Headache Behind Left Eye

By | February 18, 2015

People often complain about pain behind their left eye. This pain is often felt as a steady ache, or it could be as bad as shooting pains that seem to pierce the eye. The eye may appear droopy, and may not want to stay open. Pain, redness, contracted pupils, sensitivity to light, a stuffy nose, and tears are symptoms one also may experience.

Pain behind the left eye could be due to headaches, or to eye problems. Nine out of ten people never get an explanation for what caused their headache or eye pain. The skull and the brain tissues do not have nerves running though them, so they do not feel pain. However, the rest of the head and neck can feel pain. Head and eye pain can also be caused by problems with your teeth, sinuses, scalp, and the joints and muscles in your neck.

Here are some other reasons why you may be having pain in the head or behind your left eye:

  • Dry Eyes: Having your eyes dry out is a very common occurrence for people who spend a lot of time on a computer, or doing other close-up work. As your eyes dry out, you will feel a lot of irritation and discomfort. There may be a burning sensation as well as sharp pains and itching. Letting this condition go too long will result in the eye beginning to tear as it protects itself from drying out any further. The best way to stop dry eyes is to have a bottle of artificial tears nearby at all times.
  • Scleritis: Scleritis, inflammation of the eye, is usually seen in people who have gout or rheumatoid arthritis. Scleritis causes a lot of pain and redness in and around the eye. The best way to treat scleritis is to use steroids.
  • Tumors And Infections: Infections, abscesses and tumors in the eye are pretty rare conditions. However, these conditions will cause a considerable amount of pain to occur behind and in the left eye. The stabbing pains are not coming from the brain, but from whatever condition triggered the problem in the first place.
  • Cranial Nerve Palsies: Cranial nerve palsies occur when the blood supply that goes to the nerves that surround the eye becomes erratic. This condition causes a massive headache behind the left eye. It may also cause double vision. People with diabetes are very prone to suffering from cranial nerve palsies.
  • Optic Neuritis: Optic neuritis is a recurring condition that causes headaches, color misconceptions and blurry vision. The doctor can usually identify this disorder quickly due to the muscles that surround the eye becoming droopy. Steroids are often used to successfully relieve the symptoms.
  • Cluster Headaches: Cluster headaches are a rare form of vascular headaches that strike mostly men between the ages of 20 and 30. These headaches are not like tension headaches or migraines. Cluster headaches cause a sufferer to endure a droopy eyelid, a teary eye, congestion and a runny nose.
headache photo

Photo by Diamond Farah

  • Orbital Inflammatory Syndrome: The orbit, or house for the eye, contains nerves, muscles, fat, lymphatics and blood vessels that work together to make the eye move. Inflammation may occur in the orbit, but knowing what caused the swelling and pain is often difficult to determine. Blood tests and a CT scan will tell whether the problem is due to an infection. Pain is felt by touching any place near the eye, or when looking from side to side.
  • Trauma: Any trauma to the head or face, like from a fall, or getting a soccer ball kicked directly into your eye, can cause hemorrhages in the skull and around the eyes. A direct hit to the eye area can also result in orbital bone fractures. Pain will definitely be felt behind the left eye if that takes a hit.
  • Sinus Headaches: Infections in the sinuses often trigger headaches behind the left eye. Symptoms of a sinus headache might resemble cluster headaches, but a sinus headache always produces pressure and pain in the face, between the eyes, and behind the eyes.
  • Hormones: Fluctuating hormones cause chemical changes in blood vessels in the brain. Women who are prone to getting migraine headaches often complain of increased pain during their menstrual cycle. Hormone fluctuations are a common cause of headaches and pain behind the eyes.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a build up of pressure in the eye. The National Eye Institute says that glaucoma is one of the most common eye problems and will cause a lot of pain behind whichever eye is involved. Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to optic nerve damage, causes all kinds of eye pain, may destroy your peripheral vision and may even result in blindness.

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