Pressure Behind Eye: Superficial or serious?

Have you ever felt a certain pressure behind your eyes? It might be a dull pain, or it can escalate to levels that are unbearable. Sometimes, if accompanied by headaches, we think that this is just fatigue from staring at the computer for a long time. Should we take this pressure behind the eye seriously, or should we just shrug it off?

The small sensation felt, or pressure behind the eye, can actually be associated with two things. First, if you have a really bad flu, or your allergies are acting up, then that pressure is due to sinusitis. Sinusitis has always been associated with pressure behind the eye, but if you don’t have colds, and if you’re not allergic to anything, then the pressure might be from something else.

A more serious cause of pressure behind the eye is glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the optic nerves in the eyes, and it usually progresses or gets worse as time passes. If not treated as soon as possible, it could lead to permanent damage to the eyes – total blindness.

No one actually knows what the real cause of glaucoma is. It’s just said to be hereditary, or inherited through family generations. There’s also no particular sign of knowing it on the early stages, just only when the pressure behind the eye is felt. If you already know that your family has a history of glaucoma, annual visits to the ophthalmologist might help to diagnose it on it’s early stages, and thus prevent the disease from becoming severe. Other common symptoms of having glaucoma are:

Loss of peripheral vision or side vision – Peripheral or side vision is our ability to see beyond our direct line of vision. Think of it as a panoramic view: the very edge of the picture is your peripheral vision. If there is a sudden loss or “blindness” in the corner of your eyes, consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible – you might have glaucoma already.
Severe eye pain – The damage to the optic nerves is caused by an increase in the internal pressure in the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP). This happens when the eye fluid, or aqueous humor, builds up in the eye. It hasn’t been found out how the build-up happens, but some eye accidents (chemical-induced, to be specific) tend to lead to this. The increase in IOP can cause severe pain in the back of the eyes, usually accompanied by headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Blurred vision and sensitivity to light – A more serious stage of glaucoma starts when vision begins to blur, not only on the edges. There would also be tendencies of having blind spots (literal black spots in vision) or even temporary blindness. A halo also appears when looking directly into a light. When these happen, consult the doctor immediately. If the doctor visit is prolonged much longer, you might lose your sight altogether.

Once pressure behind the eye is felt, the best thing to do is visit the eye doctor. You’ll never know how serious an illness is until your body itself reveals it to you; sometimes, it comes in late. So why wait when you can know it now? Early intervention may not lead to complete healing, but it can certainly prevent serious and permanent injury.