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Headache behind the Eyes

Headache behind the Eyes

From tension headaches to cluster headaches, there could be a number of reasons for experiencing headache behind the eyes. This article helps you deal with this problem besides elucidating its underlying causes.
Debopriya Bose
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Eye infection, glaucoma, tumor, or an injury to an eye can lead to sharp pain and discomfort. Ache behind the eyes is a common problem among many. However, people complain of pain only behind one eye. These headaches are characterized by a throbbing sensation that suddenly starts behind the eye and makes its way through, to the head.
Commonly referred to as cluster headaches as they continue for a few hours or even a day. This being the most prominent cause, there are other causes as well that lead to a simmering ache behind the eye. Besides, these causes maybe marked with different indicants as well.
Common Causes
Tension Headaches
One of the most common headaches that occur behind the eye is tension headaches. The pain is throbbing and feels as though a tight band is pulled across the forehead. They are caused due to stress, lack of sleep, and excess eye strain. They are usually cured after one has taken enough rest.
Eye Problems
Headaches behind eyes can also be due to some eye problems. They are as follows:
Astigmatism:
People suffering from astigmatism have retina of an irregular shape. Due to this reason, objects seen from certain angle, appear hazy. In order to have a clearer view, people squint and that causes strain on the muscles of the eyes. This leads to severe headache.
Presbyopia:
With age, our eye lens loses its flexibility. It is because of this reason that old people have difficulty in viewing objects that are closer in view. Other problems due to presbyopia include, sore eyes and headaches.
Hyperopia or Long Sightedness:
In this disorder, image of an object is focused behind the retina, instead of being focused on it. As one strains his eyes to be able to view the image properly, the eye muscles are weakened. This, in turn can trigger headaches.
Migraine
There are different types of migraines that cause headache behind the eyes. Ophthalmoplegic migraine causes headache that can last from days to a few months. Retinal migraine causes extreme stress on eye muscles that may lead to partial, and sometimes complete loss of vision. Symptoms of migraine also include nausea, vomiting, confusion, numbness, and sensitivity to light and/or sound.
Sinusitis
People who suffer from sinusitis might also experience extreme pain behind the eyes. A sinus infection or inflammation in your sinuses can cause a dull, throbbing pain behind your eyes which can radiate toward the front of your face, especially on the cheekbones. Sinus headaches are usually accompanied by mild fever, swollen and blocked nasal passages, and sore throat.
Orbital Inflammatory Syndrome
A condition marked by inflammation of the peripheries of the eye, Orbital inflammatory syndrome leads to a traumatizing headache. The condition maybe diagnosed only after a CT scan has been conducted. Intense pain behind the eye, perhaps is one prominent symptom of this syndrome.
Scleritis
Constant, yet repetitive episodes of pain behind the eye may lead to inflammation and reddening of the eye. Scleritis may also be accompanied with gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Optic Neuritis
In this condition, the inflammation can spread in the proximity of the eye. This may lead to severe headaches, with the individual enduring vision distortion, and in certain cases, experiencing vertigo.
Cranial nerve palsies
This is a condition that is caused by a periodic truncation of blood supply to the eye. The intensity of the condition maybe aggravated due to diabetes. The individual experiences intense pain in the eye aggravating into a cluster headache as time elapses. Vision distortion is a common symptom reported by the patient.
Cluster Headaches
Apart from those discussed above, there is a different type of headache that causes extreme pain on one side of the head behind the eye. It may also be accompanied by a burning sensation on one side of the nose. These occur with excruciating, stabbing pain behind the eyes, that appear in episodes over a period of many weeks and are known as cluster headaches. The pain peaks in less than 5 minutes and can last for an hour. This is less common, yet more severe than any other kind of headache. The exact cause of this ailment is not known. However, according to some experts the cause lies in the trigeminal nerve; whereas, others believe that they are caused due to problems in the deep vascular channels of the head.
How to Deal with It
To deal with headache behind the eyes, one needs to ascertain the cause behind the same. Tension headaches usually vanish after a period of rest or by simple manual therapy. The following exercise can also bring relief.
  • For carrying out this exercise, lie down on a hard surface.
  • With the thumbs, find the base of the skull.
  • Now lean back on your thumb, and press hard.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can.
  • In case the headache is behind one eye, do this exercise with one thumb tracing the base of the side of the skull that lies on the same side as the eye that hurts. Breathe deep while doing this exercise.
Massage therapy, acupuncture, and prescription medicines ensure relief for those suffering from migraine. In some cases, correction of visual abnormalities can also help. In case of cluster headaches, seeking medical help is the best option. If it is due to sinusitis, steam inhalation and taking prescribed medication for reducing inflammation can help.
Help Your Doctor Help You
☛ Call your doctor to book an appointment to discuss the condition. Be prepared to answer questions pertaining to the span you have been experiencing headaches, family history, and any other ailment that troubles you.
☛ Note down the symptoms when you have a headache. Does the intensity of your headache vary? How often does a headache frequent you? Are there specific instances that escalate the frequency, or intensity of the headache? This way, you prepare a diary which states the details every time you endure a headache.
☛ If you are on any medications, mention them in the diary. This way, you help your doctor prescribe medicines that won't interfere with your current medicines. Medicines that have failed to work for you could also be mentioned. If any medication in particular, has adversely affected you, it must be jotted down as well. Through this, you would let the doctor know these medicines have not suited you, and you are allergic to the same.
There are many over-the-counter as well as prescribed medicines that may help you deal with headache behind the eyes. However, a healthy diet, adequate rest, and diligent eye care is the best way to deal with such discomforts. One can even look for exercises for the eyes that improve vision and strengthen eye muscles. If one is suffering from frequent episodes of this ilk, then it is best to seek professional help to rule out any potentially serious ailments.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.