What Is Eye Pressure And Possible Reasons Behind It?

What Is Eye Pressure And Possible Reasons Behind It?

There exist many kinds of pain in the eyes, but feeling a sense of pain behind the eye is very different altogether. It is not necessary that this pain will stem from a problem that is inside your eyes. Usually, it begins in another part of your brain. Though certain eye problems can lead to eye pain and vision complications, they rarely cause any pressure. Headaches like tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraines, etc are very often associated with eye pressure. Even glaucoma, which is a result of the building up of pressure inside the eye, doesn’t’ lead to any feeling of pressure.

Eye illnesses such as pink eye or allergies can lead to eye pain, but no pressure. This pain usually feels like a stabbing, burning, or stinging sensation. The pressure behind the eyes generally feels like fullness or a stretching sensation in the eye.


There are few such conditions that can cause pressure behind the eye, including:

  • Headaches: Tension headaches, cluster headaches, or migraines can often be associated with eye pressure. Tension headaches are the most common ones. Cluster headaches come and goes and are an extremely painful type. For treating such conditions, pain relievers are usually the best course of action. 

Apart from pressure behind the eye, signs of a headache may include:

  1. Tight, aching, or intense pain in your head
  2. Neck and shoulder muscles feeling sore
  3. Teary, red eyes
  4. Redness and sweating on the face
  5. One side of the face swelled up
  6. Drooping eyelid
  • Sinus problem: Sinusitis or a sinus infection may arise when bacteria or viruses penetrate into your sinus cavities. This leads your sinuses to swell. Other symptoms may include a stuffy or running nose, draining mucus, a cough, fever, fatigue, and ear pain. Often, sinusitis is treated with antibiotics, but the chronic condition of sinusitis will be needing additional treatment.
  • Graves’ Disease: Graves’ disease can be explained as an autoimmune disease that leads to the immune system mistakenly attacking the thyroid gland. It is a disease where an overactive thyroid gland swells up the tissues, muscles, and fat behind your eyes. It can cause a number of problems For example:- “It can affect the eye muscles that can make your eye bulge from the socket and prevent it from moving”. People suffering from this disease experience pressure behind their eyes often, which may get worse when you move your eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor. Other symptoms may include:
  1. Vision loss
  2. Redness in eyes
  3. Puffy eyelids
  4. A feeling that there is some foreign body in your eye
  5. Eye pain
  6. Bulging eyes
  • Optic Neuritis: When the optic nerve swells or inflames, you may experience eye pressure. Inflammation and swelling of the optic nerve cause optic neuritis. Optic neuritis is seen as a symptom of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in most cases. Other symptoms of optic neuritis may include vision becoming blurred, vision loss, color blindness, and reactions to bright light. If you are witnessing any of these symptoms, visit your doctor.
  • Toothache: If you are having a toothache, the nearby nerves may get aggravated, which can easily spread the pain from your teeth to your eye. In such a case, visit a dentist. Treatment of the tooth may relieve you from eye pain. 
  • Injuries: If you ever went through a facial injury, harm to the surrounding muscles or nerves may lead to eye pressure. Let your doctor know about all the discomfort you are going through.
  • Glaucoma: Many glaucoma patients think that pressure in or behind their eyes is related to glaucoma in some way. Unless glaucoma elevates quickly and gets very high, you cannot feel pressure behind your eye. This is often known as acute angle-closure glaucoma and is related to pain, redness, blurry vision, and a fixed, mid-dilated pupil. In case you notice such a condition, visit your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

When To See A Doctor?

The fact that you feel pressure behind your eyes is not a concern of its own, but it might be an indication of a more acute condition. If one is witnessing symptoms like loss of vision, bulging eyes, fever, frequent headaches, or swelling on the face should immediately see a doctor. In case the doctor is unable to decipher the illness or make a diagnosis, then he/she will further refer you to an appropriate expert who will investigate more thoroughly. 

Some of the experts that your doctor can refer you to:

  • ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialists
  • Dental surgeons
  • In case you have issues relating to brains and nerves then you should consult a neurologist
  • For people having eye illnesses and problems, they should visit an ophthalmologist

Some techniques that may prove helpful in diagnosing the problem:

  • Conducting blood tests for determining hormone levels. Hormones that are produced by the thyroid are crucial in diagnosing Graves’ disease.
  • CT scans help to make an accurate picture of the brain and organs.
  •  MRI scans can be looked upon as another method for mapping the brain and body.
  • Endoscopy involves inserting a camera inside the nose to examine the health of the sinuses.


Your eye doctor must be able to determine what is causing you to feel pressure behind your eyes. They might also refer you to one of these specialists:

  • ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor, a doctor who treats sinus and allergy problems.
  • ophthalmologist, a doctor specializing in the eyes.
  • neurologist, a doctor specializing in the brain and nervous system.

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, like what the pressure feels like, how long you’ve had it, and what might have triggered it. You might also need tests, including:

  • Endoscopy: During this procedure, your doctor will apply a numbing medicine to the inside of your nose and then insert a thin, lighted scope. The camera on the end of the scope allows your doctor to look for any swelling or growths in your sinuses.
  • MRI: This test uses computers and radio waves to create pictures of your brain and other organs.
  • CT scan: This test uses X-rays to take pictures of your brain and other organs.
  • Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves create pictures of your thyroid gland or other structures in your body with an ultrasound test.
  • Blood test: Your doctor might order blood tests to check your thyroid hormone level or look for the antibodies that are produced when you have an autoimmune disease.
  • Radioactive iodine uptake: This test looks for thyroid disease that includes Graves’ Disease. Your thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormones. This test provides you a small amount of radioactive iodine and then scans your thyroid with a special camera to see how much iodine your thyroid pulls in.


Your treatment will basically depend on the underlying reason for your symptoms.

For sinusitis, in case of bacteria caused the infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat it. For a chronic (long-term) sinus infection, you might be required to take antibiotics for three to four weeks.

Antibiotics won’t kill viruses. You may treat a viral infection by washing your nose with a solution of salt and water. This solution is also called a saline solution. Decongestants and pain relievers can also help relieve your discomfort until the infection goes away.

Talk to your doctor in case the sinus pressure and other symptoms do not go away. In cases like these, the eye doctor might be recommending sinus surgery.

The best way to treat your eyes is to visit your eye care professional and get your eyes checked regularly. He will be able to assess the best method of treatment for your eye ailment.

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