Due to the fact that the sinus cavity is located directly behind the eyes, sinus irritation and sinus infections can cause mild- to-severe eye pain. This pain associated with the sinuses is easily treated by giving attention to the reason behind the pain. If it is a result of simple sinus inflammation or excess congestion, an over-the-counter decongestant can help clear up the pressure. If the pain is due to an infection, a prescription for antibiotics will take care of the issue within a few days.
Sinus eye pain is the result of excessive pressure placed on the back of the eye from the sinus cavity. Sitting directly behind the eyes is a large, open, empty space lined with a light layer of mucus that helps keep airborne bacteria, pollen and other particles out of the lungs. At times, this cavity can become irritated by a weakened immune system, allergies or an infection. When the sinus cavity is aggravated— it enlarges and overproduces mucus, causing the sinus cavity to press on the eye, resulting in discomfort and pain.
The most common treatment for sinus eye pain is a combination of a decongestant and a pain reliever. The decongestant will reduce the swelling of the sinus cavity and dry out the excess mucus that has built up. Pain relievers that are anti-inflammatory are recommended over others to assist in the calming of the irritated sinus cavity. The most common anti-inflammatory pain relievers are ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. If you have a heart condition, these pain relievers are not recommended as they can cause acceleration of the heart.
Preventing sinus eye pain begins with recognizing the signs as soon as they appear. At the first sign of sinus congestion, take an over-the-counter decongestant to restrict the sinus cavity from becoming congested and swollen. If the sinus cavity doesn’t swell, you will avoid the pain associated with it. If the decongestant doesn’t help, you may want to see a doctor to determine if the sinus eye pain is the cause of a sinus infection. If it is, he or she will prescribe an antibiotic to kill the infection, and recommend that you take a decongestant and pain reliever alongside the antibiotic.
Most sinus eye pain is easily cured with a few basic medications, but if the pain persists, you will want to see a doctor. If the pain is associated with a sinus infection, it will only increase until the infection is cured. Avoiding the recommended use of antibiotics could lead to severe health concerns as the infection can likely spread to the ears, throat and even the brain. In these complex situations, a person may have to be hospitalized and treated with high levels of antibiotics.
Some of the most common ways to identify sinus eye pain is by gently pressing on the eyelids. When you press, if you feel more pressure and pain, it is most likely the effects of irritated sinuses. Fatigue is another sign of sinus eye pain; as the sinuses enlarge and press on the eyes, they cause the body to produce melatonin, the natural chemical that makes you feel sleepy. If the sinus eye pain is caused by an infection, you may experience chills, a fever and headache.