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Pressure in Head and Eyes: Causes & Treatment 

Pain and pressure around your eyes and head can be disturbing. In many cases, pain and pressure can keep you from doing even the most basic of tasks. There are many reasons why you might be feeling pressure in your head and eyes. You should not ignore the pressure. Instead, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

What Causes Pressure in your Head and Eyes? 

Many conditions and factors can contribute to head and eye pressure. Pain can either be temporary or chronic. In many cases, you will experience a sensation like something is pulling and pushing your eyes from the back.

Some of the most common factors and conditions contributing to this feeling include:

  • Eye strain
  • Corneal damage
  • Sinus infections and allergies
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Optic neuritis

Eye Strain

This is not a condition as it is a group of symptoms associated with your eyes getting tired. If you have participated in an activity that causes you to maintain focus for long, you may experience eye strain. 

For example, if you have been reading or driving for a long time, you could feel this pushing and pulling sensation. If you experience this eye strain, it’s best to take a break from the exercise and give your eyes time to relax. 

Corneal Damage

Scratches and abrasions on the cornea can lead to pain behind the eye. These abrasions can stem from trauma, contact lenses and excessive scratching. Discomfort usually disappears if you manage the causative factor. 

Sinus Infections and Allergies

The sinuses are located all around your eyes and when they fill up with mucus, they can cause pain and discomfort. This pain can be concentrated around the eyes, nose, and cheeks. Sphenoid sinuses are especially responsible for most of the pain and pressure. 

Headaches and Migraines

Migraines and headaches can present themselves as pressure behind and around your eyes. Symptoms like nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light can also be accompanying signs of migraines and headaches. 

Optic Neuritis

This is a condition resulting from the swelling and inflammation of the area around the optic nerve. The condition can cause pressure behind your eye as well as other effects like reduced and blurry vision, color blindness, and pain when looking around. 

Other factors that could lead to pressure in your eyes and head are:

  • Grave’s disease 
  • Toothache 
  • Face and head trauma 
  • Blepharitis 
  • Conjunctivitis 
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma 
  • Iritis 
  • Meningitis 
  • Keratitis 
pressure in head and eyes

Treating Pressure in Your Head and Eyes

This pressure and discomfort require professional help. Before seeking medical intervention, there are various home remedies you can try to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Some of the effective home remedies for treating pressure in your head and around the eyes include:

  • Getting enough rest 
  • Managing factors that contribute to stress in your life
  • Creating time for relaxation activities like taking a hot bath, massage, and exercise 
  • Using cold and warm presses

If these home remedies do not help with the pain and discomfort, then you should see a doctor. There are various treatment options to relieve the pressure and ease any pain you might be in. These treatments include prescription medication, surgery for brain aneurysms and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Prescription Medication

Depending on the exact cause of the pressure as established by medical professionals, you may be prescribed different medications. These may include:

  • Antibiotics: to eradicate bacteria linked to sinus inflammation and infections. Regularly prescribed in individuals with bacterial meningitis
  • Corticosteroids: given to people with lupus to help reduce pressure and inflammation. 
  • Antiretroviral medications: used to treat viruses like viral meningitis. 
  • Chemotherapy: these are potent anticancer medications used to slow the progression of certain types of brain tumors. 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): can be used to treat sinus headaches and tension-type headaches.
  • Triptans: mostly used in the treatment of moderate to severe migraines. 

Surgery for Brain Aneurysms

Most enlarged brain aneurysms require surgical procedures, especially if there is a high risk of rapture. The surgery is aimed at reducing blood flow to the weakened vessels. These minimally invasive procedures may include:

  • Embolization: blocking the affected vessels with tiny metallic coils 
  • Microvascular surgical clipping: open brain surgery that cuts the blood supply to the aneurysm 
  • Blood flow diversion devices: small and malleable mesh wires that reduce blood blow to the aneurysm 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy  

Therapy can be used if the cause of pressure in your head and eyes is anxiety, stress, or depression. This type of psychotherapy involves determining the harmful thoughts and habits and gradually managing them. 

When Should You See a Doctor? 

Pain and pressure in your head and eyes are common. In many cases, pain disappears after some time. If you try the home remedies without reprieve, or if the discomfort becomes unbearable, you can visit a healthcare professional for expert guidance and help. 

Some causes can have detrimental effects on your overall health. If you are not certain about the actual cause of pressure, consult a doctor. 

FAQs 

How do you relieve pressure in your head and eyes? 

You can mitigate the pressure using home remedies like reducing stress, relaxing more, getting enough sleep, and treating sore muscles. A doctor could also prescribe various medications, depending on underlying conditions. 

When should I worry about head pressure? 

Head pressure should concern you from the start. If you have tried a few remedial options without reprieve, then it’s time to see a doctor. Waiting for long without medical intervention could worsen the condition and reduce the efficacy of treatments. 

References

  1. Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis. (August 5, 2021). National Healthcare Service.

  2. Can Stress Cause Vision problems? (April 4, 2019). The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy.

  3. What Causes Eye Strain? (July 18, 2018). Johns Hopkins Medicine.

  4. Head Elevation and Intraocular Pressure in Glaucoma. (September 9, 2016). Optometry and Vision Science.

  5. Cryptococcal Meningitis Initially Presenting with Eye Symptoms in an Immunocompetent Patient: A Case Report. (August 12, 2016). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Last Updated July 1, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.