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Why Do I Wake Up with Pressure in My Eyes?

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A woman rubbing her eye after waking up from her sleep.

Waking up to a fresh day can be a wonderful experience. But when you feel that pulsing, pressurized sensation in the eyes, it’s easy to begin your day with a bad start. Pressure in the eyes can often be a sign of an underlying eye condition or an indication that something else is wrong. So why do you wake up with pressure in your eyes?

5 common causes of elevated eye pressure in the morning include:

  1. Allergies
  2. Sinusitis
  3. Headaches
  4. Grave’s disease
  5. Eye injuries

If you constantly notice pressure in your eyes, visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam so they can help you find the cause. 

1. Allergies

Sneezing, coughing, runny noses—these are all the trademark signs that you’re having an allergic reaction. But what exactly does that mean?

Think of an allergic reaction as if your body is kicking into overdrive, and almost every system is trying to flush out an allergen—even if it isn’t an inherently harmful substance. Whether it’s dust, pollen, pet dander, or any other irritating substance, an allergic reaction can be a real bummer. 

Eyes can be easily affected by allergies as well. The human eye is remarkably sensitive and can be impacted by a reaction that’s happening somewhere else in the body. When you’re exposed to an allergen, you can experience:

  • Redness
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Swelling
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity

Sometimes, these reactions can swell the tiny blood vessels around the eyes. This can lead to feelings of pressure in and around the eyes, causing those irritating sensations. These allergies can hit their peak while you sleep when your body’s natural defense mechanisms take a step back.

Fortunately, allergies can easily be treated with over-the-counter allergy medication and the help of your optometrist.

2. Sinusitis

Your sinuses, the hollow air-filled tubes behind your cheekbones, forehead, and bridge of the nose, are crucial for your respiratory system. They help you filter and warm the air while reducing the overall weight of your skill.

They’re also vulnerable to infections and inflammation. When this happens, they swell, putting pressure on the surrounding areas. This condition, called sinusitis, can lead to:

  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

If you notice these symptoms, it helps to visit a healthcare professional or optometrist. They can rule out potential underlying issues and help devise a treatment plan to avoid further irritation and inflammation.

A man, who is experiencing a headache, massaging his temples to alleviate the pain.

3. Headaches

If you’ve ever woken up with a headache that feels like it’s pressing on your eyes, you might be experiencing tension headaches, cluster headaches, or migraines. These can be frustrating, leading to feelings of:

  • Discomfort
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Visual disturbances

These headaches can often feel as though there’s a band wrapped around your head, slowly being tightened and causing overall irritation. The feelings of pressure inside the eye often develop closely alongside these headaches due to the close proximity of nerves and blood vessels in the eyes and brain.

While the occasional headache might be harmless—though irritating—recurring constant headaches shouldn’t be taken lightly. Headaches, especially migraines, are often indications of something else occurring in the brain. If headaches are a regular problem in your life, reach out to a healthcare professional near you to find the cause.

4. Grave’s Disease

Your thyroid is responsible for producing and distributing hormones throughout the body. It’s a crucial part of your overall health, but that doesn’t mean it always works perfectly.

Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disorder, is one of the ways your thyroid can malfunction. It causes an overproduction of hormones, which speeds up your metabolism and leads to various health issues, such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased sweating
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nervousness or irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping

With Grave’s disease, the overproduction of hormones can make the eye muscles swell, causing them to protrude. If you experience eye pressure alongside any of the symptoms above, reach out to a healthcare professional immediately. If left untreated, Grave’s disease can lead to permanent vision loss, making early intervention essential.

5. Traumatic Injury

Accidents and injuries should never be taken lightly. Even if you don’t notice immediate bodily harm, they can still cause significant problems down the line—especially when located around the eyes.

A traumatic injury around the eye can lead to all kinds of problems. Swelling, redness, pain, discomfort, vision problems, and more. Common injuries like black eyes or minor fractures are a popular cause of pressure in the eye, but any kind of damage in the surrounding area can cause those feelings of high internal pressure.

If you ever experience an injury around the eye, don’t disregard it. Instead, visit your optometrist to discuss emergency eye care. Your eyes are precious, so don’t put them at risk; seek professional care as soon as you can.

What to Do If You Have Eye Pressure

If you wake up with eye pressure, don’t ignore the problem. Instead, contact our team at Total Vision Pacific EyeCare.

We can examine your eyes and help you find the root cause of your problems, then recommend the right type of treatment to help you find relief. Your vision is a crucial part of your everyday life, so book an appointment with us today!

Written by Total Vision

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