Feeling Pressure Behind The Eyes: 7 Common Causes And Their Treatment


Have you ever experienced the uncomfortable feeling of pressure behind and around your eyes? If so, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this sensation and discuss the seven commonest causes of feeling pressure behind the eyes. By learning more about these causes, you can make informed decisions about your eye health and know when it’s essential to seek medical help.





How does Pressure Behind the Eyes Feel?

The feeling is often described as heaviness felt in the area around and behind the eyes, as if there is a gentle but constant force pressing against the eyeballs. Some people may also experience a sense of fullness or stretching in the eye sockets.

It’s a discomforting feeling that can range from mild to painful, and may be associated with other symptoms like headaches or vision changes.

It can make the eyes feel tired and may affect one’s ability to focus or concentrate on tasks that require clear vision.


7 Common Causes of Pressure Behind the Eyes

In this article we describe the 7 most common causes of feeling pressure behind the eyes and what you can do to relieve it


  1. Eye strain and fatigue


Eye strain and fatigue often lead to the feeling of pressure behind the eyes. This condition typically occurs when we spend too much time using digital devices, reading extensively, or working with objects up close without taking breaks.

When we look at an object closer to our eyes, the muscles in and around our eyes contract. If near work is prolonged, our eye muscles tire out and start to feel sore.

It becomes more problematic as we get older because the ability of the eye muscles to focus on near objects with ease reduces with age. This means the eye muscles have to work harder maintain clear vision for near work and that they tire more easily.

Additionally, people with uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism tend to squint or strain their eyes to be able to see better, adding to the muscle strain and discomfort.

Settings on digital devices, such as incorrect screen brightness and glare from surrounding lights, can also cause eye discomfort and worsen eye fatigue.



To reduce eye strain and fatigue resulting from near work or digital screen use, you can take the following measures:


  • Take regular breaks. After every 20 minutes of near work, take 20 seconds to look at objects that are at least 20 feet away (20-20-20 rule). This helps to relax and rest the muscles in and around the eyes 
  • Wear appropriate vision correcting glasses if needed 
  • Keep screens and reading material a comfortable distance away from your eyes 
  • Adjust device settings such as brightness, contrast and color and text size and contrast to your comfort 
  • Reduce glare and reflections from surrounding lights onto your screen



  1. Sinusitis


Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) and nasal congestion are another common reason for feeling heaviness, pressure or pain around or behind the eyes.

Sinuses are air-filled spaces located in various parts of your skull, primarily around your nose and forehead area. These spaces are connected to your nasal passages. The sinuses normally produce mucus that drains through the nose.  When the sinuses become blocked or inflamed; due to allergies, infections, or other factors; mucus can build up inside the sinuses, leading to a sensation of pressure and pain around the eyes, head and face.

The usual cause of sinusitis is the common cold. This kind of sinusitis usually resolves on its own in a couple of weeks. Sometimes sinusitis can last longer due to allergies, nasal polyps, bacterial or fungal infection. In such cases, you’ll need to visit your doctor for proper management.



You can improve the symptoms of sinusitis by doing the following:

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen 
  • Use nasal decongestants to help relieve the swelling and blockage in the nose. Do not use them for more than a week, as using them longer might make things worse 
  • Put warm packs on your face to ease the pain and to help drain the sinuses 
  • Clean the inside of your nose with a saltwater solution you can make at home or buy from a pharmacy

If your symptoms don’t improve in 7-10 days or get worse, you should see your doctor who might give you antibiotics or steroid nose sprays or drops.

In case those don’t help either, you might need to see an ENT specialist who can consider surgery to help your sinuses drain better.



  1. Tension Headaches and Migraines


Headaches can also cause pain in, around and behind the eyes. Most headaches are not serious and can be treated at home with rest, painkillers, taking plenty of fluids, relaxation and exercise.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They feel like a constant, squeezing pain all around your head. They’re usually not too severe and don’t stop you from going about your routine. They can last from half an hour to a few hours or even a few days. Stress, bad posture, missing meals, and not drinking enough water can cause them. You can treat them with pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen. Getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and staying hydrated can also help.

Migraines are less common and more intense. They cause a severe, throbbing pain, often on one side of your head. Some people feel sick, vomit, or can’t stand bright lights or loud sounds during a migraine. Migraines can last for hours or even days, making it hard to do your usual activities.

Most people can treat their migraines with over-the-counter medication, however if the pain is not relieved or if the attacks are frequent, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication. Migraines often have triggers such as stress, certain foods, hormonal changes, and exposure to certain smells, sounds or lights. Finding and avoiding these triggers can help prevent the attacks.


Note : contact your doctor immediately if your headache is associated with any of the following:

  • slurred speech or weakness
  • a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have a stiff neck or a rash
  • drowsiness or confusion
  • vision loss
  • severe pain and redness in one of your eyes
  • sensitive forehead
  • jaw pain while chewing



  1. Glaucoma


Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye is abnormally increased. Normally the fluid inside our eye is produced and drained at constantly so that the pressure in the eye remains normal. If the drainage system is blocked, the pressure inside the eye can rise to high levels, causing stretching of the eye and eye pain. If left untreated, the high pressure can damage the vision carrying nerve at the back of the eye, leading to permanent vision loss.

Usually glaucoma occurs without any eye pain as the pressure inside the eye rises slowly over months, so that the eye tissues do not feel pain.

However sometimes the pressure in the eye rises suddenly to high levels causing the following symptoms:

  • Severe eye pain
  • eye redness
  • watery eyes
  • blurring of vision
  • colored halos around lights
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting.

An attack of acute glaucoma can occur in some people when using screens in dark rooms or after using certain medications.

It is important to see an eye doctor immediately if you have the above symptoms as it can cause permanent damage to vision.



Your eye doctor will reduce the pressure in your eyes with oral or injectable medication and eye drops. Laser treatment may be needed to prevent future attacks in the same and other eye. You may need to use eye drops regularly to keep the pressure in your eyes to a lower level. Sometimes surgery can be needed if the eye pressure cannot be controlled with eye drops.



  1. Tooth Pain


Surprisingly, tooth pain can also cause pain in and around the eyes. Cavities of the teeth, infections and gum diseases can all cause pain that is felt in cheeks or around the eyes. This is because branches of the same nerve supply sensations to the mouth, face and eyes (trigeminal nerve). Irritation of the nerve anywhere along its pathway can cause ‘referred pain’; which means pain is felt in an area away from the painful trigger.

Tooth problems like decay and gum disease happen when bacteria build up in your mouth. This usually occurs when you don’t brush and floss your teeth properly.

Signs that you might have a tooth infection include:

  • A bad toothache
  • Feeling pain when you chew
  • Feeling pain when you eat or drink hot or cold stuff
  • A strange taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Having a fever
  • Seeing a pimple-like bump on your gum near the infected tooth
  • Swollen glands in your neck
  • Swelling in your upper or lower jaw

If your upper or lower jaw gets swollen, especially if you also have a fever or trouble opening your mouth, it could mean a serious infection. In that case, you should contact your doctor immediately.



Seek dental care for a detailed examination and proper treatment for the dental problem. You might to get the cavity filled, may need antibiotics for the infection or might even need dental surgery depending on the problem. Treatment of the dental issue will help cure the eye pain.



  1. Grave’s Disease


Graves’ disease is a disorder that affects the thyroid gland. In Grave’s disease there is a malfunction of the body’s immune system, causing it to produce antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. These antibodies also attack the tissues around the eyes. This leads to swelling of tissues around the eyes, causing pressure, discomfort, and eye bulging. Other symptoms may include dryness, redness, eye pain, double vision, and sensitivity to light. Graves disease causes the thyroid gland to become overactive and release more hormones, causing the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor of the hands or fingers
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Heat sensitivity and an increase in sweating
  • Weight loss, even with normal eating habits
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Change in menstrual cycles
  • Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido
  • Bulging eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Thick, red skin usually on the shins



Treatment options may involve

  • Medications to control thyroid hormone levels and symptoms
  • Radioactive iodine capsules to reduce activity of the thyroid gland
  • Eye drops and oral steroids to reduce eye inflammation
  • Surgery for severe cases. This may involves removal of part of the thyroid gland or eye surgery to improve eye bulging, double vision, and eye lid problems



  1. Optic Neuritis


Optic neuritis is swelling or inflammation of the optic nerve, which is the nerve that carries vision from the eyes to the brain. can result in pressure around and behind the eyes.

This inflammation often causes pain and sensation of pressure in and around the eyes, blurred of vision and abnormal color vision. Optic neuritis is often associated with autoimmune disorders, most commonly multiple sclerosis. Sometimes it may occur without any cause and improvement in vision usually occurs on its own, over the course of weeks.

Optic neuritis usually affects one eye and can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain: dull ache behind the eye that becomes worse with eye movement
  • Vision loss
  • Changes in color vision
  • Flashing lights



If you don’t have any other underlying health issues causing the optic neuritis, you might not need any treatment. It could naturally resolve within a few weeks, and your vision will return to its normal state

At times, your healthcare provider might suggest a short-term use of steroids, usually given through a vein, to speed up your vision recovery and reduce inflammation and swelling.

Additionally, if your healthcare provider identifies another health problem as the cause of your optic neuritis, they may recommend treatment for that specific condition.




In this article, we’ve explored the seven most common causes of feeling pressure behind the eyes and how they can be managed. Keep in mind that there may be other less common causes for this uncomfortable sensation, such as allergies, facial injuries, or neurological disorders. If you experience persistent or severe pressure behind the eyes, consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.



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