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Exploring the Causes and Treatment of Eye Pain and Headache

Gina Walters


eye pain and headache

Headaches and eye pain are health problems that can severely disrupt your day-to-day activities. 

Even if they are common, these symptoms can have several underlying causes, such as migraines, eye strain, and other potentially serious health conditions. 

It is essential to understand the causes of these symptoms to receive the appropriate treatment and relief from eye pain and headache.

Although many over-the-counter medications and natural therapies often work to relieve the symptoms, some patients might require medical attention.

Read further to know the causes and treatments of eye pain and headache.

Causes of eye pain and headache behind the eyes

Eye pain and headache can be irritating and occur due to several causes.

These causes include Migraine, eye strain, Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma, cluster headaches, Sinusitis, and tension headaches.


A Migraine headache often causes severe pain on one side of the head, occasionally behind one eye. 

The pain can last up to 72 hours. It is a common condition that impacts about 17.1% of women and 5.6% of men in the United States. 

Many people have Migraines in response to stress or worry, hormonal fluctuations, bad food or posture, medications, or even external factors. 

They frequently cause mood swings, nausea, weakness, tension headaches, and eye pain. 

Migraine eye pain can be irritating and frustrating. Read our article: Migraine Eye Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options to explore its causes and treatment options.

If your eye pain and headache persist, it is advisable to consult a doctor to identify the underlying cause and possible treatment approach.

Eye strain

When you either overwork your eyes or find it difficult to focus, eye strain can result in headaches and pain in your eyes. 

After prolonged screen usage, an eye strain headache often lasts a few hours. 

However, it might occasionally persist longer.

Pixels make up text and images on a screen and lack distinct borders. 

Focusing on pixels is difficult for the eyes.

Therefore, even with high-resolution images, the eyes have to work harder.

A headache around or behind the eyes can occur when the muscles in the eyes become fatigued.

Spending prolonged time staring at displays or digital gadgets can also cause dry eyes and impaired vision, in addition to headaches and pain in one or both eyes.

Several factors can lead to eye pain. Read our article: Common Causes of Eye Pain: All You Need to Know to learn about different causes of eye pain.

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Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma (AACG) is an uncommon form of Glaucoma in which the pupil dilates (widens) slowly and inadequately. 

In AACG, eye pressure rises rapidly, causing symptoms such as headaches and eye pain to occur unexpectedly. 

Cluster headaches

HeadacheSource: pixelshot

Severe headaches that occur in cycles are known as cluster headaches. 

They usually lead to pain around the eyes and affect males more often than women. 

Usually, the pain radiates to the shoulder and down the neck.

These severe headaches only affect one side of the head. 

This might cause a throbbing discomfort behind only one eye.

For a few months, cluster headaches could occur every day. 

This is followed by an extended time with no headache.

Although cluster headaches are common, their reason is unknown, except for potential hereditary causes. 


Inflammation or blockage of the sinuses is known as Sinusitis. 

This may generate pressure, which might lead to headaches and pain behind the eyes. 

Pain can occur behind one or both eyes, depending upon the location of the inflammation.

Sinusitis headaches most commonly occur during allergy seasons or when you have an allergy outbreak.

The pain usually goes away as congestion disappears. 

Usually, this will take 3-8 weeks.

Tension headaches

One might experience tension headaches after a long day of driving, staring at a screen, or doing anything that demands constant, focused attention. 

These are the most common form of headaches and are more prone in women than men.

The symptoms of tension headaches include a pressure-like sensation around the forehead and pain behind both eyes.

The pain and headache can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours and can happen at any time.

These headaches are common on colder days and might be accompanied by spasms in the muscles of the head or neck.

Additionally, they can lead to pain in the scalp.

A tension headache can cause dull pain that radiates to the neck and forehead.

Severe and persistent headaches could be a warning sign of other serious health issues, such as hemorrhage, stroke, or other neurological problems. 

Treating eye pain and headaches

man runningSource: bunyaritklinsukhonphotos
Exercising regularly

A visit to the doctor is not always necessary for every headache and eye pain. 

Many times, you may cure mild to moderate discomfort at home by using:

  • Ice packs
  • Diet changes
  • Exercise
  • Cutting back on alcohol and smoking
  • Over-the-counter painkillers

However, if you’re in severe pain, you should immediately consult a doctor. 

In cases when pain is extreme, prescription medication could be required.

For those who frequently have Migraine headaches, a doctor may provide antidepressants and antiseizure medications as preventative treatments. 

Triptans, including Rizatriptan and Eletriptan, are among the most widely used prescription medications to treat Migraine. 

Also, resting in an area with little light and room temperature can help someone suffering from a Migraine attack. 

Covering the eyes with a cold, wet cloth may also help.

Muscle relaxants could be an immediate treatment option for tension headaches.

An antibiotic will probably be recommended by the doctor to treat headaches brought on by Bacterial Sinusitis. 

On the other hand, if an allergy or viral infection is the cause of your Sinusitis, nasal decongestant sprays are an excellent alternative.

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Your eye pain and headache might indicate that something is wrong with your eyesight. 

They may be the result of several health problems, including cluster headaches, tension headaches, eye strain, Migraines, and Sinusitis. 

Determining the underlying cause is the initial step in the treatment of headaches and eye pain. 

Some individuals only need medicines or rest to get better, but others may need more care.

A physician is able to determine the root reason and offer further assistance, such as medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of a headache and eye pain?

Over-the-counter pain-relieving medications, cold compress, adequate rest, and relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation will help eliminate headaches and eye pain.

When should I be concerned about eye pain and headache?

Eye pain and headache accompanied by persistent blurred vision, high fever, and nausea could be a matter of concern that needs immediate medical attention.

Can eye problems cause headaches and neck pain?

Yes, eye issues can lead to headaches and neck pain.
“Ocular headaches,” sometimes called “eye strain headaches,” can result from strain or problems with your eyes.
This pain may radiate from the eyes to the head and neck, among other nearby regions.

Is it normal to have eye pain and headache?

Yes, temporary headaches and eye pain could be normal that can arise due to eye strain.
However, certain medical conditions, such as Migraines, Sinusitis, and cluster headaches leading to headache and eye pain, need immediate medical care.

Why am I experiencing pressure in my head and eyes?

Pressure behind the eyes can be caused by two forms of headaches: tension and cluster headaches.
About 80% of individuals have tension headaches, the most prevalent kind of headache.
One very severe headache that comes and goes is the cluster headache.

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