Experiencing pain, pressure and headaches in the area between and behind your eyes can mean you are suffering from sinusitis. Sinusitis symptoms in the eye area are also described as a dull ache, or as throbbing and sharp pains.
Headache Eye Pain vs. Sinusitis Eye Pain
At times it is difficult to distinguish between normal headache eye pain and sinus-related eye pain. It’s important to determine the correct source of your eye pain, in order to receive effective treatment. Pain near the eyes is more likely to be the result of a sinus infection if it is accompanied by other indicators of sinus problems, such as congestion and nasal discharge. Yellow mucus, either from the nose or running down the back of the throat, usually indicates that a sinus infection is present. Headaches related to the eyes are more likely to be a result of a sinus infection if they are worse when bending forward. Sinus headaches are also usually worse in the morning and less painful later in the day. Fatigue, fever, coughs and laryngitis often indicate a sinus problem.
The Ethmoid Sinus
When a sinus infection is causing your eye pain, the ethmoid sinuses are involved. The ethmoid sinuses are located in the skull between the eye sockets and above the nose. According to Dr. Robert S. Ivker, the author of "Sinus Survival," when the ethmoid sinuses are infected, you will feel pain between and behind the eyes. Tenderness in the sides of the nose also indicate an infection of the ethmoid sinuses. An infection of the ethmoid sinuses means that the mucus lining these sinuses is inflamed. Infections of the ethmoid sinuses are usually caused by bacteria, but can also be caused by viruses or allergies.
Infection of the Ethmoid Sinus
An infection of the ethmoid sinus usually occurs because of a cold. Other factors that prevent these sinuses from draining such as polyps and tumors, can also be a cause. Less commonly, these infections can be acquired from bacterial infections encountered while swimming or diving. Children are more likely to have infected ethmoidal sinuses than adults.
Treating Ethmoid Sinus Infections
When over-the counter-products are not enough, infections of the ethmoid sinuses are usually treated with antibiotics, like most sinus infections. Alternative treatments for sinus infections include using a netti pot for nasal irrigation, and inhaling oils such as peppermint, clove and cinnamon. Allergies to dairy products can also cause chronic sinus infections. Supplementing certain vitamins and minerals can also help.
If all these approaches are tried, and sinus infections remain, surgery may be considered.