
  • Pulsatile or throbbing pain
  • Sensitivity to light, sound or smells
  • Blurry vision
  • Ocular redness

Understanding Headache in Eye: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Ocular headache may be due to several causes. A frequent cause is migraine, a neurological condition characterized by recurring headaches that can be accompanied by visual alterations. Migraine ocular headaches may be triggered by various factors, such as stress, hormonal changes, certain foods or environmental factors. Another possible cause is tension headaches, which are usually the result of muscle tension in the head and neck region. In addition, ocular fatigue due to prolonged use of the computer or smartphone, sinus infections or even certain medications can also contribute to the development of a headache in the eye.

  • Symptoms:
  • An intense and sharp pain C entered around the eye
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Nausea or vomiting

Note that experienced symptoms may vary according to the person. Some people only experience headache in the eye without visual alterations, while others may have a combination of symptoms.

Treatment options Description
Medicines Free sales analgesics, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, can help relieve the pain of an ocular headache. If headaches are intense or frequent, the doctor can prescribe more powerful medications.
Changes in lifestyle Putting into practice techniques to reduce stress, maintaining a regular sleep schedule and avoiding triggers such as bright lights or certain foods can help prevent or reduce the appearance of ocular headaches.
Rest and relaxation The incorporation of regular breaks, the practice of relaxation exercises or the use of cold compresses in the affected eye can provide temporary relief.

Migraine and Cluster Headaches: How They Can Cause Eye Pain

When it comes to migraines, ocular pain is a common symptom that many people experience. It is often described as a sharp or pulsatile sensation around or behind the eye. This pain can be accompanied by other visual alterations, such as blurred vision, light sensitivity (photophobia) or vision of flickering lights or zigzag lines. These visual symptoms are known collectively as aura and usually appear before or during the migraine crisis.

Migraine Headaches and Eye Pain

Migraine are neurological disorders that are with intense pulsatile or throbbing pain on one side of the head. They are usually accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine can last from several hours to days, significantly affecting the individual’s quality of life.

Important information:

  • Migraine can cause eye pain, which is usually described as sharp or pulsatile.
  • Ocular pain can be accompanied by visual alterations, which is known as aura.
  • The aura can include blurred vision, light sensitivity or vision of flashing lights or lines in Zigzag.

The exact cause of migraines is not yet known at all, but experts believe that genetics and environmental factors play a role. It is believed that changes in brain chemicals and blood vessels trigger migraines. As for eye pain during migraines, it is believed that it is a consequence of the nerves of the brain and the head being sensitized and transmitted signs of pain to the eye zone. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of migraines can help develop effective treatments and preventive strategies.

Cluster Headaches and Eye Pain

The headaches in sprouts, meanwhile, are characterized by intense and unbearable pain that usually feels around an eye or a temple. Pain is usually described as a burning or sharp sensation and tends to appear in clusters, lasting weeks or months in a row of periods of remission. Unlike migraines, headballs in shoots are more frequent in men and have a more predictable pattern.

Important information:

  • Cefaleas in clusters can cause intense pain around the eye or temple.
  • The pain is described as ardent or sharp and occurs in clusters.
  • The headache in sprouts are more frequent in men and follow a predictable remission pattern.

The exact cause of headaches in sprouts is still unknown, but anomalies in the hypothalamus, a small area of the brain that regulates various body functions, can play a role. During a scholarship attack in clusters, blood vessels of the head and the eye zone can be expanded, causing intense pain. The trigeminal nerve, which provides sensitivity to the face and controls the muscles involved in chewing, can also be activated, contributing to the ocular pain that is experienced during the headaches in clusters.

Sinusitis and Allergies: The Connection between Sinus Pressure and Eye Pain

Sinusitis, also known as the sinuses infection, occurs when nostrils are inflamed and infected. This inflammation can cause the obstruction of the paranasal breasts, making pressure accumulate. Similarly, allergies can trigger an immune response in nostrils, causing inflammation and congestion. When the paranasal breasts are blocked or congested, the pressure can be extended to the surrounding areas, including eyes. As a result, people can experience eye pain, discomfort and headaches.

Important information: Eye pain related to sinus pressure is usually described as a dull, deep pain located in or around the eye socket. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nasal congestion, facial sensitivity and a feeling of stuffiness in the ears. It is important to note that eye pain can also be a symptom of more serious conditions, such as optic neuritis or glaucoma. Therefore, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

To treat sinusitis or allergies and relieve associated eye pain, the underlying causes must be addressed. One approach is to reduce sinus inflammation and congestion through the use of nasal sprays, saline rinses, and decongestants. Additionally, antihistamines can be effective in relieving allergy symptoms. In cases where sinusitis or allergies persist or worsen, a healthcare professional may recommend other interventions, such as antibiotics or allergy shots.

  1. Use nasal sprays, saline rinses, and decongestants to reduce sinus inflammation and congestion.
  2. Consider taking antihistamines to relieve allergy symptoms.
  3. See a healthcare professional if sinusitis or allergies persist or worsen for evaluation and treatment options.
Common symptoms of sinusitis and allergies
Nasal congestion
facial sensitivity
Feeling of fullness in the ears
Eye pain or headache in or behind the eye

Eye Conditions and Disorders: Exploring the Connection to Headaches

Listed below are some eye conditions and disorders that have been linked to headaches:

  • Migraine with aura: This type of migraine is usually preceded by visual disturbances such as blurred vision, flashing lights or blind spots, which can affect one or both eyes. These visual symptoms, known as aura, can appear anywhere from a few minutes to an hour before the headache begins.
  • Optic nerve disorders: Disorders that affect the optic nerve, such as optic neuritis or optic neuropathy, can cause eye pain, vision loss, and headaches. These disorders involve inflammation or damage to the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the eye to the brain.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and can cause vision loss if left untreated. People with glaucoma may experience eye pain, headaches, blurred vision, and halos around lights.

It is important to keep in mind that not all people with these eye conditions will experience headaches, and that not all headaches are related to eye problems. Therefore, an exhaustive evaluation by a healthcare professional is necessary to determine the underlying cause of headaches.

In addition, there are several mechanisms through which ocular conditions can contribute or trigger headaches. A possible mechanism is the direct stimulation of the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is an important sensory nerve responsible for transmitting the signs of head and face pain. When the eyes are affected by conditions such as inflammation or increased pressure, the trigeminal nerve can be stimulated and cause headaches.

Table 1: Ocular conditions and its possible relationship with headaches:

Ocular condition Possible relationship with headaches
Migraine with Aura Visual alterations that precede the headaches
Optical nerve disorders Ocular pain, loss of vision and headache
Glaucoma Ocular pain, headaches, blurred vision and halos

Prevention and Self-Care Tips: Managing Eye-Related Headaches at Home


  • Avoid triggers: identify and avoid triggers that can induce ey e-related headaches can be useful. These triggers can vary from one person to another and may include bright lights, certain foods (such as chocolate or cured cheese), strong odors or excessive screen time. Wearing a headaches of headaches can help identify the triggers and specific patterns.
  • Control stress: stress can exacerbate headaches, so finding stress control techniques that work for you can be beneficial. This may include practices such as deep breathing exercises, meditation or regular physical activity.
  • Maintaining a constant sleep schedule: sleeping enough and following a regular sleep routine can help prevent ocular headaches. Try to sleep at least between 7 and 8 hours every night and establish an hour to go to bed and get up to follow systematically.

I knew it? Ocular headaches are more frequent in people with a family history of migraines or who have suffered previously migraines.

Sel f-care tips:

  1. Apply a hot or cold compress: placing a hot or cold compress in the eyes can help relieve pain and relax the muscles surrounding your eyes. Experience with both methods to see which one relieves more.
  2. Maintain good posture: Maintaining good posture can reduce tension in the muscles of the neck and back, which can contribute to eye-related headaches. Sit up straight, use a supportive chair, and take frequent breaks while working or reading to avoid overexertion.
  3. Take a break from screens: Prolonged time in front of a screen can strain your eyes and cause eye headaches. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.

Tips to control eye headaches
Prevention Self-care
Avoid triggers Apply hot or cold compresses
Controlling stress Adopt good posture
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule Take a break from screens

Medical Treatments: Professional Options for Relieving Eye Pain

1. Prescription medications: In cases where eye pain is caused by underlying conditions, such as migraines or sinusitis, healthcare professionals may prescribe specific medications to treat the underlying cause and relieve the pain. These prescriptions may include pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, or even specialized migraine medications. It is essential to closely follow the prescribed dosage and instructions to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects.

  • Tip: Check with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication to make sure it is safe and appropriate for your specific condition.

2. Eye therapies: Professionals in the field of ophthalmology offer various eye therapies to treat eye pain. These treatments may include the use of hot or cold compresses, eye drops, eye massages, or specialized eye exercises. Hot compresses can help relax eye muscles and increase blood flow, while cold compresses can reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief. Eye drops can help lubricate dry eyes or reduce redness and irritation. Eye massages and exercises, when done correctly and under professional guidance, can help relieve eye tension and fatigue.

  1. Note: It is important to consult an ophthalmologist before trying any self-administered eye therapy to ensure it is appropriate for your specific eye condition and symptoms.

3. Surgical interventions: In certain cases, surgical interventions may be necessary to treat eye pain caused by structural anomalies or serious conditions. These procedures can range from minor interventions, such as the extraction of a foreign object hosted in the eye or the repair of a tear in the cornea, to more complex surgeries, such as the treatment of glaucoma or decompression of the optical nerve. Only qualified ophthalmological surgeons must carry out these procedures, and will discuss the expected risks, benefits and results with the patient in advance.

Option Description
Prescription drugs Medications prescribed specifically to relieve eye pain caused by underlying or migraine diseases.
Ocular therapies Treatments such as hot/cold compresses, eyelets, eye massages or specialized exercises.
Surgical interventions Surgical interventions carried out to correct structural anomalies or severe eye conditions that cause pain.

When to Seek Medical Attention: Recognizing Red Flags and Seeking Help

An alarm to consider is a sudden and extremely intense headache, commonly known as “thunder headache.”This type of headache can be a symptom of a potentially deadly condition, such as the breakage of a blood vessel or a cerebral aneurysm. If you experience a sudden appearance of intense headache, it is crucial that you look for immediate medical attention. Do not dismiss or underestimate the seriousness of this symptom, since time plays a fundamental role in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.

Red flag: intense and sudden headache (thunder headache)

Action: Look for immediate medical attention

Another alarm signal is the headache accompanied by changes in the vision, especially when the pain is located around the eye. This could be a sign of optical neuritis, which is the inflammation of the optical nerve. Optical neuritis may indicate underlying conditions such as multiple sclerosis or infections. If you notice any visual disorder together with the headache, especially if it affects a single eye, it is advisable to consult a medical professional for a more detailed evaluation and proper treatment.

Red flag: headache with vision changes, especially around the eye.

Action: Consult a medical professional for an evaluation

In addition to the aforementioned alarm signals, it is important to pay attention to headaches associated with neurological symptoms such as difficulty speaking, weakness or numbness of the face or limbs and confusion. These symptoms may indicate a stroke, especially if they suddenly occur. In these cases it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention, since rapid treatment can minimize possible lon g-term effects of an stroke.

Red flag: headache accompanied by neurological symptoms (difficulty in speaking, weakness or numbness, confusion).

Action: Look for immediate medical attention

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

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