Constant Pain/Pressure Behind Both Eyes (Seeking Help)

Bio: Hello, I’m Jim. I’m 28 and I live near Tampa, Florida. I’m seeking help with regards to eye pain. I’ve had constant pain behind both eyes for as long as I can remember; 8+ years. I cannot cope well with life like this anymore 🙁 I’d appreciate your time and help more than you can imagine!

Pain (scale 1-10): The pain level behind both eyes is 3-4 on bad days and .5 to 1 on good days. I feel constant pressure behind both of my eyes (feels like it’s on the top/behind my eye lids). The feeling is like a light to medium pinching sensation (like if you pinch your skin before it hurts too much) and is 24/7. The pain is the worst in the morning when waking up and is less at night.

Contributing Factors:
SLEEP (main): A good night’s sleep will determine the day’s pain level. Sleep less than 9 hours will result in a pain level of 3-4 and the entire day is hard to grind through.
LIGHT: Sensitive to light; must wear sunglasses outside (even if cloudy) and sometimes inside (hockey game/bright lights and at casino playing slot machines).
COMPUTER: Cannot be on the computer more than 15 minutes in the morning or afternoons.
READING: Cannot be on the computer more than 15 minutes in the morning or afternoons.

Remedies: A well night’s sleep is most important. Used sleep medication in past, but do not want to become addicted (do not want pain killers either). The follow helps about half the pain: Advil, caffeine, high fat/high carb foods, putting coco butter on the top of my eyelids lightly, and/or a good nap.

Tried: Ophthalmologist(s) and had orbital cat scan. Eyes are healthy/no glaucoma. Tried various eye drops (some prescribed) and sinus techniques, all did not help. I gave up seeking more specialists because I could not afford more doctors visits (I do not have good health insurance); so I decided to accept the pain and cope with it. I remain on a good diet/exercise regimen and my vision is not rapidly deteriorating or had any vision loss.

Cannot: Travel, do anything in the mornings, use my computer IT degree (be on the computer for hours a day), or read much at a time. The pain effects my mood and morale 🙁

Want: I would love any suggestions/support that you can provide! I plan on paying out of pocket to speak to a neuro-ophthalmologist about my issue. After Googling, if I had to guess it’s some type of nerve damage, but behind both eyes… I’m not sure how both are the same pain level. Also, I would think the pain level would be least in the mornings (after sleeping and having eyes closed), but, on the contrary, the pain level is least at night and worst in the mornings.

I would love to travel with my new girlfriend, but sleep is so paramount (to my pain level), that I must use my own bed in my blacked-out/cool room. My life revolves around me coping with this pain, and I wish I could live a normal life – wake up early, work on the computer, and just live life to the fullest!

Thank you for reading and God bless 🙂
-Jim

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Comments

View Comments (16)
  • KadKat
    8 months ago

    Hi Jim, I am sorry for you feeling such pain everyday. When you the neurologist please ask him about occipital neuralgia. I have had chronic migraine for about 20 years now, 20+ migraine days a month, and I was diagnosed with occipital neuralgia in March by my neurologist. I must say that I was skeptical. Over the years I have had doctors trying all kinds of tests, diagnoses, and drugs with very little if any help. The triptan I take for a rescue drug works wonders but none of the preventatives we’ve tried have done much good.

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thank you so much KadKat,

    I will do more research on occipital neuralgia. Really appreciate you sharing your story and I’m so sorry that you’ve had to deal with this pain for 20 years… I’ll keep everyone here updated on my visit in 5 weeks.

    -Jim

  • sugarlips1313
    8 months ago

    The pain behind your eyes, you describe could also be pressure on your optic nerves (papilledrma) caused by increased CSF in the skull, a condition called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH), which I have as well as chronic migraine. I’m glad you’ve been to an Opth & are wisely seeking an NeuroOpth. They’ll need to do visual fields & dilate your eyes to have a look at the optical nerves & do a fundascope (take pics of the back of your eye to see if/what is swelling).

    In the meantime try these things that can possibly help:

    1) Don’t sleep laying flat. I started just propping up on a couple of pillows, but then discovered wedge pillows! I sleep as if sitting in a recliner or hospital bed with the head raised up about 7”. This is a big help as laying flat ups the CSF pressure in your brain (this is true whether you have IIH or not).
    2) Go easy on caffeine. Too much can give anyone a headache & it helps with some migrainers, but as with everything, it’s different for each individual (both with chronic migraine & IIH & anything, really). I know some IIHers who swear by caffeine, but I’m on the other end & cannot tolerate it at all. I’ve been caffeine free for nearly 10 years!! So see if cutting back (just a little, don’t go cold turkey) & see if that helps. Maybe keep a diary of what you drink & how the pain varies.
    3) Too much Vitamin A can cause increases in CSF, headaches & brain chemistry. Go figure, we’re told ‘eat your veggies!’, but too much of green, leafy veggies can hurt (sadly, I love spinach! )

    I hope these few suggestions help you. I’m in no way a medical professional, just going off my experiences.

    If they find your optic nerves are swollen, the next step will be a lumbar puncture to find out exactly what the pressure level is, test your CSF to see if anything is afoot & get you into a neuro. I can still be pressure/CSF related & NOT be IIH, but this is some starting info for ya.

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thank you so much for your response,

    I had the oribal catscan done and they ruled out papilledema.

    Results: https://preview.ibb.co/h7umfd/negative.png

    I am planning on doing an MRI and hoping that the neuro-optha will find something in early July.

    Thank you so much for those helpful ideas/remedies, every little bit helps me cope! I’ll try the wedge pillows/variation of propping up more 🙂 Appreciate the insight on the testing and things I may go through soon.

    -Jim

  • Jannii
    8 months ago

    Hi Jim,
    Have you had your B12 checked only when my B12 was low I had constant pain behind both eyes, it might not be the cause of your pain but worth a try.
    Janni

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thanks Janni,

    I’ll ask my general practitioner on Tuesday when I get a thyroid test 🙂

    -Jim

  • headouchies
    8 months ago

    I’m so sorry to hear about your pain. I would definitely seek out a neurologist that specializes in headaches/migraines in your area. Your symptoms sound a lot like migraine to me.
    I know things feel hopeless, but this is really the beginning of the journey for you to find a diagnosis. Now that you’ve seen a bunch of ophthalmologists, it’s time to see a neurologist. There are a bunch of treatments that you can try with a neurologist that may well give you the relief you so desperately need.
    Best wishes to you!

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thanks for your response and comfort. Appreciate your support very much 🙂 Hopeful my journey can get better!

    -Jim

  • 1bqjb2f
    8 months ago

    Hi Jim,

    sorry to read about your problem.

    I’m a chronic migraineur and have suffered from tension headaches and migraines since I was a child (runs in the family, unfortunately).
    A few years ago I had exactly the same issue you are reporting, but behind my right eye only.
    Annoying pressure on good days, stabbing pain on bad days. It improved a bit when I started preventive therapy with beta-blockers, but I still get it occasionally.
    Now the constant tension/pain has moved to my right ear and my jaws (both sides). I went to eye and ear specialists, did some tests and scans but nothing came up.
    My guess is that most of it is tension related.
    I grind my teeth at night and, like you, the pain level is deeply influenced by how well I have slept.
    I have also noticed that when I took Alprazolam (had to take it for a period due to bouts of bad anxiety related to a difficult situation I was going through), the situation had improved dramatically.
    Unfortunately, sleep medication makes me drowsy and worsens my migraines, so I use it sparingly.
    I would like to investigate natural muscle relaxants to see if they help a bit – don’t get me wrong, I *love* chemicals, but between propranolol, triptan and the occasional non-opioid painkiller I’m already taking many drugs.
    Surprisingly, meditation seems to help too, although it is not a definite solution to the problem.
    Hope you’ll find a way to get better soon.

    You’re not alone!

    Hugs from Italy,
    Francesca

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thanks Francesca,

    Your response and support means so much. Thank you for sympathizing with my pain. Thankful for you sharing your journey and your remedies. Best wishes to you too <3

    -Jim

  • Sunny
    8 months ago

    Hi Jim, this may not apply to you, but I had (in addition to migraines that started on the side or top of my head) for a number of years severe eye pain in one eye. It felt as if someone were stabbing me in the eyeball. Medication didn’t help and I was checked by multiple neuro-opthalmologists and tests which found nothing wrong with the eye. The cause (surprisingly) turned out to be in the back of my head by the occipital nerve. When the pain started, I would put an ice pack on the back of my head, the soft area above the hairline and below the skull, for 20-30 minutes. The ice reduced inflammation which was pressing on the occipital nerve as well as the striate cortex which is a visual center in the back of your head. Also, watch out anytime you turn your neck or twist it, as this can cause inflammation too. Good luck.

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thank you so much Sunny!

    I really appreciate you sharing your story. I’ll most definitely try this!

    -Jim

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi Jim,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry to hear you are having a difficult time right now. While I can’t tell you exactly what’s going on, I can give you information to share with the doctor. Only a qualified doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis.

    It’s good to hear you’ve been examined by an eye doctor and things check out OK. Eye pain, in addition to many others, may be a symptom of a migraine attack. You may want to seek out the expertise of a true migraine expert, a doctor who is board certified in headache medicine. When you get a moment take a look at this information; http://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/
    and
    https://migraine.com/blog/really-find-headache-specialist/.

    In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help ease your light sensitivity and discomfort. You may want to investigate glasses that are specifically designed to help with this issue. TheraSpecs makes great glasses, (I have a pair) that are terrific in helping cut down on glare. Here is that info; Checking and adjusting the settings on you computer or laptop
    may help as well.

    Here are some articles that may help as well;

    https://migraine.com/video/tools-for-dealing-with-light-sensitivity/

    https://migraine.com/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-screen-time/

    https://www.theraspecs.com/blog/computer-screens-headaches-migraines-and-concussions/.

    Let me know what you think!
    Nancy

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thank you so much Nancy,

    I’ll read over the posts soon, when my eyes are better! Really appreciate your help and suggestions.

    A second condition that I have, that I sought a general practitioner about was my mild throat pain, and they ruled out depression. After googling, and due to another person’s suggestion to research my thyroid, do you think my thyroid can have such an impact on pain behind my eyes? And, if so what type of specialist should I see?

  • jamminsport author
    8 months ago

    Thanks @justmeinks,

    What type of remedy are you currently using?

  • Justmeinks
    8 months ago

    Yes!
    My thyroid was mostly not functioning. Eye pain was just as you describe. But I would have thought the eye dr would catch that. I went monthly for almost a year to make sure there was no added pressure behind the eye.
    When you can do a search for “thyroid eye”. Good luck!

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