When you have pain or pressure behind your eyes, it’s important to see a healthcare provider to determine the cause. This may include a general practitioner or an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). A health care provider will look at the structures around your eyes and inside your eye, and they’ll ask you questions about the symptoms you have.
Some common causes of eye pain are infections like bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions and allergies. Also, a bump on the white part of your eye, called the sclera, is known as a chalazion or hordeolum and can be painful. You can also have pain from abnormally high pressure in your eye due to glaucoma.
If your eye pain is severe and came on suddenly, it could be a sign of angle-closure glaucoma, which is a medical emergency and can lead to blindness in the affected eye within hours. In that case, you should call an emergency room immediately.
Your healthcare provider will ask you about your symptoms, where the pain is, how intense it is, what makes it better or worse and how long it’s been happening. They’ll also do a physical exam. They may use an instrument to measure the pressure in your eye. They might also do blood tests to find the cause of your eye pain, such as a CBC or platelet count. They might also order imaging, such as a CT or MRI scan. Treatment usually includes medication for the underlying condition. This may include prescription or over-the-counter eye drops, oral anti-allergy medications, steroid drugs and/or antibiotics. In some cases, surgery is required.