What Are the Causes of Pressure Behind the Eye?

The anatomy of the human eye includes the cornea, retina, lens, pupil, optic nerve, and more.
Sinus problems can cause pressure behind the eye.
Ice packs may be used to relieve pressure behind the eye.
Article Details
  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Pressure behind the eye may be a result of glaucoma, sinusitis, or ocular hypertension. Headaches, such as migraines, can also cause this pressure. In most cases, only a doctor can determine the exact cause of eye pressure. Pain that does not diminish after a few days should most likely be evaluated by a medical professional, who may refer the patient to an eye doctor if he or she determines the cause is related to a problem with the eyes rather than allergy or headache problems.

Ocular hypertension is one of the more serious causes of pressure behind the eye and is a side effect of glaucoma. People who have glaucoma often have problems with the drainage of a fluid called aqueous humor that builds up behind the lens of the eye. When this fluid doesn't drain properly, pressure can build up, and this leads to ocular hypertension. Over time, this problem can turn into glaucoma, which may eventually lead to blindness if it isn't treated. A person with this problem should see an eye doctor to determine what treatment may be best for him.

Ad

Some people have problems with pressure behind the eyes as a result of headaches, most commonly migraines. When this is the cause of eye pressure, the problem will typically go away once the headache subsides. If it is a migraine, a person may also see flashing lights or brightly colored streaks when he closes his eyes, and he might also feel sick to his stomach. Migraines are typically treated with over-the-counter pain medication and are often a recurring problem. Anyone who experiences these headaches regularly should seek a doctor's advice for further treatment options.

Sinusitis is another common cause of pressure behind the eye. There are sinus cavities located behind the eyes that fill with mucous when a person has a cold or is suffering from allergy problems. This can cause the sinus cavity to swell and put pressure on the eye. In some cases, a person may not even realize that her sinuses are inflamed because she may not experience any other symptoms aside from the eye pressure. The pressure is normally temporary when the sinuses are to blame, and it should subside as soon as the sinuses are able to drain properly.

Regardless of the cause, it may be possible to temporarily relieve the condition with pain medicine. It might also help to use an ice pack or heating pad on the affected eye. If a person strongly suspects that his sinuses are to blame for the pressure, he can try using a humidifier to add more moisture to the air, which might help the sinuses to drain freely.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

candyquilt
Post 3

Do migraines usually cause pressure behind one eye?

When I get a migraine, usually one side of my head is painful and the pain extends to my eye on the same side.

literally45
Post 2

@burcidi-- I know how you feel. I have sinusitis several times a year. I highly recommend using a saline nasal spray and a neti pot to clean out your nose. This will reduce congestion, which in turn will reduce the pressure. Using a humidifier at home is helpful as well.

If these don't work, you might need to have your sinuses drained.

burcidi
Post 1

I've developed sinusitis for the first time in my life this week, because of allergies. I had no idea that sinusitis causes so many problems. I'm totally congested and I have an intense pressure in my forehead and behind my eyes. I also have a headache and runny eyes and nose. I hate this!

I took a pain reliever and decongestant, which has helped a little bit but I'm far from comfortable.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email