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Headache Behind the Eyes

Headaches are defined as pain in any region of your head. The pain can range from your temples and forehead to the base of your neck or behind your eyes.

A number of different headache types or other conditions can cause aches behind one or both eyes. In addition to pain, headaches in this area may also cause a sensitivity to light and eye discomfort.

While headaches of any type are common, knowing the cause can help you treat it at home. It can also help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis in order to administer the most effective treatment.

What causes headache pain behind my eyes?

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common form of headache. Anyone is susceptible to this type of headache, though they’re more common in women.

Tension headaches are often considered to be episodic and can occur one to two times per month. However, they can become chronic and occur 15 days every month for three months or longer.

Tension headaches are described as causing a tightening feeling or pressure around the forehead. Pain behind the eyes can also occur. Other symptoms associated with this form of headache include:

  • dull head pain

  • scalp tenderness

  • neck and forehead pain

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are a series of three or four short but painful headaches. They’re not as common as tension headaches.

Cluster headaches can last as short as 15 minutes to over an hour. They’re described as a searing or piercing painful sensation usually located behind one eye. Other symptoms you may experience with cluster headaches include:

  • red eyes

  • swollen eyes

  • excessive tearing


Migraines are described as pressure or pain behind the eyes. They’re considered worse than regular headaches because they can cause pain lasting hours to days at a time. Migraine pain can become so severe that it may affect your quality of life.

Aside from debilitating pain, you may also experience:

  • sensitivity to light

  • eye pain

  • dizziness

  • nausea

  • weakness

  • impaired vision

  • mood changes


Some cases of headaches and pain behind the eyes are symptoms of uncorrected vision issues.

Eyestrain from staring at a television or computer screen — or even undiagnosed nearsightedness — can overstimulate the brain. This over-stimulation can cause the brain and eye to make up for vision impairment, often resulting in a headache.


A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is the inflammation or congestion of tissues lining your sinuses. It can cause headache like pain as a response to nasal congestion.

This congestion is usually coupled with pressure often felt across the forehead, cheeks, and behind the eye. In addition to pain and pressure, other symptoms you may experience include:

  • stuffy nose

  • aches in your upper teeth

  • fatigue

  • worsening pain when you lie down

Potential Triggers

Different headache types have different triggers. Some of the more common include:

  • hunger

  • exposure to strong perfume odors

  • loud noises

  • bright lights

  • fatigue

  • hormonal changes

  • lack of sleep

  • emotional stress

  • infection

Treating a headache behind the eye

Common over-the-counter painkillers, can treat headaches. However, these medications should be used in accordance with your doctor's advice.

Other effective treatments to improve pain symptoms from headaches include:

  • exercising daily

  • avoiding or reducing the intake of processed foods

  • eliminating tobacco use

  • avoiding or limiting caffeine intake

If your condition worsens after implementing these treatment methods, or if you begin to experience irregular symptoms paired with your headache pain, seek immediate medical attention. It could be a sign of a more serious vision issue that needs correction or a medical issue needing treatment.

This post originally appeared on Healthline.


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