Headache around the Eyes: 9 Possible Causes

Headaches can occasionally develop anywhere in the head, Headache around the Eyes is just another type of headache that may have several causes. In most cases, the headache begins around the eyes and spread throughout the head, causing pain in different locations and causing other symptoms along with that help distinguish between different types of headaches and the underlying cause.

  1. Tension Headache
  2. Cluster Headache
  3. Migraine
  4. Sinus Headache
  5. Giant cell Arteritis
  6. Eye Strain Headache
  7. Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalgias
  8. Cervicogenic Headache
  9. Icepick Headache

1- Tension Headache

Tension Headache can cause pain that ranges from a sharp pain in the head, behind the eyes, and around the eyes to slight or building pressure around the head in the form of a band. While the intensity can range from mild to severe.


  • Dull pain or sensation of growing pressure around your head which may begin in the occiput.
  • Headache around the eyes and in the Temples.
  • Tenderness over the skull vault.
  • Tenderness at the occiput.
  • Mood and sleep disturbances.


  • The treatment solely depends on the cause, such as tension headaches caused by tiredness can be relieved simply by taking physiotherapy sessions, having a massage, or taking hot showers.
  • For an acute attack, Over the counter analgesics provide relief.

2- Cluster Headache

Cluster Headaches follow a specific duration and are episodic in nature. These headaches are rare but quite painful. One or several attacks of sharp pain in front of head, around the eyes and behind the eyes can be experienced, within a 24 hour period.


  • Headache around the Eyes
  • Watery or Swollen eyes
  • Nasal congestion and discharge
  • Agitated or restless feeling
  • Pressure and pain in the head, behind eyes


For an acute attack:

  • Subcutaneous injection of Sumatriptan
  • Inhalation of 100 percent oxygen

For Chronic conditions:

Lithium therapy can help patients with severe chronic clusters but that needs monitoring.

3- Migraine

Throbbing pain that usually occurs in one half of the head but can also be experienced at one point in head, in the forehead, Headache around the eyes or behind the eyes or even in the whole head is common in a Migraine attack.


  • Severe headache, throbbing in character.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Auras: Fortification spectra , teichopsia .
  • Shimmering, silvery, zigzag lines marching across the visual fields.
  • A temporary visual field loss (in some cases).
  • Tinnitus.
  • Photophobia and phonophobia


  • Analgesics: Aspirin, Paracetamol, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antiemetic: Metoclopramide, Domperidone
  • Triptans: Sumatriptan for severe attacks.
  • Prophylactics: beta-blockers, Antidepressants, and Antiepileptics are given to people with frequent attacks.
  • Excedrin: it is a drug used to combat severe migraine headaches. A single dose of this drug has proved relief in patients with moderate to severe headaches.

4- Sinus Headache

In some cases of Sinusitis, Paranasal sinuses become so inflamed that they block the drainage ducts resulting in failure of the inflammatory products to drain from the sinuses and cause pain in the forehead known as Sinus Headache which is accompanied by Headache around the eyes, pain in cheeks and behind eyes.


  • Constant feeling of pain and pressure in cheeks, forehead, around the eyes and nasal bridge
  • Runny nose
  • Swelling in face
  • Fever and Fatigue
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • The pain aggravates upon moving, lying down, or bending forward.


  • For pain relief: OTC painkillers like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen.
  • Antipyretics: For fever.
  • Antihistamines: Help treat allergic conditions.
  • Decongestants: Oral decongestants shouldn’t be taken for more than 7 days and decongestant sprays for more than 3 days of use.

5- Giant cell Arteritis

This is an inflammatory condition of blood vessels located at temples. Headache around the Eyes, On one side of the head, and in the Temples is just a complication of Giant Cell Arteritis.


  • Headache on one side of Head involving the forehead, temporal, periorbital, and occipital regions.
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever Headache
  • Drastic weight loss.


This can be managed by giving a corticosteroid like prednisolone. But, the underlying condition that is giant cell arteritis should be managed for permanent relief.

6- Eye Strain Headache

Eye Strain Headache or Asthenopia is mostly caused due to working long hours in front of a computer screen. The pain is felt around and behind the eyes and forehead.


  • Blurred vision
  • Redness of eyes.
  • Burning and itching in the eyes
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Photophobia
  • Loss of focus
  • Difficulty in concentration


  • The Headache simply goes away within an hour of taking an analgesic and giving rest to your eyes.
  • For an Acute attack, Over-the-counter analgesics can be taken such as Aspirin, Acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen.
  • Natural tears can be used as a lubricant for dry eyes.

7- Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalgias

Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalgias are short-duration primary headaches that occur unilaterally with the ipsilateral involvement of prominent cranial autonomic symptoms. The TACs include Cluster Headache, Paroxysmal Hemicranias, Short lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform Headache with Cranial Autonomic Symptoms (SUNCT).


The symptoms vary with respect to the type of headache experienced. In the case of Cluster Headache the symptoms are :

  • Unilateral headache
  • Headache around the Eyes, behind the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Photophobia and phonophobia
  • Lacrimation


  • Indomethacin is the treatment of choice and is also used to distinguish it from other headache disorders in Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalgias.
  • For the treatment of Cluster Headaches, the best option is lithium therapy but that needs proper monitoring.
  • Other than that triptans and NSAIDs can be used to help with the pain.

8- Cervicogenic Headache

Pain in Cervicogenic Headache is triggered by any sort of problem that arises in the root of the neck. The problem might be a bad posture, falling asleep on high pillows, or long tiresome working hours to a whiplash injury to the cervical spine. The pain felt is basically due to a pinched nerve in the neck region that supplies the areas affected by it. Headache around the Eyes is only present if the nerve supplying the periorbital areas is affected.


  • Headache associated with certain neck positions and postures.
  • Throbbing in character.
  • Neck stiffness
  • Pain in the back of the head, on one side of the head and face
  • Headache around the Eyes. (if the nerve supplying to this area is involved)
  • Numbness and tingling.
  • Pin and needle sensations.


  • Over the counter analgesics: ibuprofen, acetaminophen to relieve pain.
  • Muscle relaxant: to ease the taught muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: NSAIDs to help release the inflammation.
  • Injectables: The doctor might suggest injecting a corticosteroid if the inflammation is pinching the nerve and the pain has become debilitating.
  • Physiotherapy: For recurring cervicogenic headache, physiotherapy sessions can help restore the lost power of the muscles

9- Ice Pick Headache

Ice Pick Headache is a sharp, intense pain that lasts for a brief duration. These can be primary or secondary and mostly occur without any cause or sometimes due to an underlying disease. This can generally occur in any part of your head, most commonly around the eyes and temples.


The duration is so brief that there is no time for other associated symptoms to show up. However, some of the symptoms include:

  • Pain in back of head, on top of head, on forehead, around and behind the eyes and temples.
  • Duration lasting only 5 to10 seconds.
  • The pricking occurs several times during the day.
  • Feels like stabbing with spokes of ice.
  • Abrupt onset of a stabbing, throbbing headache.
  • Facial flushing
  • Tearing
  • Eyelid drooping.


  • Due to a short duration of pain, you don’t really need any sort of treatment.
  • Indomethacin: is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces inflammation and helps relieve the pain.
  • Acupuncture: This has proven to be a very helpful treatment for recurrent attacks.


What is the most common cause of Headache around the Eyes?

The most common cause of Headache around the eyes is a Cluster Headache. Other common causes are Tension Headache, Sinus Headache, and an Eye Strain Headache.

What does the pain around the eyes in an Eye Strain Headache feel like?

The Headache around the Eyes due to Eye Strain feels like fatigued muscles and tiredness. In case of a severe long-duration headache, eyelid edema is also present.

What are the Home remedies for Headache around the Eyes?

Giving proper rest to the eyes.
Staying Hydrated.
Blinking more frequently can help with dry eyes.

What other pains are most commonly present with a Headache around the eyes?

Headache behind the eyes, in Temples, in the Forehead, and one side of the head is mostly present.