Sinus Infection Eye Pain
When you get a sinus infection, eye symptoms can occur.
These include eye pain from sinus congestion near the eye and pressure on the eye from the maxillary
Sinus Infection and Eye Symptoms
When it comes to a sinus infection , eye symptoms are uncommon but
can occur. This can include the spread of a bacterium from the sinuses to the eye, leading to conjunctivitis or
It can also include a blockage of the nasolacrimal duct due to congestion in the nose and
sinuses that causes tearing of the eye or eyes.
There can be pain in the eye due to referred pain from the ethmoid sinuses located above and
between the eyes. Maxillary sinus pain is located beneath the eyes on the cheeks and can also lead to referred eye
Sinus infection, Eye Basics
Everyone has sinuses. You are born with sinuses that are designed to make your head less heavy.
You have mastoid sinuses behind your ears and slightly below them. You have ethmoid sinuses above and between your
eyes. You also have larger maxillary sinuses on either side of the nose and below the eyes.
There is no connection between your eyes and your sinuses because bone prevents them from being
connected. The most major connection between the eyes and the nasal passages is the nasolacrimal duct. This is a
duct on either side of the nose that drains tears from the eyes to the nose. This is why you have an increase in
nasal drainage when you are crying.
Sinuses produce nasal congestion in order to keep the sinuses from drying out. The congestion
picks up dust, pollen and other irritants, including bacteria, and flushes it away from the body when you blow your
nose. Most people do not know that this flow of congestion is happening because it is such a small amount and
because it just drains down the back of your throat in small amounts.
When the nasal congestion is greater, it can become a nasal infection or sinus infection. Eye
puffiness can occur due to local inflammation around the eyes and infection can pass up from the nasolacrimal duct
to the eye itself. This leads to eye infection or conjunctivitis.
A sinus infection is called sinusitis. Sinusitis can be an inflammation of the sinuses or an
actual infection of the sinuses. Viral sinusitis happens when a cold virus infects the sinuses and nose. There is
an increase in the quantity of the mucus, which is usually clear or white and is often clear.
This type of sinusitis is self limiting and usually resolves within a week or so. If the sinus
infection comes from a bacterial infection, the sinus symptoms are a bit different. There is
usually more pain in the sinuses and there is thick green or yellow nasal discharge. There may be a fever as
When the sinus infection affects the eye, it is usually because nasal congestion infected with
bacteria has spread up to the eye from the nasolacrimal duct that connects the eye and nose. The eye can become
clouded with yellow or greenish discharge and the conjunctiva becomes red.
Usually only one eye is infected and the other is fine but a bilateral conjunctivitis can occur
as well. In such cases of a sinus infection, eye infection combined, there may need to be both antibiotic pills and
an antibiotic ointment or liquid for the eyes. Oral antibiotics don’t tend to get to the surface of the eye very
In some cases, there can be swelling of the nasal and sinus tissue so that the openings to the
nasolacrimal duct and the sinus openings become closed or narrowed. In such cases, there can be poor drainage
from the nasolacrimal duct so that the tears come out of the eye directly because they cannot pass through the
The sinuses don’t drain and there can be sinus pain and pressure because the sinuses are filling
up with sinus mucus. This puts you at higher risk for bacterial infections of the eyes and of the sinuses. When a
“cold” virus lasts longer than a week, there is a higher risk for bacterial infection and for blockage of the
nasolacrimal duct and sinus ducts.
If the sinus infection affects the eyes, it is not that dangerous of an infection. There is pain
and irritation of the eyes, along with discharge but it does not affect the vision or the inner aspects of the eye
itself. Antibiotics or even warm packs can help take care of this type of secondary infection.
Sinusitis itself is not very dangerous unless it spreads into the brain or lungs. If it spreads
to the brain, you can get encephalitis, which can adversely affect the brain. If it drains into the lungs, you can
get a pneumonia, which can be serious. In sinus infection, eye and other organ involvement is rare and the
condition is easily treated. '