There are a lot of people who visit the ophthalmologist with a chief complaint of headache behind eye. Any sort of pain behind the eye may be a sign of an eye problem or it may suggest something more serious. Pain behind eyes is something which should not be ignored and consultation with an ophthalmologist is recommended to identify a cause of these headaches and formulate a proper treatment plan.
There can be many causes resulting in headache behind eye which may range from cluster headaches to migraines to even cranial nerve palsies. Headache behind eye is usually sharp, throbbing, or explosive pain behind the eye. This article gives a brief overview of the different causes and how to treat headache behind eyes.
What Causes Headache Behind Eye?
As stated, there may be many causes for Headache Behind Eye which may range from eye problems to migraines to something a bit more serious as cranial nerve palsies or inflammation or infection of the orbits or sclera resulting in headache behind eye.
Apart from headache behind eye, depending on the cause the affected individual may also experience additional symptoms of excessive tearing from the eyes, eye redness, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, and in some cases fever as a result of headache behind eye.
Some of the common causes of headache behind eye are:
Dry Eyes: This is quite a common medical condition for people who tend to spend excessive amount of time in front of a computer. The constant glaring on the computer screen by an individual causes the eyes to become dry and irritated resulting in headache behind eye. It may be accompanied by itching, burning, and severe pain. The individual may also feel a sudden influx of tears from the eyes as the tears are rushed in as a response to the constant dryness along with headache behind eye.
Vision Problems: If an individual has a problem with the eyes it often causes a lot of strain to the eye when he or she is trying to read or see something. This excessive strain put on the eye can cause headache behind eye. It is common to see headache behind eye with conditions like astigmatism, presbyopia, or hyperopia.
Scleritis: This is a condition which arises when there is inflammation of the sclera which is a thin lining which covers the outer surface of the eyes. When this lining gets inflamed then it results in headache behind eye along with visual disturbances in some cases. Individuals who have a history of rheumatoid arthritis and other connective tissue disorders are at an increased risk for developing scleritis causing headache behind eye.
Orbital Inflammation: The orbit of the eye is the most important part of the eye as it contains nerves, vessels, and muscles that move the eye. An inflammation of this part of the eye can cause headache behind eye.
Cranial Nerve Palsy: There are multiple cranial nerves that emanate from the brain and provide vision to an individual. Whenever there is an inflammation of the cranial nerves providing vision or if there is injury to these muscles it results in cranial nerve palsy causing headache behind eye. Additionally, the individual may have symptoms of double vision and drooping of eyelid. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of cranial nerve palsies causing headache behind eye.
Optic Neuritis: This is a medical condition in which an individual experiences headache behind eye along with decreased visual acuity, numbness, and even abnormal color perception. Optic neuritis is also termed to be a precursor for multiple sclerosis. Headache behind eye caused due to optic neuritis can be severe and intense and may require the affected individual to miss work and be bedridden till it resolves.
Tension Headache: This is perhaps one of the most common causes for headache behind eye. An individual with tension headaches will have pain in band like fashion behind the eye and it is often associated with increased stress and extreme fatigue.
Migraine Disorder: This is also one of the most common causes for headache behind eye. Pain caused due to a migraine is mostly unilateral and is intense and throbbing in character. The individual may have phonophobia and photophobia and would prefer to lie down in a dark quiet room and take a medication till the headache behind eye resolves.
Sinusitis: Inflammation of the sinuses is yet another cause for Headache Behind Eye. There are multiple sinus cavities around the eye region and thus inflammation in any one of these sinus cavities may result in Headache Behind Eye.
Cluster Headaches: Cluster headache is a type of headache disorder which results in excruciating Headache Behind Eye. This type of headache is seen more in males and people who have a family history of cluster headaches. Such headaches may stay around for a while and may come and go in cycles causing headache behind eye.
Hormonal Fluctuation: There is a proven link between hormonal fluctuations and headache behind eye. This is seen more in migraineurs, especially females around the time of their menses. The fluctuations in hormones also lead to certain chemical changes in the vessels of the brain causing headache behind eye.
How to Get Rid of Headache Behind Eye?
Depending on the cause of headache behind eye, there are several treatment remedies which can be tried out to get rid of headache behind eye.
Some of the recommended treatments for headache behind eye are:
Regular Exercise: Regular exercises boost the production of endorphins which is a natural pain reliever of the body and hence it is always recommended to exercises regularly so as to get rid of headache behind eye.
Rest and Sleep: This type of treatment along with abortive and preventive medications is helpful only for people who have migraines as a cause of headache behind eye. Whenever the individual has a bout of headache it is preferable for the individual to take an abortive agent and sleep in a dark quiet room till the time he or she gets rid of headache behind eye.
Tea or Coffee: Having some coffee or black tea is also a good way of trying to reduce the intensity of Headache Behind Eye.
Sinusitis: If headache behind eye is caused due to sinusitis, then inhaling steam is a very good option to open up the sinuses and getting rid of headache behind eye. One can also use saline nasal sprays which if used regularly can decrease the intensity and frequency of sinusitis and help get rid of headache behind eye.
Supplemental Oxygen: This type of treatment is for those people who have cluster headaches as a cause of headache behind eye. Supplemental oxygen is extremely effective in alleviating cluster headaches and helps in getting rid of headache behind eye.
Lifestyle Changes: Lifestyle also plays a role in development of certain conditions which then cause headache behind eye. Thus it is recommended to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and other recreational drugs especially people who have a history of migraines so as to get rid of Headache Behind Eye.
Other Remedies: Apart from the specific treatments mentioned above, there are other alternative treatments available like acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic therapy which have been shown to be very effective in treating headache behind eye. Using ice packs, massage and taking over the counter medications like ibuprofen also helps to take the edge off of headache behind eye.