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Can Migraine Cause Eye Pain

What Causes Migraine Pain

What can cause eye pain and headache in early teens? – Dr. Elankumaran P

Research is still ongoing, but migraines are thought to likely be caused by a phenomenon called cortical spreading depression . This is a process that happens in the brain, more specifically the cortex, when these brain cells are over stimulated.

This stimulation affects the production of serotonin and other brain chemicals. Serotonin then stimulates the trigeminovascular system. This system controls the brains blood vessels, causing them to swell.

Swollen blood vessels do two things:

  • Push on neighbouring nerves causing the sensation of pain.
  • Force the blood to travel through much smaller than normal spaces, making the pulsation of the blood more prominent.

With changes like this happening to the vessels inside our heads, it isnt all that surprising that people often describe the pain as throbbing or as a feeling of pressure inside their head.

How Can A Person With Migraine Become More Tolerant Of Light

Typically, for people who have been living in the dark, well try to move them into the light gradually, says Friedman. So we gradually lighten up the tint in their glasses if theyve been using glasses and gradually turn up the lights, she says.

In addition to increasing light tolerance and utilizing tools to help minimize the negative impacts of light, its important to get migraine attacks under control, says Friedman.

How Can I Treat Migraines Without Using Medicines

It is very important to remember that many of the most effective preventive treatments for migraines do not require any medications. Frequent aerobic exercise is an excellent example of an effective way to improve headaches. Other strategies may include better sleep habits, stress reduction, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.

Also Check: Migraine Timeline

When Should You Seek Out An Ophthalmologist

You should get certain symptoms checked out by an eye specialist, Friedman says.

For example, if theres a lot of discomfort with the eye that doesnt just occur with exposure to light. Itching, burning, tearing, redness, foreign body sensation , a change in the appearance of the eye, or trouble with vision are signs you should see a specialist, says Friedman.

If people are sensitive to light outside that isnt associated with their migraine attacks, that would also be a reason to visit an ophthalmologist.

You want to make sure you dont have dry eye or another retinal disease that can cause sensitivity to light, she adds.

Treating A Headache Behind The Eye

13 Common Causes of Headache Behind Left Eye

Common over-the-counter painkillers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen , can treat headaches. However, these medications should be used sparingly to prevent so-called rebound headaches. These can occur after your body becomes accustomed to the medication, spiking pain once the medicine wears off.

In more severe headache cases, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to stop muscle contractions. Antidepressants to stabilize serotonin levels in your brain are another option.

Other effective treatments to improve pain symptoms from headaches include:

  • exercising daily
  • avoiding or reducing the intake of processed foods
  • avoiding or limiting alcohol use
  • eliminating tobacco use
  • avoiding or limiting caffeine intake

If your condition worsens after implementing these treatment methods, or if you begin to experience irregular symptoms paired with your headache pain, seek immediate medical attention. It could be a sign of a more serious vision issue that needs correction or a medical issue needing treatment.

Read Also: Do Migraines Ever Go Away

Migraine Behind Eye: Symptoms Causes And Treatments

There are many reasons for a headache or migraine behind the eye. Usually, this feels like it is coming from inside the head, sinuses, or the back of the actual eye. In fact, pain behind your eyes can also cause dental issues. Seeing a doctor is essential to determine the underlying cause and provide proper treatment. Keep reading to know more about the causes of pain behind the eyes, including the treatment and common eye issues related to this symptom.

How Are Migraines Diagnosed

To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:

  • Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
  • Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
  • Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
  • Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
  • Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
  • Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
  • Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
  • Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
  • Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.

Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.

Also Check: Migraine Forcast

Tracking Your Migraine Symptoms

Keeping a record of your migraine symptoms may help you figure out patterns and triggers to your attacks. It may be helpful to record such things as:

  • When and where your pain or symptoms start
  • Whether the pain spreads to your entire head or neck
  • How well and how quickly acute treatment helps reduce the pain or other symptoms
  • How long your pain or symptoms last
  • Whether you experience other symptoms such as vision changes, nausea, or light sensitivity

Why Dry Eye Occurs

How to manage one sided headache with eye pain & cough? – Dr. Elankumaran P

Dry eye syndrome is a complex condition involving impaired tear function, as well as eye surface abnormalities. It often stems from increased water loss from the surface of your eye, increased salt content in your tears, or decreased tear production.

However, there’s more and more evidence that many people have symptoms of dry eye that are unrelated to these causes, proving that dry eye syndrome is more complicated than anyone previously thought.

For example, sometimes dry eye syndrome develops as the result of an underlying medical condition, such as Sj√∂gren’s syndrome. Incidentally, people with this autoimmune condition also have a significantly higher incidence of migraine and headache than those without.

Also Check: How Does Cream Of Tartar Help Migraines

Allergy Sinusitis And Sinus Headache Resources

There are a number of very good resources available for people suffering from allergies, sinusitis, and sinus headaches:

  • Al-Hashel, J. Y., Ahmed, S. F., Alroughani, R., & Goadsby, P. J. . Migraine misdiagnosis as a sinusitis, a delay that can last for many years. Retrieved from
  • Bono, F., Messina, D., Giliberto, C., Cristiano, D., Broussard, G., Fera, F., . . . Quattrone, A. . Bilateral transverse sinus stenosis predicts IIH without papilledema in patients with migraine. Retrieved from
  • Cady, R. K., & Schreiber, C. P. . Sinus headache or migraine? Retrieved from
  • Chronic sinusitis. . Retrieved from
  • C. . Sinus Headaches. Retrieved from
  • December 62:752-754, J. F., & Author: Christopher Boisselle, MD Richard Guthmann, MD, MPH Kathy Cable, MLS. . What clinical clues differentiate migraine from sinus headaches? Retrieved from
  • ENT Health. . Sinus Headaches.
  • Migraine Symptoms. . Retrieved from
  • Causes Of A Headache Behind The Eyes

    A headache behind the eyes is an uncomfortable sensation that is felt around or on the back of the eye, which may or may not be a throbbing ache. A headache may occur due to a primary cause or as a secondary cause due to an illness or injury.

    A headachebehind the eyes may be caused by multiple reasons. Common reasons include

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    What Is A Migraine Trigger

    Most migraine sufferers learn what their triggers are. A trigger is an action or event that tends to lead to the migraine starting. Sometimes a person needs to have a combination of triggers to occur before they get a migraine.

    Some common triggers include:

    • Certain foods such as red wine, chocolate, caffeine or aged cheese

    For many sufferers, no trigger can be found.

    What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline

    Eye Pain

    The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.

    The phases are:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

    Read Also: Confusional Migraine Symptoms

    When To Contact A Medical Professional

    • You are experiencing “the worst headache of your life.”
    • You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a headache before.
    • A headache starts suddenly.

    Schedule an appointment or call your provider if:

    • Your headache pattern or pain changes.
    • Treatments that once worked no longer help.
    • You have side effects from your medicine.
    • You are pregnant or could become pregnant. Some medicines should not be taken during pregnancy.
    • You need to take pain medicines more than 3 days a week.
    • Your headaches are more severe when lying down.

    Do I Need To Have My Eyes Checked If My Head Hurts

    A red eye typically warrants immediate eye examinationat least the first time. Eye pain or headache with a normal external appearing eye nearly always has another answer than the eye itself when anyone seeks medical attention. The eyes deserve an exam to evaluate the nerves in the eyes and the optic discs when headache or eye pain is present. This is to eliminate increased pressure in the head and/or eye as a cause.

    Many people will begin their quest for trying to find the cause for their headaches by seeking medical care with the ophthalmologist or optometrist. In fact, most eye pain does not result from an eye problem. Pain in and around the eye usually reflects referred pain from headache. Referred pain is pain that radiates from its originating location to another site. There are a few eye conditions that are important to consider.

    Recommended Reading: Best Time Of Day To Take Propranolol For Migraines

    Why Does A Migraine Affect Vision

    While the exact causes of migraine and aura are not fully understood, we are aware of what happens to the brain after a migraine is triggered. The cortical spreading depression or over-stimulation of the brain has a flow on effect.

    This sudden intense activity in the brain cells is like if all the lights in a city were turned on at once. Then it is followed by a drop-off of activity in that area of the brain. Like a power cut, a blackout in one suburb of the city. The decrease in activity spreads across the top layer of the brain . Like a power outage that gradually spreads from suburb to suburb, until the whole city is in a black out. The drop off starts in the visual areas of the brain , then travels to the body sensation part of the brain , then to the areas important in processing sound .

    If there is a loss of activity in the visual areas of the brain, our eyes will still gather information important for sight, but our brain confuses the information and what we see will be distorted, disrupted and weird! When trying to get a grasp on ideas like this, it helps to remind ourselves that the eyes do not see. The eyes gather visual information about the outside world. This is then packaged into electrical and chemical messages that get sent along nerves to the occipital lobe in the brain. This information is then processed into something our brain can understand like a beautiful sunset or a busy city street.

    What Is Light Sensitivity Or Photophobia

    What causes eye pain with headache? – Dr. Sunita Rana Agarwal

    Perhaps the best definition of light sensitivity is that light that would not ordinarily be bothersome, either to a person when theyre not having a migraine attack or to someone without migraine, is bothersome, says Friedman.

    Light sensitivity not only causes eye pain and aversion to light it can make the headache worse, she says.

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    What Are Migraine Treatments

    Most ocular and retinal migraines dont require treatment. They will go away on their own. It helps to rest and avoid triggers such as loud noises or bright lights.

    If ocular or retinal migraines occur frequently, your eye doctor may suggest medications, including those used to treat other forms of migraines. Beta blockers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants sometimes are helpful, although more research is needed to determine the most effective treatments.

    What Causes Eye Pain During Migraines

    Changes in hormone levels, such as serotonin and estrogen, may trigger migraine pain by causing contractions in blood vessels. Changes in estrogen levels may also make facial nerves like the nerves around the eye more sensitive. Women experience fluctuating estrogen levels, and they are more likely than men to experience migraines.

    People who experience chronic migraines may also have differences in their trigeminal system, which controls many facial movements, including eye movement. These differences cause nerve overactivity, with nerve becoming hypersensitive and creating migraine eye pain. The eyes may be especially sensitive to nerve differences because they are more exposed than other body parts. The cornea contains trigeminal nerve endings, but it is only five cells apart from the surface of the body. Even small amounts of pressure or tiny irritants can cause tremendous eye pain during a migraine attack.

    Read Also: Olfactory Aura Migraine

    What Is A Migraine

    A migraine is a recurrent and severe headache which a whopping one in ten New Zealanders suffer from. There are a few different types of migraines which people usually experience:

  • A classic migraine occurs in about 40% of migraine sufferers and has an aura .
  • A common migraine occurs in about 60% of migraine sufferers and has no aura.
  • A silent migraine is when a person experiences the aura, but no headache or pain afterwards.
  • A visual migraine is a silent migraine when the aura is visual.
  • A retinal migraine is very rare and its visual symptoms are the partial or total loss of vision, temporarily in one eye. In recurrent cases, it is most likely to affect the same eye each time. The vision fades out over five minutes, and can be described as a dimming of vision, flashes of light or patches of blank spots that enlarge to block out all sight in that eye. The vision returns to normal within an hour. This loss of vision is caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of the blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye, not in the brain.
  • Migraines might occur rarely, once or twice a year, or they could strike several times a month. The frequency differs drastically between sufferers and is often associated with an underlying cause. Migraines usually run in families as they have a genetic component. People with two parents who suffer from migraines have a 75% chance of having migraines themselves. Women are also three times more likely than men to get them.

    Some Of The Strangest Migraine Symptoms Involve The Eye Like Red Eyes Or A Feeling Of Pressure An Expert Explains Why Some People Get Bloodshot Eyes

    Headache Behind the Eyes

    A migraine attack is a wandering beast. When an attack strikes, most of the body is thrown into pain, from the toes to the belly to the top of hair follicles. The sensation of your hair hurting or recoiling from a light touch is not uncommon when a migraine is in full swing.

    Migraines begin in the brain, and since the brain controls the entire body, multiple systems in the body are affected. Some of the strangest, most visible, and most alarming symptoms take place near the brain in the eyes. Red eyes, bloodshot eyes, eye pressure – the eyes can take a beating during a migraine attack.

    Sensitivity to light is a well-known migraine symptom, but recently a reader at Migraine Again asked us about a different eye-related issue. Tamika noticed that during some migraine attacks, she would experience red eyes.

    It looked as though a blood vessel had burst and she wondered if migraine could be the cause. She was also curious to see if others have noticed similar eye redness.

    Read Also: Daith Piercing Tension Headaches

    Eye Pain And Migraines

    Eye pain is a common symptom of migraine headaches. More than 3,000 MyMigraineTeam members have reported eye pain as a symptom. Eye pain can take different forms, but whatever form it takes, it can be one of the most excruciating parts of experiencing migraine headache. When migraine pains get to the eyes, they are some of the worst! one member said. Avoiding migraine triggers and finding ways to soothe eye pain when migraine does occur can significantly improve your quality of life.


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