The combination of eye pain and a headache is rather unusual, and in most cases is caused by a specific type of headache.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at some possible causes of both eye pain and headache, and which types of headaches manifest in eye pain. For more information, make sure to talk to your doctor.
The following text is strictly informational and shouldn’t substitute a professional, medical opinion.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Possible Causes of Eye Pain and Headaches
Now, when we talk about possible causes of both eye pain and headaches, we have to start by saying the in these cases the eye pain appears ‘behind’ the eye, not on the actual eye.
So, if you experience the type of pain that showcases at the front of the eye, or around it, and is followed by a headache, we recommend you seek medical attention so that a specialist can draw a parallel between these two occurrences.
However, if you do experience eye pain that manifests behind the eye and is followed by a headache, then we’re talking about certain types of headaches and migraines. Let’s take a look at some possible causes of the co-occurrence of eye pain and headaches;
Now, tension headaches are caused by some sort of activity that puts tension on the neck and the head. They are often caused by excessive concentration on the screen, excessive reading, poor posture, gum chewing, teeth grinding or bruxism, and depression or anxiety.
Therefore, tension headaches can be associated with excess stress, sleep deprivation, fatigue, and strain.
However, when it comes to tension headaches and eye pain, it is safe to say that the cause might lie in the eye strain from too much computer work, reading, and excessive concentration on the screen without taking any breaks.
Alongside the obvious headache, tension headaches are often characterized by dull, but steady pain that is usually focused in the forehead, temples, back of the head, throughout the head, and behind the eyes.
However, tension headaches aren’t as serious of an issue as it may sound. The symptoms, alongside the obvious pain, should subside within a few hours, or throughout the day.
In case the headache doesn’t relieve, one can reach for over-the-counter, anti-headache medication, or simply try to rest and get some sleep.
Compared to tension headaches, cluster headaches are much more severe. These headaches manifest as several headaches appearing at the same time.
Because of this, one can experience severe eye pain, especially behind the eye. The groups of headaches, unfortunately, can last for days, in some cases even for weeks, and often appear in attacks that can last between half an hour to an hour. This can affect one’s functionality, and even proper vision severely.
Cluster headaches can cause the eye pain, but also cause the eyes to be watery and red. Alongside these symptoms, one also experiences excessive sweating, increased heart rate, congestion, restlessness, and anxiety.
Because of the severity of such headaches, it is recommended to seek medical attention, try over-the-counter, anti-headache medication, try to rest in a dark, noise-free room, drink plenty of water, etc.
Luckily, such headaches are very rare, and when they do occur, can be treated with proper medication. Cluster headaches, alongside eye pain, mostly appear in men, and individuals who over-stress and overwork.
Migraines are known to be one of the most common causes of pain behind the eye because that is where they start.
From there, migraines develop into attacks or episodes of pain, where the pain becomes throbbing and in some cases can cause nausea, blurred vision, and even slurred speech.
The attacks can last from a few hours to a few days. Alongside eye pain, migraines are often accompanied by sensitivity to light (photophobia), sensitivity to sound (phonophobia), sweating, cold hands, pale skin, digestion issues, and vomiting.
Now, if a migraine evolves into slurred speech, vision and eye issues, and inability to understand what someone else’s is saying, then immediate medical attention is necessary. Also, one should seek medical attention if the attacks and episodes prolong to more than a week.
Other Causes Of Eye Pain and Headaches
- Eyestrain – excessive work at the computer, excessive concentration on other screens, and too much reading can cause the eyes to feel rather tired.
This happens because of eyes are being overused and need some rest. That is when the pain and headaches occur, especially if one is sleep-deprived, overall tired, and fatigued.
Alongside eye pain and headaches, one can experience watery eyes, eye redness, blurred vision, eye dryness and itching, and sore upper back, shoulders, and neck.
- Sleep deprivation – this is a well-known cause of eye pain, eye sensitivity as well as headaches.
Sleep deprivation means your body didn’t get the chance to recover from the day-to-day stress, which can result in stress, restlessness, depression, and anxiety.
Often, people experience pain in the eyes, sensitivity to lights, and even blurred vision if sleep deprivation lasts over a longer period.
Headaches often follow in such a scenario, so it is best to focus on getting some rest and sleep.
Eye Pain and Headache Triggers
It doesn’t take much to start eye pain and headaches, especially if one is stressed, sleep-deprived, and has a poor immune system. However, some of the most common triggers of eye pain (behind the eyes) and headaches include;
- Sleep deprivation
- Excess stress and worrying
- Bright lights and exposure to sunlight
- Loud and annoying noises
- Strong smells
- Allergic reactions
- Alcohol consumption
- Smoking or exposure to smoke
- Marijuana use
- Improper food intake
- Poor posture
All of the aforementioned triggers can cause tension and cluster headaches, migraines, and eye pain (behind the eyes). If the pain and headaches persist for more than a week, make sure to see your doctor and discuss treatment and medication options.
Managing Eye Pain and Headaches
- Over-the-counter, anti-headache medication – over-the-counter meds can help relieve the symptoms of headaches, mostly tension-type and migraines.
The meds are often anti-inflammatory and act quick (the meds may take from few minutes to an hour to show effectiveness, depending on the type of headache and pain levels).
However, it is essential to not overdo it with the meds, since you can cause digestion issues or even nausea and other side-effects.
- Rest and enough sleep – this is essential for anyone experiencing headaches; getting some rest and a good night’s sleep will do wonders.
It is important to avoid blue lights before you go to take some rest or get some sleep. Exposure to blue light can aggravate the pain behind the eyes or the headache. Furthermore, try to rest or sleep in a dark room, without any background noises.
It would also be beneficial if the room where you sleep or rest is cool, so try to keep the windows open for a few minutes just to get some fresh air and a cooling effect.
- Proper nutrition and water intake – if you experience eye pain and headaches frequently, chances are you’re either skipping meals or not eating enough overall.
Without food, your body cannot function properly, which translates into stress, agitation, restlessness, and of course, headaches. Make sure not to skip breakfast and lunch, and for dinner, try to grab a small bite and some fruit.
Make sure to also drink enough water, since dehydration can cause and worsen headaches.
- Artificial tears, eye drops – in case of eye strain and dry eyes, which are often symptoms of eye pain and headaches, you can resort to artificial tears or eye drops.
These can relieve the discomfort that comes with the symptoms, and enable you to clear out your vision in case of blurriness and photosensitivity.
However, before you do anything, make sure to talk to your doctor and see if artificial tears are safe in your specific case.