What Causes Eye Pain and Headache?

Eye pain or Eye Strain

Eye pain and headaches can have various causes, and they can sometimes occur together due to interconnected nerve pathways and shared structures in the head and face. The specific causes of eye pain and headaches can include:

  • Eye strain: Prolonged activities that require intense focus, such as reading, computer work, or detailed tasks, can lead to eye strain and tension headaches. This discomfort is often referred to as “computer vision syndrome” or “digital eye strain.”
  • Refractive errors: Uncorrected or incorrectly corrected vision problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, can cause eye strain, leading to both eye pain and headaches.
  • Eye conditions: Various eye conditions, including dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis (pink eye), glaucoma, uveitis, or corneal abrasions, can cause eye pain. These conditions may be associated with secondary headaches, especially if they lead to changes in vision.
  • Migraines: Migraine headaches often present with eye pain as one of their symptoms. Some people experience visual disturbances known as “aura” before a migraine, which can include blurred vision, flashing lights, or zigzag lines.
  • Sinusitis: Inflammation or infection of the sinuses can cause referred pain in the eyes and face, as well as tension-type headaches.
  • Tension headaches: These are common primary headaches that can cause pain in the forehead, temples, or the back of the head, which may also be felt in and around the eyes.
  • Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches are intense and excruciating headaches that are often centered around one eye. They can cause severe eye pain, redness, and tearing of the affected eye.
  • Trauma or injury: Any trauma or injury to the eye or head, such as a blow to the head or eye, can lead to eye pain and headaches.
  • Infections: Infections of the eye, sinuses, or surrounding tissues can result in both eye pain and headaches. This may include conditions like orbital cellulitis or sinus infections.
  • Increased intracranial pressure: Conditions that lead to elevated pressure within the brain, such as intracranial hypertension or brain tumors, can cause headaches that are sometimes associated with eye pain.
  • Neurological conditions: Certain neurological disorders, like trigeminal neuralgia or optic neuritis, can lead to eye pain and headaches.
  • Systemic illnesses: Systemic conditions like high blood pressure, temporal arteritis, or autoimmune diseases may manifest with both eye pain and headaches.

If you are experiencing persistent or severe eye pain and headaches, it is important to seek medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. Your healthcare provider, an ophthalmologist, or a neurologist may be involved in diagnosing and managing the condition based on the specific symptoms and findings.

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