Eyes Hurt Headache? Top 8 Common Causes of Eye Headache Pain

Woman with headache an eye pain

You are not alone. The majority of people experience eye headache pain at least once in their life.

Many people believe that it is normal to have a headache after looking at a computer for hours or reading books late into the night.

But this is not true! Many reasons could cause it, but most importantly, you should determine what triggers your headaches and eliminate them from your lifestyle.

Table of Contents

What is a headache behind the eye?

One of the most uncomfortable sensations is a headache behind your eyes. You can feel it around or on the back of an eye, and sometimes it might as well feel like a throbbing ache. There are many causes of this pain: brain aneurysms, headaches, eye disorders such as Grave's Disease or poor posture; all sorts of conditions!

When do headaches come from behind the eye?

According to a Danish study, we can trace three percent of all headaches to eye diseases. Because in the area around the eyes, there are many susceptible nerve fibers.

If we have irritated eyes, they can radiate into other areas of the head. As a result, those affected often find it difficult to decide what is causing the symptoms.

We show you which triggers can be behind the headache in the eye and what to do in each case. For example:

  • The stressed eye Reading for hours in incorrect or insufficient lighting.
  • Exerting yourself from prolonged computer work can cause headaches.

Yet, the eye is often the cause of the complaints.

Because a small muscle handles close vision - the so-called ciliary muscle, it hurts if it has to tense up all the time.

And that can cause a headache in the eye area. Also, sometimes an untreated ametropia or the wrong glasses are behind the overload of the ciliary muscle.

It would help if you had immediate medical attention:

  • Headache around the eyes from an attack of glaucoma
  • Severe eye pain and headache in the forehead area or sometimes toothache. Also, nausea, weakness, or visual disturbances (seeing colored rings, blurred vision).

Usually, we have only one affected. After that, the eye looks cloudy and "rock hard."

In the event of a glaucoma attack, the intraocular pressure rises, sometimes by more than three times the normal value. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate ophthalmological treatment.

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Cluster headache stitch in the eye

The needle in the eye. Those affected experience an attack of the rare cluster headache. This form of headache manifests itself through frequent and strong pain attacks.

You have to look after experienced doctors in specialized headache centers. You can also attend outpatient departments.

Researchers do not yet know what the cause of the disease is. But, genes play a role because the condition occurs in families and affects men.

The severe headache around the eyes lasts for 15 to 180 minutes. They are always one-sided and often occur in combination with reddened, watery eyes, a drooping eyelid, a blocked nose, sweating in the forehead area, and restlessness of movement. Cluster headaches are mistaken for eye diseases or sinus infections.

The clinical picture is little known, even among doctors. It often takes three or more years before they make the correct diagnosis.

Cluster headaches are so far not curable. Yet, targeted drug treatment can reduce headache attacks in the eye area. Drug therapy is as important in prophylaxis.

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Sinus headaches

Sinus headaches feel like a sinus infection. You may have pressure around your eyes, cheeks, and forehead. You might also have a throbbing pain in your head. But many people who think they have a sinus headache actually have migraine headaches.

Migraine pain

This second most common of all headache types often affect the eyes. Accompanying symptoms such as sensitivity to light, tearing, and flow of the nose are typical. Temporary visual disturbances are also common.

For example, those affected see double vision, and the eyelids can droop. Specific migraine medications can usually relieve headaches and eye discomfort. With a special form, the so-called eye migraines, headaches do not have to be present.

The migraine of the eyes shows itself as a so-called flicker scotoma, which means that those affected suffer from flickering, flashes of light, and a narrowing field of vision. A doctor should definitely clarify whether it is an ocular migraine when these symptoms occur.

When do you need to see a doctor? Even if not all symptoms that require a doctor's visit can be listed here, there is a good rule of thumb for a safe assessment: If you have chronic migraines, a massive headache, or severe eye and/or headache, you should consult a doctor.

Likewise, you have to consult a doctor if:

  • You have headaches that you have known for years, change.
  • New accompanying symptoms appear.

It is best to talk to your family doctor first, who may refer you to a specialist (neurologist or headache center).


Glaucoma is a disease that affects the eye. It can cause you to lose peripheral vision, have blurry vision, and have difficulties with light.

If your doctor notices these symptoms, they will do some tests on you. Glaucoma can also lead to headaches near the eye and feeling nauseous after glaucoma.


Endophthalmitis is a rare eye surgery complication that usually comes about due to a bacterial infection from an injury.

When used in conjunction with prescription medications, there's the potential for redness, swelling eyelids, and blurry vision, as well as trouble seeing.

If you've noticed symptoms after your operation, it would be wise to contact an eye doctor immediately.

If not possible, call the American Institute of Eye Surgeons first before going ahead with any surgical procedure on your eyes because they're experts when it comes to this kind of condition.

Corneal foreign body

Foreign bodies can be lodged in the cornea, which is the clear front area of an eye. As a result, the pain associated with some foreign objects varies from mild to severe and blurring vision or light sensitivity may also occur.

Doctors can usually quickly remove a corneal foreign body. This does not lead to an infection on your skin as it would if you had particles stuck in your eyes.

But this can turn into a painful infection. What bothers me the most is when we blink too many times!

Tension-type headaches

Tension migraines can affect anyone, but they are more likely to affect women. Tension headaches happen between 1 and 2 times per month.

They may become chronic and occur 15 days per month at least 3 months in a row.

Pain behind the eyes is also caused by tightness that rubs on your forehead. Other symptoms of this type of headache include pain within the eyes, pain behind your head, pressure around your foreheads, and pain.

Digital eye strain

Several factors can cause digital eye strain, but oftentimes it comes from not taking steps to correct one's vision.

If you've been experiencing symptoms like dry eyes or headaches after staring at your computer screen for an extended period of time and haven't seen an optometrist yet, make sure to schedule one soon!


I hope this post has helped explain why you have an eyes headache and what to do about it! If you are experiencing any of the symptoms we've discussed throughout the article, please head over to your doctor for a diagnosis.

We want all our readers to be able to enjoy their time at work without pain or discomfort. Thanks again for reading my blog. (Trusted sources 1*, 2*, 3*)

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M D.

Disclaimer: buildyourbody.org does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.