Headache over Your Left Eye: Causes and Treatments

There are various types of headaches, and many factors may cause them. Headache above the left eye, for example, may be due to a problem with the nerves or blood vessels in the area, or it can be a sign of infection. Headaches may come and go, but if your symptoms persists or gets worse, call your doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.

Why Do I Have Headache Above Left Eye?

1. Cluster Headaches

These are uncommon vascular headaches that differ from tension headaches or migraine headaches. The American Headache Society reports that cluster headaches are more common among men between 20 to 30 years old, which are described as severe, stabbing headaches that occur around the eye or temple.

Cluster headaches may occur every other day up to 8 times daily, lasting from 15 minutes to 3 hours. Other symptoms include tearing, nasal congestion, runny nose, sweating, and droopy eyelid. Causes may include abnormal hormone or neurotransmitter levels, hypothalamus dysfunction, and dietary or environmental triggers.

2. Sinus Infection

Headache above left eye may be caused by sinus infections. You will feel pressure-like pain in some specific areas, which can become worse when you bend forward or do sudden head movements. Pain may be severer in the morning after draining mucus from the sinuses. Other symptoms include postnasal drip, sore throat, yellowish green nasal discharge, malaise and mild to moderate-grade fever.

3. Glaucoma

Another condition that can cause headache above the left eye is glaucoma. This condition is due to the build-up of pressure within the left eye that causes damage to the optic nerve, destroying peripheral vision and leading to blindness.

4. Infection or Tumors

Any infections or tumor in the left eye or brain can cause pain around the eye. Although infections or tumors do not cause pain to the brain tissue, these can destroy nerves and other tissues near the affected eye.

5. Aneurysm

Aneurysms are abnormal blood vessels that balloon in the brain and can leak or burstcompletely, causing bleeding, or stroke. Most hemorrhagic strokes occur between the brain and its sensitive coverings, causing subarachnoid hemorrhage. This causes a sudden, excruciating headache near the back of your head, can cause pain in the left or right eye. See your doctor right away.

6. Trauma

Trauma to the head or direct trauma near the left eye can cause fractures and bleeding within the skull or the area around your eye. This is common during contact sports.

7. Migraine

Migraine headaches are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light sensitivity (photophobia), and visual symptoms.

8. When to Worry

Symptoms related to serious headache above left eye may include the following situations:

  • Early morning headaches
  • Head pain gets worse when straining, coughing or sneezing
  • Vomiting but no nausea
  • Sudden and "worst headache" ever
  • Continuous or worsening headache
  • Weakness in arms/legs
  • Personality changes
  • Vision changes
  • Seizures

How Can I Relieve Headache Above Left Eye?

1. Treat Cluster Headaches

  • Inhaling 100% oxygen through a face mask.
  • Triptan injections, which are effective for acute cluster headaches. This type of medication can also be used as a nasal spray, which may take longer to work.
  • Zolmitriptan (Zomig) is another triptan medication used as a nasal spray or as oral tablets to relive cluster headaches.
  • Octreotide (Sandostatin) is an injectable synthetic hormone that mimics somatostatin, a natural brain hormone.
  • Intranasal local anesthetics such as lidocaine may be effective against cluster headache.
  • Dihydroergotamine in the intravenous or intranasal form may be used for this type of headache.

2. Treat Migraine

Migraine treatments include:

  • Prescription drugs that work by acting on specific receptors in the nerves/ blood vessels in your head
  • Over-the-counter rescue medications to stop headaches.
  • Other preventive medications that must be taken daily to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.

3. Avoid Triggers

There are many factors that can trigger headaches, including:

  • Alcohol use
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Sweets and processed foods
  • Skipping meals
  • Bright lights
  • Loud noises
  • Lack of sleep or changes in sleep patterns
  • Exposure to strong odors, including cigarette smoke

4. Self-Care Tips

A minor headache above the left eye can be treated successfully with simple remedies. However, if you experience a sudden, "worst headache ever", call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately. Helpful home treatments include:

  • Keeping the house quiet and lights dim.
  • Using an ice pack as cold compress to the affected area.
  • Getting physical therapy.
  • Having a warm bath or shower.
  • Lying down for a nap.
  • Getting out for a walk and fresh air.
  • Having a neck massage.
  • Using the thumb and index fingers to apply pressure to the affected area.

Preventive Tips to Take

  • Limit coffee intake. Although a small amount of caffeine can help prevent headaches, excessive use can cause overuse headaches. Take just one to two cups (less than 200 mg caffeine) of coffee per day (about two cups), or none at all.
  • Avoid alcohol. Red wine is a common trigger for alcohol-induced migraines.
  • Take riboflavin (a B-vitamin) or vitamin D. Research shows that taking high doses of these vitamins can help prevent your headaches. They increase nitric oxide levels, which keeps the blood vessels wide.
  • Have regular sleep schedule. Try to get up at the same time every day. A stable sleeping schedule usually reduces the frequency of headaches.
  • Make your own exercise routine. It is advised to exercise at least 30 minutes per day three times a week. Do aerobic exercises. Exercise releases the body’s natural chemicals called endorphins, which reduce pain. Exercise also reduces stress and promotes better moods and brain wellness.
  • Try yoga. Studies found that practicing yoga regularly for an hour at least four times a week significantly reduces headache symptoms and frequency, leading to less medication use in people with migraines.