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Constant Eye Pain & Pressure

  • By katy

    In December 2013, I started developing some right eye pressure and pain, about once or twice a week at night. I shrugged it off, thinking it was just eye strain.In January, I was at my Wednesday night billiards league, and the pressure in my right eye would not let up and got to the point where I had to actually tape my eyelid shut (I used medical paper tape). This proved to relieve some of the pressure, but still caused some discomfort, since the tape itched and the pressure was still there. The following afternoon, a migraine hit hard (no triggers) and I ended up in the ER. My eye pressure/pain and migraine was at a 9. I was given some wonderful drugs and sent home.

    Since then, I have still been experiencing the eye pressure, with and without the pain. The pain usually doesn’t occur all of the time, but when it does, it doesn’t occur until night. The pressure is what is making me frustrated. I have been to an Ophthalmologist and my eyes are healthy. I have had CT scans, MRI’s and all kinds of tests- No abnormalities, just headaches/migraines. I just don’t know how much longer I can live with this eye pressure.

    I am currently on Topamax (50mg 2x/day), Zanaflex & Imitrex. I do have an appointment with my neurologist on April 11 (cannot wait to see him).

    So my question is this (sorry for the long story)… Do any of you have eye pressure and/or pain? If so, what, if anything relieves it?

  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi kritter84,

    I’m sorry to hear this, it must be very frustrating. Eye pain can occur with a migraine attack as can many other symptoms. These symptoms can range from We have information about the symptoms in a migraine attack you can read about here;

    A word about Topamax, it has helped many people with migraine prevention, but others not so much. One of the keys in taking Topamax is it needs to be started at a low dose (25mg) and increased slowly. For more information you can read about Topamax in this link;

    Do you by any chance experience eye swelling, tearing and/or a runny nose in addition to your other symptoms? Cluster headache is a primary headache disorder which can include these symptoms and has been referred to as one of the most painful types of head pain imaginable. I’m not suggesting you have this, just something you may want to speak to your doctor about. You can read more about cluster headache in this link;

    Do let us know how your appointment with the doctor goes.

  • By Tammy Rome

    Since your appointment is in a few days, there are a few other possible causes for eye pressure that you might want to ask your neurologist. One of the side effects of Topamax is increased eye pressure. Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension can also cause increased eye pressure. It is often diagnosed by a combination of an opthalmologic exam and lumbar puncture.

    Hopefully you are feeling better and the eye pressure was just a temporary problem. Please do let us know how it all turns out.

  • By Kathleen

    Hi Kritter84,

    I was looking to post on the exact same thing and then I saw your post.
    I have the same problem.
    In fact, the pain is so bothersome that I can barely drive, read, text and even just look around.
    I popped to the shop the other day, just a 10min drive, and I struggled to drive the distance on the way home.
    I take 20mg of Propanolol. Not sure if it’s helping yet as it’s only been a month.
    The eye pain/forehead pain occurred before I was even taking any medication.
    I don’t know what to do either.
    I love to proofread, but w/ my migraine’s affecting my eyes the way it does, I can’t really do that anymore.

    • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

      In addition to what Tammy and Nancy suggested about this issue, I wanted to add one more thing. Did you know there are doctors out there that are specialists in neurology AND opthalmology? I’m sure they are difficult to find, but if you have this kind of issue and are not able to find relief, you may want to seek one out. My Headache Specialist referred me to an Opthalmology Neurologist when we were trying to figure out why I was having chronic migraines. He didn’t find anything, but his skill set was very interesting. The guy I went to was at Georgetown University Hospital in DC.

      I just thought I’d let you know if it gets really bad.

  • By katy

    Hello all,

    Thank you for all your responses.

    Silly me, I had my days mixed up and I didn’t have an appointment with my neurologist. However, I am going to make an appointment with him, since I have been experiencing the eye pain for a week now with no relief.

    I do not experience any other symptoms, runny nose, congestion, etc. with this pain. I thought it might have been sinuses as well, but MRI’s of my sinuses have shown that they look fine. I just get so frustrated with the migraines, headaches and this eye pain. One day at a time right…

    Thank you all!

    – Katy

  • By hobieandyacky

    Hi Katy, my husband has the same problem you do. Relentless eye pain and pressure that our Primary Care Physician has said is migraines. He has also seen an Ocular Neurologist and tries many different meds including Topomax, Imitrex, and several others. Have you found out any thing about your eye pain? Have you found something that relieves it? His eyes get terribly red when they hurt so bad. Thanks!

  • By CatCull32

    I have been getting migraines above my eyes all the time, I don’t
    Know why I am getting them. They are very painful sometimes. I have been to my gp about them and she thinks I need plenty
    Of fresh air. She gave me some tablets for it but they keep coming back.
    This happened to me years ago when I got a bug, I was getting
    up and about to have a shower but I felt dizzy and banged my
    head of the bathroom sink. Ever since I have been getting migraines and pain in my head. Sometimes I get ringing on the
    ride of my head for migraines. I even wake up with migraines.

  • By oadefope

    Hi moderator and Katy in particular, I hope you are still a member because I am experiencing the same symptoms now. I know it’s three years after the fact but I really hope that you have got some relief and have some good news to share with me. Anyone else that has posted here, any help/assistance will be greatly appreciated as I just turned 40, have a 3 year old and have been unable to sleep for 9 weeks because I experience severe eye pain/pressure for 9 weeks in/around my eyes. They claim that these are migraines but I also have pain in my right eye that wakes me up at night and prevents me from sleeping though the night. Please lep with suggestions. Topomax and Imitrex are not really doing anything. I’m also on Zanax which is to help with the sleep but yet, I still wake up at night. Please help.

    • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

      So sorry that this is happening to you. This is pretty severe if you’re not able to sleep. I want to share a few things with you:

      One of the side effects of Topamax is increased eye pressure.

      Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension can also cause increased eye pressure. It is often diagnosed by a combination of an opthalmologic exam and lumbar puncture.

      Acute angle-closure glaucoma causes pressure inside your eye to rise suddenly. Symptoms include severe eye pain, nausea and vomiting, headache, and worsening vision.

      I’d suggest that you definitely see an opthamalogist, if you haven’t already, to rule out glaucoma. And then talk to your doctor to find out if you have high blood pressure that could be causing this. Ask if a build up of spinal fluid could be causing this (unfortunately that would mean having a spinal tap- not fun). Then maybe talk about whether Topamax could be the culprit.

      These are just a few ideas that I had, but of course I’m not a doctor, so schedule an appointment soon. If you’ve been having this same discussion with your doctor for a while and don’t feel like you’re making any progress, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. I hope this helps.
      -Katie Team

    • By roma32

      I have same problem,this is only my suggestion based on my experience.I am taking AMIGRAINE(with tartrate,caffeine & analgin) and it really works on my eyepain its only that it will make you awake and active for a day because of the caffeine.

  • By katy

    Hi oadefope,

    I am so sorry that you experience this pain as well. Unfortunately, to this day, I still have my eye pain/pressure. In fact, I’ve had it for the four days. I had a lumbar puncture to rule out IIH. I have seen an ophthalmologist to rule out any particular eye issues. As discouraged as I was to hear that there was no specific cause, I was also relieved to hear nothing was severely wrong. I believe that part of my issue is sinus issues as well. Sinus medication has helped to an extent, but I unfortunately, I still suffer. I would definitely talk to your neurologist and see an ophthalmologist to rule out any specific problems that Katie Golden wrote about, especially since your pain is preventing you from sleeping.
    It may also be worth looking into to see an ENT since eye pressure can develop from sinus/allergy symptoms as well.

    I have gotten to the point where I just try my best to ignore it and live with it. I’m sorry I can’t be more help than that, but I feel your pain, literally and figuratively. I hope you have better success with an answer and prevention/treatment than I have.

    Please keep us all posted on your journey. I hope and pray your pain is relieved as soon as possible! Best of luck to you.

  • By oadefope

    Hi ladies,
    You are both the best. I did get an MRI done and everything came out normal. So, that’s not the issue. I do feel clogged up but muyiwa sinuses were clear at least on the MRI so I don’t think that this is the issue either right? I went to see two opthamologist and they said my eyes were fine. I have an appointment with another one tomorrow. Doesn’t hurt to check. I think if I can just get so excited sleep I’ll live with the pain/pressure around my eyes although it is most definitely not fun. Of course, I’m keeping positive and doing everything in my power to fingers a solution for it. Katy, how does the pain/pressure feel when it used to wake you up at night? Was it a throb? Did it feel gritty, achy, full,like there is something stuffed in it? I’m so desperate for answers. Has anyone been on painkillers like 800mg Tylenol and have you found that to be more helpful that all this Topamax, Imitrex is not quite sure is helping? Looking forward to hearing from you all soon. This is really helping me mentally as any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

  • By katy

    Hi there oadefope,

    Glad to hear all got checked out and nothing serious is wrong. I know it’s somewhat discouraging to hear that in a way because we have this pain and we need answers.

    When I do have the issue with my eye, it hurts almost every time I blink. It’s like someone is squeezing my eyeball and/or pushing it from the back. It’s almost like it feels like it’s protruding from the socket, if that makes sense.

    I have definitely noticed through the years that it can be directly related to the weather, especially when it rains. Unfortunately, I live in an area where allergies are horrible so I feel that adds to it as well.

    I would definitely still go to an ENT though. I have had and MRI show clear sinuses, however when a doctor actually scoped them, there was a massive amount of scar tissue (from a previous surgery) and other issues that an MRI did not pick up. I try to always rule out all options before “giving up”.

    I hope you can get some sleep soon and your pain subsides. Continue to keep us posted.

  • By Dr.Faustus

    I have read the on-site post about “TOPAMAX AND SERIOUS EYE PROBLEMS” and while nicely written and organized (IMO), The Post contains some serious inaccuracies.
    Topamax DOES NOT cause “open angle glaucoma”. Topamax can cause a very difficult-to-treat form of “secondary ANGLE CLOSURE GLAUCOMA”. While the risk is low, this complication is not rare. Symptoms are eye pain, eye redness, headache, possible nausea and emesis, blurred vision, halos around lights, and a fixed and mid-dilated pupil. This is usually unilateral, but can be bilateral. This form of angle closure Glaucoma does not respond to Laser PI, or pilocarpine and these treatments should not be used in this form of glaucoma.

    G.Corrent MD PhD

    • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

      Dr. Faustus,
      Thank you so much for jumping in and giving the full explanation of what could happen to your vision when you have migraine disease. I really appreciate your feedback.
      -Katie Team

  • By RhondaH

    I have a bit of good news…I have found a few things that have worked for me with the constant eye pressure and pain. I have had this problem with migraines and eye pressure for over 8 years now. I have been to countless neurologists, a neurosurgeon, an opthamologist, an ENT, and had all the MRIs and cat scans and nothing was ever found wrong. I have been on countless meds (trial and error, I would say). First, I am on Topamax, Nortriptyline, magnesium, and vitamin B every day to help with the reduction in migraines. That has helped with the migraine part because I was getting them all the time. Now, it has been reduced to menstral and inclement weather. My doctor also tried some oxygen therapy for those times and it has done wonders with the migraines during those times. I was still, however, having problems with my left eye. You know the pain…like a balloon blowing up from the inside about to pop your eye out of your head. Well, I got a muscle injury and my doctor prescribed some methocarbomal as a muscle relaxer. I only took 1/2 so I wouldn’t fall asleep but it helped with the eye pressure. She also gave me some eye drops (many kinds I tried before but none worked) called Ketotifen Fumarate Ophthalmic Solution, {Antihistamine eye drops). Between the two, it completely got rid of my eye pain.
    Now I just use the eye drops periodically and only take the muscle relaxer when the pressure starts to build due to weather or menstral. I can manage the migraines enough as long as I can keep that eye pain under control.
    I hope someone else can find a remedy that works for them. I really don’t like taking the muscle relaxers but 1/2 works and at least I can function now.