Is there a relationship between headaches and eye pain?

The nagging headache (headache) and pain in the eyes is one of the most common symptoms in the general population. Sometimes it can radiate to other regions, while other times the vision itself is the source of the problem.

In any case, for the enormous variety of reasons that can trigger these painful crises, It is advisable to consult a doctor when the frequency of appearance is very high. Below you will find a short article explaining the relationship between eye pain and headaches and the possible associated causes.

Possible causes of headache associated with eye pain of extraocular origin

There are many mechanisms that allow both types of pain to coexist. The most common is called pain irradiationa process that has to do with the complex interaction between neurons.

It could be due to a process that occurred in the head and subsequently affected the territory of the eyes. This category includes various conditions that may be of infectious or neuropsychological origin.


It is very common and is the inflammation of infectious origin of the paranasal sinuses. These anatomical structures are pneumatic (ie air-filled) cavities found in the bones of the face and skull.

Its main functions include producing mucus and heating the air. In many patients there may be conditions for the proliferation of microorganisms such as Streptococcus pneumoniae That originate.

In the clinic it is characterized by severe pain that worsens with palpation of the affected sinus, runny nose (rhinorrhea), fever and general malaise. Some cases require the administration of antibiotics.

Man with sinusitis and headache.
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses, air-filled cavities in the skull.

Tension headache

It is one of the leading causes of headaches worldwide and is usually caused by muscle contractions. of course you are they are activated under certain conditions of stress, anxiety and prolonged exposure to the sun.

The pain can occur in many places on the head and radiate to the eyes. It usually gets better with rest and some commonly used pain relievers.


Unlike the previous example, migraine tends to produce much more intense and disabling pain. In general terms, it is possible to distinguish between two types, depending on whether or not it has an aura.

The aura is a set of abnormal sensations involving the visual, auditory and olfactory senses and which occur in relation to pain. Migraine with aura is also known as typicalbut it is not the most frequent. It often affects the eyes and, in severe cases, may require hospitalization when the discomfort does not subside after several days.

cluster headache

Also known as Horton’s headache, is an exception within this list. This is because on many occasions the pain may start in one eye, but the cause is not related to an eye disorder.

Although it is of unknown origin, it is known that it tends to distribute itself in one of the branches of the trigeminal nerve, whose territory covers the entire face. This can be triggered by several reasons, such as smoking or drinking alcohol, and its name in clusters It refers to the periodicity of the attacks.

Patients experience intense attacks that are difficult to manage and can occur several times a day or continuously. Then they stop for a long time. For this reason, it could be considered to have a seasonal or temporal pattern.

Possible causes of headache associated with eye pain of ocular origin

In this section we will describe the most common diseases that lead to a decrease in visual acuity. In most cases, the extra effort to carry out daily activities can lead to the appearance of headaches.

refractive vices

This term is used when there is an anatomical problem in the eye that generates an altered projection of the image onto the retina. Naturally, the end result is a decrease in visual acuity, which can be close or far. They are included:

  • Myopia: light rays converge in front of the retina.
  • Foresight: light rays converge behind the retina.
  • Astigmatism: caused by anatomical defects of the cornea.

Without treatment, more effort is made to achieve better visual acuity, which produces pain as a result.


The human eye is able to focus on nearby objects thanks to the action of the lens, a small organ. The process in question is called accommodation and up to the age of 45 it should work perfectly.

Subsequently, its tissue and that of the muscles that support it begin to wear down as a natural part of aging. This produces presbyopia, which characterized by difficulty visualizing and focusing on nearby objects. As in the previous case, it is a condition capable of generating temporary pain.


This condition is characterized by deviation of one or both eyeballs, causing difficulty in focusing images. Many cases are congenital and they usually improve with ophthalmologic procedures and outpatient therapies.

Problems begin to appear when a case of sudden strabismus appears in an adult patient. In addition to the obvious deviation of the eyeball, there is double vision and severe headache.

acute glaucoma

Acute glaucoma is a medical emergency characterized by increased intraocular pressure. above normal limits. Patients usually report severe pain localized in the affected eye that radiates to the rest of the head, accompanied by a decrease in visual acuity.

The problem is that this increase in pressure can irreversibly damage the optic nerve fibers. In short, a person can go blind without treatment for acute glaucoma.

Glasses on a girl.
Glasses are vision correction tools that can result in an effective treatment for nearsightedness or farsightedness headaches.

Tips to prevent headaches and eye pain

Preventing headaches is difficult, especially when it comes to primary causes where there is no identifiable trigger. Some cases of migraine attacks can be avoided by reducing exposure to certain known triggers, such as food, stress or alcohol.

Pain behaves similarly throughout the body, and the radiation of this sensation is quite common. Most medical conditions in the craniofacial region that cause headaches tend to have a transient, benign cause.

However, When these crises occur frequently, it is advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible. The practitioner will consider establishing a temporary treatment or investigating other underlying medical conditions.

The post Is there a relationship between headaches and eye pain? first appeared on research-school



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