12 Common Causes of Headache Behind Left Eye


Headache can interfere with your work, home duties, and other daily activities. The miserable pain may range from mild or dull, to throbbing and sharp. Knowing the exact cause of headache can help you deal with it properly. One of the common causes of headache behind left eye is a cluster headache, but there are also other causes why this condition occurs.

Common Causes of Headache Behind Left Eye

Headache behind the left eye is not a rare condition as there are many people who are experiencing this situation for many reasons. The pain of headache can be located in the eye, behind the eye, or in the head. In some cases, the headache can be due to an eye problem, which means that there is an issue on the eye or tissues surrounding it. Here are the possible causes of headache behind left eye.

1. Cluster Headache


Cluster headaches, one of the painful types of headache, can occur in clusters or cyclical patterns. The pain can wake you up during your sleep, accompanied by an intense pain around or in one eye. The periods of pain may last from a few weeks to months, and sometimes even years. This headache is not life-threatening, and treatments can make the pain less severe. The common signs and symptoms of cluster headache include:

  • Intense pain in or around one eye
  • Pain radiating to face, neck and shoulders
  • Restlessness and facial sweating
  • Redness in one eye
  • Runny or stuffy nose on the affected side
  • Drooping eye lid and swelling around the eye

An attack may last from fifteen to three hours, and may occur every day. With an accurate diagnosis from a professional, you can have proper treatments.

2. Eyestrain

One of the common causes of headache behind left eye is eyestrain. This may occur when the eyes are tired from long and intense use, such as staring at the computer for long hours or driving long distances. Eyestrain usually disappears once you close and rest your eyes. But in rare cases, it can be a sign of an eye problem that requires immediate treatment. Other signs and symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Headache
  • Tired, sore and itchy eye or eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain in neck, back and shoulders
  • Increased sensitivity to brightness

If resting your eyes does not help, see a doctor right away.

3. Migraine

Another possible cause of headache behind your left eye is migraine. A person may experience severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. It is also often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to sound and light, and vomiting. Migraine can be disabling when it is severe. During an attack, you may also experience:

  • Lightheadedness, followed by painting
  • Throbbing or pulsing pain
  • Blurred vision

If you are experiencing migraine many times already, talk to your doctor about your experiences. If the headache is accompanied by fever, seizures, numbness, double vision, mental confusion and severe pain, seek medical help right away.


4. Orbital Cellulitis


Orbital cellulitis occurs when the muscles and fat around the eyes become infected. This condition also affects the eyebrows, eyelids, and cheeks. Caused by Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumonia, or Staphylococcus aureus, orbital cellulitis is a dangerous infection. Children who are suffering from this condition may lose their vision if the problem gets worse. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Bulging eyes
  • Pain on upper and lower eyelid
  • Pain on cheeks, eyebrows and when moving the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Red or purple eyelid
  • Fever

If you develop any signs and symptoms of orbital cellulitis, see a doctor right away for prompt treatment.

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve, which happens when the pressure becomes too high. This condition may lead to blindness. While glaucoma is common in older adults, it can occur at any age. Vision loss caused by glaucoma cannot be recovered, so eye checkups to measure the pressure on the eyes is important. Early diagnosis can slow down or prevent vision loss. The symptoms of glaucoma develop gradually, and they may include:

  • Eye redness
  • Severe headache and eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Halos around the lights
  • Blurred vision
  • Patchy blind spots in the side or center vision
  • Tunnel vision (advanced stages)

See an ophthalmologist if you develop some of the symptoms, such as blurred vision, eye pain, and headache.

6. Sinusitis


One of the common causes of headache behind left eye is sinusitis. This problem is caused by an infection or allergic reaction in the paranasal sinuses. When the linings of the sinuses become inflamed, congested or swollen, it can lead to pain. Other signs and symptoms of sinusitis may include:

  • Thick discharge from the nose
  • Postnasal discharge or drainage down the back of throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain around the eyes, nose, forehead or cheeks
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Cough

If your symptoms do not improve, see a doctor right away.

7. Optic Neuritis

This condition occurs when the optic nerve is inflamed, caused by the loss or damage of the sheath that protects it. Optic neuritis is common in people suffering from multiple sclerosis. Other causes of this condition include ocular herpes, sinusitis, nutritional deficiency, toxins such as tobacco and alcohol, infections like toxoplasmosis and heredity. Other symptoms that one may experience are:

  • Pain behind the eye
  • Loss of vision in one eye
  • Side vision loss
  • Loss of color perception
  • Flickering lights when moving the eyes

This condition can be serious. If you develop any of these symptoms or the symptoms are getting worse, seek medical help immediately.

8. Dry Eyes


Dry eyes syndrome is also one of the causes of headache behind left eye. It is a condition that happens when the tears are not providing enough lubrication for the eyes. This may feel uncomfortable as it may burn or sting. You can experience dry eyes when staring at a computer for a long time, riding a bicycle or when staying in an air-conditioned room. This can be treated by changing your lifestyle or using eye drops. Other symptoms that may develop include:

  • Burning or scratchy feeling in the eye or eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Feeling of having something in the eyes
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Watery eyes (your body’s response to irritation caused by dry eyes)
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurred vision

See a professional if you have had these signs and symptoms.

9. Scleritis

Scleritis is the inflammation of the white part of the eye (sclera). This serious disease is often related with autoimmune disorders and prompt treatment is needed to prevent vision loss. Scleritis is often associated with arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous IQ, mixed connective tissue disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, allergic angiitis, progressive systemic sclerosis and polyarteritis nodosa. Other symptoms of Scleritis may include:

  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness of the white portion of the eye
  • Pain when moving the eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Deep-seated headaches

Severe scleritis may require surgery. If you develop the signs and symptoms, seek medical help for early treatment.

10. Ocular Migraine


One of the possible causes of headache behind left eye is ocular migraine. This migraine involves visual disturbances and it may develop with or without pain. During an attack, you may see flashing or zigzagging lines. While ocular migraine is not a serious condition, it may also cause blind spots and can interfere with your daily tasks such as driving, reading, or writing. Other symptoms of ocular migraine are:

  • Partial vision loss
  • Blank spots in vision
  • Flashes of light
  • Dimming or blurring

Ocular migraines usually last for less than five minutes up to thirty minutes.

11. Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm is a bulging in the wall of an artery in the brain.  In most cases, this condition does not develop symptoms. When the aneurysm leaks or ruptures, it results to subarachnoid hemorrhage or bleeding into the brain. A ruptured aneurysm is dangerous and requires immediate medical attention. Unruptured aneurysm, which cause symptoms and create health issues, should be treated right away to prevent a rupture. The symptoms of aneurysm include:

  • Severe headache that is different from regular or past headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

The risk of ruptured aneurysm may increase due to smoking, high blood pressure, and family history.

12. Brain Infection


Brain infection can be caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses. This condition may also involve the spinal cord. Infections cause encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. The most common causes of encephalitis are viruses. Another brain infection that leads to inflammation of the meninges, layers of tissue covering the spinal cord and the brain, is meningitis. When both the meninges and the brain are infected, this condition is called meningoencephalitis.

Another brain infection is abscesses, which look like boils that can form on any part of the body, including the brain. Empyema is also another infection that forms in a space in the body, such as the space between the lungs or the brain.

These are the most common causes of headache behind left eye. When you or someone is experiencing unusual headache, see a professional right away for early diagnosis and treatment.