Sinus pressure around eyes: The request could not be satisfied


Is My Facial Pain or Facial Pressure Caused by a Sinus Infection?


Facial pain is linked with high levels of healthcare utilization and significant morbidity and continues to be a challenge in both diagnosis and therapeutic approaches for both doctors and patients. It’s often diagnosed on the basis of exclusion. 

Those suffering from facial pain often undergo various repeated consultations with various specialists and end up receiving a number of treatments, including surgery. Many individuals and doctors mistakenly attribute facial pain and facial pressure as being caused by rhinosinusitis when, in fact, this isn’t the case. 

What is Rhinosinusitis (Sinusitis)?

Rhinosinusitis, or a sinus infection, occurs when your nasal cavities become inflamed, infected and swollen. 

Your sinuses are typically air-filled pockets in your facial bone. They’re located:

If they become blocked by fluid, bacteria or germ like viruses can multiply in these hard-to-reach, dark areas, causing an infection.

Sinusitis is typically caused by a virus and can persist even after the symptoms of an upper respiratory condition have disappeared. Sometimes, bacteria might cause a sinus infection. Other disorders can contribute to sinus symptoms and pain such as:


Is Sinusitis the Same as Sinus Infection?

The answer is essentially yes. Sinusitis is actually the same thing as a sinus infection. The term “itis” refers to swelling or inflammation often caused by an infection and “sinus” is the area of facial swelling.


How Long Does a Sinus Infection Last?

There are a couple of primary forms of sinus infections or sinusitis — acute and chronic.  

From a clinical standpoint, it’s important to distinguish between “sinogenic” and “non-sinogenic” facial pain to avoid the wrong treatment.


Distinguishing Between Chronic Sinusitis-Related Facial Pain and a Migraine?

Sinus infection headaches and migraines are simple to confuse because the symptoms and signs of both types of headaches might overlap.

Both migraine headache and sinusitis pain frequently become worse when you bend forward. Migraine can also be accompanied by a variety of nasal symptoms and signs, including:

Migraines are often misdiagnosed as sinus headache in around 42% of individuals because they share: 

  • Overlapping symptoms (nasal congestion, facial pain-fullness and rhinorrhoea)

  • Common areas with chronic rhinosinusitis

  • Precipitating triggers (allergies, weather changes and environmental irritants)

Also, migrainous and sinonasal conditions might often co-exist as comorbidities. Chronic rhinosinusitis might increase migraine-linked frequency and morbidity through aggravation of trigeminal nerve receptors.

Studies have found around 90% of individuals who visit their doctor for sinus headaches receive a migraine diagnosis instead.  However, sinusitis typically isn’t aggravated by bright light or noise or associated with nausea or vomiting — all common with migraines.

Sinusitis typically occurs after a cold or viral upper respiratory infection and includes:

  • Discolored, thick nasal mucus

  • Pain in upper teeth or one cheek

  • Decreased sense of smell

Sinus infection-related headaches frequently last days or longer, whereas migraines often last hours to a day or two.


Sinus Infection and Facial Pain 

So, is your facial pressure or facial pain due to a sinus infection?  Pain is a common sinusitis symptom. You have a few different sinuses below and above your eyes and behind your nose. When you have a sinus infection, these can hurt.

Swelling and inflammation make your sinuses ache with dull pressure. You might feel pain:

The relentless sinus infection and facial pressure and sinus swelling can cause headache symptoms. Sinus pain can also give you:

Sinusitis headaches are frequently worse in the morning since fluids have been gathering all night long.  


Other Symptoms of Sinus Infection

Common sinus infection symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness

  • Postnasal drip

  • Coughing

  • Discolored (greenish) nasal discharge

  • Fever

  • Pain in your teeth

  • Tenderness of your face (especially at the bridge of your nose or under your eyes)

  • Bad breath

  • Fatigue


How is a Sinus Infection Treated?

First, you will need to find out what’s causing your sinus infection. Is it bacterial or viral? If it’s viral, it will not likely last more than a couple of weeks. To obtain relief from symptoms of a sinus infection, you can use:

Antibiotics are often prescribed for bacterial infection. But, you don’t want to jump too quickly to antibiotics because being overprescribed antibiotics can lead to you developing antibiotic resistance. Usually, allergists suggest you only take antibiotics if your symptoms have lasted over seven to 10 days. If medications don’t work for you, your doctor might recommend surgery to correct defects in the bone that separates your nasal passages, open closed passages or remove nasal polyps.


How is Chronic Sinusitis Treated?

Treatments for chronic sinusitis include:

1. Medications

  • Saline nasal irrigation: These include nasal solutions or sprays which reduce drainage and rinse away allergies and irritants.

  • Nasal corticosteroids: These are nasal sprays that help treat and prevent inflammation. Some include budesonide, fluticasone and triamcinolone. If these aren’t effective enough, the physician may suggest rinsing with a saline solution mixed with budesonide drops or using a nasal mist made from the solution.

  • Aspirin desensitization treatment:  If your body reacts to aspirin and it causes sinusitis, your doctor might have you take larger doses of aspirin, under their medical supervision, to increase your tolerance.

  • Injected or oral corticosteroids: These are medicines used for relieving inflammation from severe sinusitis, particularly if nasal polyps is also present. Oral corticosteroids, when used long-term, can serious side effects, so they’re typically only used for treating severe symptoms.

2. Antibiotics

Antibiotics, in some cases, are necessary to treat sinusitis if you’re suffering with a bacterial infection. Your doctor may suggest an antibiotic, sometimes with other medicines, if they can’t rule out an underlying infection.

3. Immunotherapy

If allergies are contributing to your sinusitis, immunotherapy (allergy shots) that help decrease your body’s reaction to certain allergens may improve your condition.


If your chronic sinusitis is resistant to medication or treatment, your doctor may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery. The doctor will use a flexible, thin tube with an endoscope (light) attached to explore your sinus passages during this procedure. Depending on the source of your obstruction, your doctor may use a variety of instruments for removing tissue or shaving away a polyp that’s causing your nasal blockage. 

Balloon sinuplasty, which is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure can improve sinus drainage, particularly if medications aren’t effective enough. Balloon sinuplasty can offer relief from chronic sinuplasty and is FDA approved.

Contact Houston ENT & Allergy Services

If you’re wondering if your facial pain/pressure or other symptoms are related to a sinus infection or chronic sinusitis, give Houston ENT & Allergy Services a call. While we’ve become a large doctor group, we continue to treat every patient as though they’re the only one we have. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with one of Houston’s most trusted and best ENT & Allergy Doctors. 

Chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is inflammation of the linings of the sinuses that surround the nose that lasts a long time or keeps coming back.

It’s caused by anything that constantly or regularly irritates the lining of the nose.

  • About sinusitis
  • Symptoms
  • Causes
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Prevention
  • Special considerations
  • Further information
  • Sources
  • Related topics

About sinusitis

What are the sinuses?

The sinuses are air-filled spaces behind the bones of your face that open up into the nose cavity. They are lined with the same membrane as your nose. This is called the mucous membrane and it produces a slimy secretion called mucus to keep the nasal passageways moist and to trap dirt particles and bacteria.

You have four main sets of sinuses.

  • The maxillary sinuses are in each cheekbone.
  • The frontal sinuses are on either side of your forehead, above your eyes.
  • The smaller ethmoid sinuses are behind the bridge of your nose, between your eyes.
  • The sphenoid sinuses are between the upper part of your nose and behind your eyes.

The maxillary sinuses are the largest of the sinuses and the ones most commonly affected by sinusitis.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is inflammation of the mucous membranes of one or more of your sinuses.

Sinusitis lasting anything from a few days up to a month is called acute sinusitis (see Related topics). When it lasts three months or more it’s known as chronic sinusitis. The medical terms acute and chronic refer to how long the condition lasts for, rather than how severe it is.


If you have chronic sinusitis, your symptoms may include:

  • pain and pressure in your face, which is worse when you lean forwards
  • a blocked or runny nose with green or yellow mucus, which can drain down the back of your nose into your throat and cause a sore throat and cough
  • a headache when you wake in the morning
  • a reduced sense of smell
  • bad breath (halitosis)

Any pain you may experience will depend on which of your sinuses are affected.

  • Frontal sinusitis can cause pain just above your eyebrows, and your forehead may be tender to touch.
  • Maxillary sinusitis can cause your upper jaw, teeth and cheeks to ache and may be mistaken for toothache.
  • Ethmoid sinusitis can cause pain around your eyes and the sides of your nose.
  • Sphenoid sinusitis can cause pain around your eyes, at the top of your head or in your temples. You may also have earache and neck pain.


The mucus that is produced by the mucous membranes in your sinuses normally drains into your nose through small holes called ostia. The ostia can become narrow or even blocked if the sinuses get infected and inflamed so the mucus cannot drain properly.

Chronic sinusitis can be caused by anything that constantly or regularly irritates the lining of the nose and so results in inflammation of the mucous membranes. Examples of irritants include:

  • infection from viruses, bacteria or fungi
  • airborne allergens such as grass and tree pollen
  • smoke and air pollution
  • sprays containing chemicals (eg household detergents)
  • nasal decongestants, if overused
  • chronic drug misuse (snorting substances such as cocaine)

People who have allergy-based asthma often have chronic sinusitis as well. There are a number of medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis that can also cause sinusitis.

Any problem with the nose that blocks the drainage holes can cause chronic sinusitis such as a structural blockage resulting from a growth from the membrane (polyp).


Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and will examine you. He or she may also ask about your medical history.

If you have chronic sinusitis, your GP may refer you to a doctor who specialises in ear, nose and throat conditions for further tests. These may include a nasendoscopy, where your doctor will insert a small, flexible tube with a light and a camera lens at the end (endoscope) into your nostril to examine the inside of the sinuses. He or she will look through this and the image will usually be projected onto a video screen. A nasendoscopy is performed under local anaesthesia. This completely blocks feeling from the sinus area and you will stay awake during the operation.

You may need to have a computerised tomography (CT) scan. A CT scan uses X-rays to build up a three-dimensional picture of your sinuses.



Home remedies may provide some relief for your symptoms. It may be helpful to gently flush out your nose, using a syringe and a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of salt added. This can dislodge some of the mucus in your nose and sinuses, and bring some relief. An alternative is to use pre-filled squeeze bottles, which are available from a pharmacy.

Some people find that breathing in steam from a bowl of hot (but not boiling) water containing a few drops of menthol oil (eg Olbas oil or Karvol) may provide some relief from the symptoms. However, this is not scientifically proven. Another method is to sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running and inhale steam this way. Some people find that applying a warm compress on the areas of the face that are painful and sleeping with their head and shoulders propped up with pillows provides relief, but there is no scientific evidence that this works.


Nasal sprays containing mild steroids such as beclometasone (eg Beconase) are available over-the-counter and on prescription from your GP. This is usually one of the first treatments to try if you have chronic sinusitis. Your GP may also prescribe antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection. Antifungal medicines may be prescribed if chronic sinusitis is caused by a fungus.

If you have chronic sinusitis and an allergy then you may find that controlling your allergy helps to reduce the symptoms of your sinusitis. Antihistamine tablets such as loratadine (eg Clarityn) may help to do this.

If your sinusitis does not get better with these medicines, your GP may prescribe some steroid tablets.

Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine and ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.


If your chronic sinusitis doesn’t get better with home or medical (drug) treatments, you may need surgery.

In functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) the surgeon washes out the sinuses sinuses and widens the drainage holes using an endoscope. This can be done under a local or a general anaesthesia. A general anaesthetic means that you will be asleep throughout the operation.

Other types of surgery can remove nasal polyps or correct an obstruction in the nose that may be the cause of your sinusitis. Ask your doctor for more information about the different types of surgery.


There are a number of things you can do to help prevent sinusitis developing such as:

  • taking a short course (usually no longer than seven days) of decongestant medicine when you have a cold
  • keeping your allergy symptoms under control – ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice
  • having a flu vaccination
  • maintaining good general health by eating healthily and taking regular exercise
  • staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
  • not smoking
  • staying away from smoky environments

Special considerations

If you are flying or diving, the changes in pressure can make the air trapped in your sinuses expand or contract. Usually this just causes increased discomfort, but if you are diving to depth you may be at risk of serious damage. If you are considering going diving, you should always consult your doctor first if you have sinusitis.

Further information

The British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists (ENT-UK)


  • ENT UK. www.entuk.org, accessed 24 May 2007
  • Clinical Knowledge Summaries. www.cks.library.nhs.uk, February 2006
  • Ah-See K, Evans AS. Sinusitis and its management. BMJ 2007; 334:358-36
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health, US department of health and human services. www.niaid.nih.gov, accessed 23 May 2007
  • Collier J, Longmore M, Scally P. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialities. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003
  • Simon C, Everitt H, Kendrick, T. Oxford Handbook of General Practice. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 (pg 918)
  • Psychostimulant Working Group Report. Scottish Executive, Substance Misuse Division, 2002. www.scotland.gov.uk, accessed 08 June 2007

Related topics

Acute sinusitis

Sinusitis in children

The Link Between Sinus Headaches, Eye Pain & Computer Use

A headache is a common malady that can be brought on by a variety of different factors, such as stress, anxiety, noise, hunger and poor sleep. In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in the number of teenagers and young adults who suffer from headaches on an almost-daily basis. This is no surprise considering the large amount of time spent on computers and hand-held electronic devices.

Many of these patients also complain of facial pain and pain with eye movement, especially after long bouts of computer usage. A great number of these people were diagnosed with chronic sinus headache or migraine disorder and tried many of the recommended medications and treatments, yet saw little to no improvement in their condition. In the majority of these cases, it’s possible that Binocular Vision Dysfunction was present but wasn’t diagnosed because it was never even considered as a possible cause and/or because a proper binocular vision evaluation was never performed.

How Prolonged Computer Use Affects the Eyes

A large amount of effort is required and it is very taxing to the visual system to keep one’s eyes focused and the vision clear while staring at a computer screen (or that of some other digital device) for hours at a time. If the eyes are out of alignment as well, the eye muscles become even more overworked as they struggle to correct the misalignment. This can then lead to eye strain, facial pain and headaches.

How a NeuroVisual Examination Can Help

A detailed NeuroVisual Evaluation by the doctors at Vision Specialists of Michigan can find even the smallest of misalignments. Developed by our very own Dr. Debby Feinberg, this comprehensive ocular and binocular vision exam takes about an hour and a half. If a misalignment is present, no matter how slight, this evaluation will identify it. Once a binocular vision disorder is diagnosed, the condition can be treated with a pair of glasses containing specialized micro-prism lenses, which will correct the misalignment and allow the overworked eye muscles to relax. This customized prescription may require tweaking a time or two, but for most people, the glasses greatly reduce or even eliminate the symptoms within a short period of time.

Could It Be Your Eyes?

If you’re suffering from headaches, migraines, eye or facial pain, or dizziness and nausea, start by taking our online BVD questionnaire. To set an appointment, contact Vision Specialists of Michigan at (248) 258-9000. If we determine that Binocular Vision Dysfunction is present, we can quickly help you receive relief from your symptoms and get you back on your way to a life free of eye pain and visual problems.

Sinus Infection in Eye – SmartDocMD

Sinus infections are a common cause of illnesses in patients. SmartDocMD features information on sinus infection symptoms and causes frequently. Many patients that experience sinus infections describe symptoms that involve their eyes, or around their eyes. In fact, many questions they have revolve around sinus infection in eye, and watery eyes sinus infections. If you believe that you have any infection in your eye, you should consult a doctor. Read more about sinus infection in eye and related symptoms.

Can a Sinus Infection Spread to Your Eyes?

It is extremely unlikely that a sinus infection can spread and cause an infection in your eyes, however many people that experience a sinus infection will have symptoms from the sinus infection that affect their eyes.

Some Symptoms of a Sinus Infection that Involve the Eye are:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Red Eyes
  • Swollen Eyes
  • Watery Eyes
  • Eye Pain or Pain on your Face around your Eyes
  • Feeling as if you have pressure behind your eyes
  • Headache just behind your eyes

Acute Sinus Infections usually stem from the common cold virus infection. It can also be caused by bacteria that settles in the sinus cavities. If you experience chronic sinusitis, chronic sinus infections, then you could possibly have some other cause of your sinus infections. SmartDocMD can treat acute sinus infections and make recommendations for further treatment for chronic sinus infections.

If you think that you have a sinus infection, SmartDocMD wants to help! Start your care now, and skip the waiting room. Don’t waste time driving to an appointment, only to sit for a long period of time in a waiting area, or filling out health screening forms. SmartDocMD started as an idea between one patient and one doctor: offer convenient, quality health care for basic problems without the waiting room.

If you think you have a sinus infection please complete the FREE online patient interview (OPI) so we may better understand your problem. At the end, we will tell you if you need a prescription or evaluation by one of our SmartDocMDs.

Learn more about the strongest antibiotic for sinus infection, and other related health articles on our website. We provide helpful information on common sinus infection symptoms and causes.

How Does Sinus Affect Your Eyes – Health & Wellness

As we move from winter into spring, many who suffer from seasonal sinusitis or allergies maybe a little hesitant to embrace the warmer weather and change of season.

Severe headaches, fever, nasal congestion, pressure or facial tenderness, a blocked nose, a sore and itchy throat and an uncomfortable cough are common symptoms that indicate that your sinuses or allergies are acting up. But, did you know swelling eyelids, bulging and red eyes, impaired eye movement and double vision can also be signs that you are suffering from the seasonal change?

Seasonal flares…

A large percentage of our population suffers from allergies, and seasonal allergies are the most common of them. From severe dryness, itchy eyes to eye tearing and redness, these are a few of the symptoms of eye allergies that are associated with climate changes. While these symptoms and effects of allergies can create great discomfort, it also builds pressure behind the eye, which is unhealthy and needs to be treated with urgency. An infection of the sinuses can also cause pressure build up behind the eye, which in effect can create pain in one or both eyes.

It’s complicated…

Known as an orbital complication, which is quite common among sinus suffers, the infection travels to the tissue of the back of the eye. This infection then can cause pain in the eye, redness, swelling eyelids, bulging eyes, impaired eye movement and double vision. If you have these symptoms, it’s advisable that you visit your GP, as you might need an antibiotic to clear the infection and to gain some relief.

Let’s treat it…

Often a simple anti-allergy pill, like an antihistamine, or a sinus medication over the counter should provide some relief, but if the symptoms persist you will need to visit your doctor. While being on medication, you can also do cold compresses to the eye area, frequently use refrigerated artificial tears throughout the day, reduce contact-lens wear and rather opt to wear your specs to avoid straining your eyes. If you do visit your GP, ask about prescribed eyedrops, nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines to lessen the symptoms and provide comfort.

To learn more, visit your nearest Spec-Savers branch, or speak to a medical practitioner.

Eye Related Sinus Disorders | GW Hospital

Surgeons at The George Washington University Hospital use minimally invasive endoscopic procedures for eye-related diseases of the nose and sinuses. 

Graves’ Orbitopathy

Patients with Graves’ disease often experience proptosis or bulging of the eyes. In addition to cosmetic concerns, patients with Graves’ disease may also develop visual problems, such as corneal exposure and compression of the optic nerve. These concerns can be often improved with minimally invasive endoscopic orbital decompression surgery through the nose and sinuses.

Compressive Optic Neuropathy

Patients may suffer from loss of vision due to pressure on the optic nerve caused by trauma, sinonasal or orbital tumors, Graves’ disease or chronic sinusitis. Endoscopic optic nerve decompression through the nose and sinuses can relieve pressure on the optic nerve and in many cases restore vision to the patient’s eye.

The treatment may include removing a displaced bone fragment, excising a sinus or orbital tumor or opening up the sinuses to relieve pressure on the eye and optic nerve.

Orbital Abscess, Subperiosteal Abscess

Abscesses, or pockets of pus, around the eye caused by bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections in the sinuses or eyes can be opened and drained through the nose using an endoscope and minimally invasive surgical instrumentation. The natural nasal opening allows surgeons to address these vision-threatening diseases with simple, minimally invasive approaches, which  eliminate disfiguring scars.

Epiphora/Blepharitis (abnormal/excessive tearing of the eye and infections)

This condition is often caused by a blockage of the lacrimal (tear) ducts located next to the nose. Surgeons correct the blockage with a minimally invasive approach, known as endoscopic dacryocystorhinostomy. This procedure can improve the normal tearing of the eye by opening the lacrimal sac into the nose, while at the same time correcting nasal problems such as a deviated nasal septum and large turbinates (the bony projections in the nose that help humidify the air you breathe).

Midland Optometrist Explains How a Sinus Infection Can Impact Vision

Midland Optometrist Explains How Sinus Infection Can Impact Vision