What Are the Causes of Eye Pain and Pressure?

Sinus pressure can lead to eye pain.
Routine eye exams can help detect vision or eye problems -- such as signs of eye pressure -- early.
Sometimes eye pressure precedes a migraine.
Article Details
  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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There are various reasons why someone might experience eye pain and pressure, ranging from mild problems to eye diseases that can end in blindness. Glaucoma is one major cause, and this disease usual starts with no symptoms but often ends in blindness, if not treated quickly. Migraines can also cause eye issues along with extreme headaches. Sinusitis, or an infection of the sinuses, can cause pain and pressure in either one or both eyes.

Glaucoma is the second most likely eye disease to cause blindness, likely in part because it has no symptoms early on. For this reason, most routine eye exams include tests to check eye pressure, as glaucoma tends to cause a buildup of pressure inside the eye. If left untreated, the optic nerve, which is necessary to send visual cues to the brain, may be damaged. Some people suffer from acute angle-closure glaucoma, which is quite sudden and involves seeing halos when viewing lights, blurry vision, vomiting, and eye pain. When these symptoms occur, it is important for the individual to go to the emergency room, since they usually indicate that vision loss will soon follow.

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Many people who suffer from intense headaches known as migraines also feel eye pain and pressure. This kind of headache is caused by changes in both the brain and the blood vessels near it, resulting in inflammation that often becomes painful. Symptoms of a migraine usually include nausea, vomiting, and throbbing in one or both sides of the head. Photophobia, which is sensitivity to light, also often occurs. A feeling of pressure in the eyes is often a sign that a migraine is coming for many people, and it is common to notice blurred vision, a blind spot that suddenly appears, tunnel vision, and overall pain in one or both eyes.

Sinusitis, a viral or bacterial infection of the sinuses, is another cause of eye pain and pressure. One of the main symptoms is pressure around the sinuses, which are located near the eyes and nose. Other signs include a cough, nasal congestion, bad breath, and a fever. Some of the main causes of sinusitis include bacteria, a virus, allergens, and fungi. It should be noted that acute sinusitis usually lasts less than eight weeks, while the chronic type lasts longer and is typically recurring.

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Discuss this Article

lluviaporos
Post 3

@umbra21 - If you are truly terrified they will knock you out I think, if they need to do some eye surgery. My grandfather had some eye pressure problems (I think it was glaucoma, but I'm not sure) and they definitely knocked him out completely before they operated.

I don't know all the details, but there's no point in borrowing trouble before you have to.

umbra21
Post 2

I really hate when they test for glaucoma at the optometrists. I mean, I know it has to be done and I am probably at risk for it, since Im pre-diabetes right now.

But, it always gives me the creeps to have that puff of air against my eyes. The first couple of times I wasn't expecting it and I jumped so badly I almost hurt myself.

I really hope I never have anything wrong with my eyes, because having someone work on them would be terrible and I know they often don't put you out completely, but just numb the area around it, so you can still see what's happening.

indigomoth
Post 1

Having a migraine is such a terrible thing, I'm glad I've only had one or two in my life, after periods of intense stress.

I knew a guy once who would get them every time he ate MSG. Apparently there isn't supposed to be an allergy to MSG, but he certainly suffered whenever he had it accidentally, so I think there was something to it. I know he definitely had the whole eye pain and pressure, although I don't remember that so much when I had mine. So I guess it's very individual.

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