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HomeHealth articlesheadacheWhat Is the Cause of Headaches Behind the Eyes?

Headache Behind the Eye - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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If someone has pain behind the eyes, it is likely that they are suffering from a specific sort of headache. Read the article below to learn more.

Written by

Dr. Shikha

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Published At January 19, 2023
Reviewed AtMay 10, 2023

What Is a Headache?

A headache is a pain experienced in any area of the head. It is a frequent ailment that is usually not a sign of something very serious. There are numerous varieties of headaches, each of which can be caused by a variety of factors. Headaches are sometimes linked to serious injury or illness, and the doctor may determine whether the individual requires more testing or treatment on an urgent basis.

What Is a Headache Behind the Eyes?

Other symptoms may accompany a headache behind the eyes. If an individual has allergies or sinus difficulties, they could be an indication of a sinus headache or a tension headache. Headache symptoms can occur when a person is anxious or nervous. Some can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. But others, such as migraines, can make it difficult to work or enjoy alone time. These types of problems can suggest a more serious issue, so one should speak to a doctor about it.

What Causes a Headache Behind the Eyes?

There are a variety of reasons for a headache behind the eyes. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:

  • Migraine: Migraine headaches almost often include throbbing pain behind the eyes. Migraines can produce pain in the eyes, temples, and behind the eyes, as well as at the back of the head. They are frequently linked to nausea, weakness, and mood swings.

  • Tension Headaches: They are the most frequent sort of headache, and they normally last a few days. Mild aches on both sides of the head or a band behind the eyes are common symptoms. Tension headaches start after a long period of intense concentration on a single task and get worse as the day goes on.

  • Cluster Headaches: It comes in waves, lasting many days or weeks before disappearing for months. They cause intense one-sided headaches with excruciating pain around or behind one eye, and they affect males more often than women. On the affected side, patients frequently have red, watery eyes, droopy eyelids, and a stuffy or runny nose.

  • Sinus Headaches: These kinds of headaches are most common with allergic reactions. Pain and pressure behind the eyes, as well as tenderness in the front of the face, are symptoms of sinusitis or sinus inflammation. People are often misled by the symptoms, which are identical to those of cluster headaches and migraines.

  • Occipital Neuralgia: Headache caused due to occipital neuralgia is a pain that starts in the top neck or back of the head and moves behind the eyes and over the scalp in bursts. This form of headache is caused by irritation or injury to the occipital nerves and is common among migraine sufferers.

  • Angle-Closure Glaucoma: It is a type of glaucoma that can produce nausea as well as a severe headache behind the eyes. Glaucoma is an eye illness that affects the optic nerves, resulting in distorted vision, halos around lights, and difficulties adjusting to the darkness.

  • Aneurysm of the Brain: The pain is unbearable. This happens when a brain artery wall becomes weak, resulting in bleeding or stroke.

  • Scleritis: An inflammation of the sclera, which is the eyeball's outer layer, causes stabbing discomfort behind the eyes. Scleritis is characterized by a headache behind the eyes, red or pink eyes, tears, blurred vision, and light sensitivity and is usually caused by autoimmune illnesses (an allergic response to the body's own protein).

  • Graves' Disease: It is an autoimmune eye illness linked to thyroid gland dysfunction. It is characterized by bulging eyes, limited eye mobility, eyelid retraction, double vision or visual loss, and red or pink eyes and can induce a headache behind the eyes.

  • Eye Strain: Eye strain is due to strain that occurs when we read or see in bad lighting, read without pausing to rest the eyes, wear glasses or contact lenses with an outdated prescription, drive long distances, and become exposed to glare. A headache develops behind the eyes as a result of this.

  • Vision Issues: People with vision difficulties such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism are more likely to have pain behind the eyes as a result of their impaired vision.

  • Dry Eyes: Dry eyes are a condition in which the eyes are not able to generate enough tears to keep the eyes wet, resulting in sensitivity to light and pain behind the eyes.

  • Poor Posture: Muscle tension and poor posture in adults can cause soft tissue misalignments, which weaken the surrounding area over time, resulting in recurrent headaches behind the eyes.

What Are the Symptoms of a Headache Behind the Eyes?

The symptoms of headaches behind the eyes differ depending on the type of headache one gets. Many different types of headaches have similar sorts of pain, making it difficult for doctors to identify them without knowing more about the lifestyle. Look for particular symptoms connected with each headache to determine which one has.

  • Migraines might include symptoms such as light sensitivity or sound sensitivity, nausea, weakness, mood swings, and even an aura that is experienced before the headache begins. Only one side of the head is frequently affected by these headaches.

  • Tension headaches can lead to head tightness, head discomfort, and forehead pressure, in addition to pain behind the eyes.

  • Cluster headaches cause one to feel flushed or sweaty, have tearful or red eyes, have a runny nose, or feel congested.

  • Sinus headaches can cause pain in the eyes, forehead, cheeks, teeth, and nose, as well as everywhere else the sinuses reach. Allergy symptoms such as nasal discharge, congestion, and even fever are frequently associated with these headaches.

How to Diagnose a Headache Behind the Eyes?

If someone has pain behind their eyes on a regular basis, they should consult a doctor. There are no precise tests available to establish the type of headache someone is experiencing. Instead, the doctor will diagnose the patient based on the location, severity, and potential causes of the discomfort. They may also do tests to look for underlying issues. The doctor will search for a trend in the headaches to diagnose them. They will inquire about the symptoms and attempt to relate them to migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, or sinus headaches. A physical examination will be performed to examine the vision, senses, coordination, and reflexes. If the primary care physician is unable to provide a specific diagnosis, they may refer the patient to a neurologist.

What Is the Treatment for a Headache Behind the Eyes?

A trip to the doctor is not necessary for every episode of a headache behind the eye. These therapies can typically be used at home to treat them:

  • Change in eating habits.

  • Ice pack application on the site.

  • Exercise.

  • Smoking and alcohol consumption reduction or elimination.

  • Pain relievers are available over the counter for mild to moderate pain.

If someone is in a lot of discomfort, they should consult a doctor right away. The doctor can prescribe medication for migraine or antibiotics for sinusitis.


Headaches behind the eyes can be excruciatingly painful and come with a slew of accompanying symptoms. They can be caused by a variety of health problems, and determining the root of the problem is the first step to be taken toward treatment.

Most individuals can get better with rest or painkillers, but other people need more help. Avoiding certain triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco products, as well as making other lifestyle changes, may be beneficial. A doctor can determine the underlying problem and offer extra assistance, such as medicine.

Dr. Abhishek Juneja
Dr. Abhishek Juneja



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