Causes of Pressure Build-up behind the Eyes

Eye pain can be of several types, but experiencing a pressure right behind the eyes could mean something very different. This unpleasant sensation could result from a problem that affects the eye or could have something to do with the tissue surrounding the face.

Some of the conditions that could result in a pressure feeling behind the eyes are:

The causes are discussed in detail below.

Eye Pain


A toothache may be seen due to an infection resulting in feelings of pressure and throbbing pain spreading at different parts of the face as the surrounding nerves get affected.

In a 2007 case study that got published in a journal named Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences concentrated on a person who experienced toothache which resulted in an inflammation in the left eye socket in about 2 days. The vision also grew worse in the swollen eye and pain kept increasing.

Optic Neuritis

This is a condition where the nerve connecting the brain and the eyes gets swollen or inflamed. The side effects of this condition include temporary vision loss, pain, and so on. The problem usually peaks after a few days and can taken somewhere between 4 to 12 weeks to get better.

Infections have the tendency to trigger optic neuritis, and have been associated commonly with multiple sclerosis (MS). 50 percent of the individuals having MS also show signs of optic neuritis.

Some of the symptoms associated to this condition include:

  • Pupil reacts unusually to any bright light
  • Losing vision in one of the eyes
  • Reduced vision
  • Colours become less vibrant, or colour blindness
  • Blurry sight, particularly when the body temperature is high
  • Eye pain, particularly while moving it.

Graves' disease

When patients have an overactive thyroid gland, Graves' disease could result in inflammation of the muscles, tissues, and fat present behind the eye. The eyeball may bulge out of the socket leading to other kinds of issues. Other commonly observed eye problems in this condition are:

  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritation in the eyes
  • Loss of vision
  • Ulcers appearing in the eye

Migraines and Other Types of Headaches

According to the American Migraine Foundation, eye pain and headaches go hand in hand. But, it has been pointed out that most of the headaches falling under the category of tension-type or migraine-type do not cause eye strain or other related conditions.

Migraines can cause extreme pain behind the eyes. Some of the other symptoms of migraines are:

  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea
  • Sound sensitivity

Face Injury

Face injuries incurred in a car accident or while engaging in sports could cause pressure behind the eyes. Certain types of fractures could damage the eye nerves, muscles, and sinuses.

Sinus Infection

If the sinuses encounter problems, it could cause pain in the face and the muscles surrounding it. Some of the symptoms associated to this problem include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Cough

If you observe these additional symptoms along with the pressure behind your eyes, it is best to get it checked by the doctor.

Health Information Articles

top page