Carefree M.D. Blog

Pain or Pressure Behind Your Eye? Here Are the Causes and Treatments

Carefree MD

March 09, 2021 | Blog

Feeling pressure behind your eye is very uncomfortable. It’s also worrying to imagine what this symptom means. Most times, the cause of pain or pressure behind your eyes comes down to a mild illness that’s easy to treat. 

But, if it’s persistent, it may be a sign of a graver problem. Find out what it could be, and what you should do when you feel pressure behind your eye.

8 Common Causes for Feeling Pressure Behind Your Eye

There’s no need to worry. These mild illnesses and conditions are very common. You can find over-the-counter treatment for your eye pressure at a local pharmacy.

1. Eye Strain

Although eye strain isn’t a medical condition, it’s a very common cause of feeling pressure behind your eye. It happens when your eyes get tired from consistent use.

Staring at a screen for most of the day, reading small print, or driving for a long period of time can cause eye strain. Some of the other symptoms of this condition are blurry vision, dry eyes, and pressure in your socket. 

The best treatment for eye strain is to take a break. Let your eyes rest away from the screen, book, or windshield. Soon, the pressure behind your eyes will disappear on its own.

2. Headache or Migraine

The pressure behind your eye could come down to a simple headache or even a more serious migraine. 

There are two types of headaches: tension and cluster. Tension headaches are consistent, they feel like wearing a tightening headband. Cluster headaches are pulsating, and they’re often accompanied by infections in the face. This infection can cause pressure behind your eye. 

Migraines are periodical but consistent. You may feel pulsing pain in your head, sensitivity to light, or even nausea. Seeing flashes of light before the onset of a headache could be a sign of an oncoming migraine.

The easiest way to treat a headache is to take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen. This can reduce the pain, and relieve the pressure you feel behind your eye.

3. Sinus Infection

A sinus infection or sinusitis is perhaps the most common cause of feeling pressure behind your eyes. Your sinuses are above, below, behind, and between your eyes. When an infection fills your sinuses with mucus, it puts pressure on your eyes, nose, and cheeks from behind your face.

Other symptoms may be coughing, a stuffy or runny nose, headache, eye pain, or fever. You may also experience fatigue, a reduced sense of smell, toothache, or bad breath.

You can easily treat a sinus infection at home. Take plenty of rest, and drink a lot of fluids. Taking over-the-counter pain medication can help with the headache or eye pain. And cleaning your nose with saltwater can decongest your nose.

4. Allergies

Feeling pain behind your eyes when you’re experiencing allergic reactions happens for the same reason as sinusitis. Your sinuses become inflamed, and pressure builds up behind your face.

There are plenty of over-the-counter allergy medicines you can take to manage the symptoms. However, if your allergies are severe or consistent, you need to turn to a doctor to discuss further treatment options.

5. Grave’s Disease

Grave’s disease happens when you have an overactive thyroid. Although it has symptoms all over your body, pressure behind your eye can be a clear sign. Tissue, fat, and muscle swell behind your eye. This can cause it to bulge.

Other eye-related symptoms of Grave’s disease are irritation in the eyes, dryness, tearing up, sensitivity to light, double vision, and ulcers on the eye. But, if you notice these symptoms throughout your body, it’s worth contacting a doctor about it:

  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Change in menstrual cycles
  • Excessive sweating

The treatment plans for Grave’s disease most often include radioactive iodine therapy, anti-thyroid medications, beta-blockers, and surgery. The goal is to reduce your thyroids hormone production. If you suspect you have Grave’s disease, turn to a doctor immediately.

6. Optic Neuritis

Optic neuritis happens when the nerves that connect your eyes to your brain get inflamed. This can cause pain or pressure behind your eye. Other symptoms include reduced or blurry vision, pain when moving eyes, and even color blindness. 

The inflammation peaks within a few days. However, it can take 4-12 weeks for symptoms to improve.

Optic neuritis is commonly associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). 50% of MS patients have had optic neuritis. It’s often the first indication before an MS diagnosis.

Treatment for optic neuritis happens after a thorough medical test. This may include a routine eye exam, blood tests, ophthalmoscopy, or an MRI scan. A doctor can determine the severity of your optic neuritis to consider treatments. 

7. Toothache

Even a toothache can cause pain or pressure behind your eye. When a throbbing toothache from an infection radiates pain up your face, there’s more danger than just facial pressure. 

An untreated infection can spread through your muscle and tissue towards your eye. Swollen or red eyes can be a clear indicator.

A trip to the dentist can treat and alleviate your toothache, which can also relieve the pressure behind your eye.

8. Face Injury

Damage from a face injury can often cause pressure or pain around your eye socket. Fractures to the socket can damage the surrounding tissue, muscles, and nerves.

Other symptoms of a face injury can be a black eye, bulging eyes, blurry or double vision, and numbness around the eye. 

Most often, you can treat a facial injury with over-the-counter medicines at home. However, if you develop a fever, loss of vision, frequent headaches, or swelling, it’s worth seeing a doctor about it. They can determine the underlying cause of your new symptoms.

Home Remedies to Relieve Pressure Behind Your Eye

Feeling pressure behind your eye is uncomfortable, no matter the cause. There are a couple of ways you can relieve the pressure at home easily. 

  • Over-the-counter medications: Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen can help reduce the pain and the inflammation that’s causing it. 
  • Eye drops: Very often, you need a prescription for eye drops. Ask your pharmacist what options you have. You may find over-the-counter eye drops that reduce swelling or itchiness. Do not put essential oils in your eye to relieve the pressure.
  • Cold compress: Putting a cold compress on your eye can be a welcome remedy if you’re feeling heat and pain around your eye. It’s especially helpful when you’ve experienced a face injury.
  • Blindfold: If you’re experiencing sensitivity to light, a blindfold or eye patch can help temporarily.

If you feel pressure behind your eye because of an infection, you may need antibiotics or antiviral medication. You can get a prescription for these from a doctor.

Talk to a Doctor About the Pressure Behind Your Eye

While the cause for the pressure behind your eye may be a mild illness, there are a range of serious illnesses that could be the underlying cause. If those conditions are left untreated, they could lead to a life-threatening situation.

If your eye pressure doesn’t disappear with home remedies or over-the-counter pain medication, it’s best to see a doctor. Luckily, you don’t even have to leave your house to consult with a qualified physician. Just book an appointment online.

At Carefree MD, we have doctors on call for you 24/7. You can talk to a doctor online today about headaches, sinus conditions, allergies, and a number of other issues. 

All you have to do is sign up for Carefree MD. Once you’re a member, you can get unlimited access to a virtual doctor to help you with your medical needs. Learn more!



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