Because your sinuses are close to your eyes, a sinus infection can cause some eye-related symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at what symptoms you may experience and when to see a doctor.
Sinus Infection Basics
A sinus infection, or sinusitis, occurs when fluid builds up in the sinus cavities, and they become infected. Sinusitis is most commonly caused by a viral infection like the common cold. However, bacterial or fungal sinus infections can also occur. Factors like allergies, nasal polyps and a deviated septum can also increase your risk of sinus infections.
Common symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pressure around the nose, eyes and forehead. This pain may worsen when you move your head or bend forward
- Ear pain or pressure
- Tooth pain
- General fatigue
- Loss of smell and taste
Why Can Sinusitis Affect Your Eyes?
Your maxillary sinuses are very close to your eyes. When they become infected, you may experience eye-related symptoms such as:
- Pain or pressure between, behind or above your eyes
- Watery eyes
- Puffy eyes
- Eyelid swelling
These changes may result in brief or mild blurry vision or eye sensitivity. However, it should not result in any significant or lasting changes.
Some people suffer from chronic sinus infections, which are those that last 12 weeks or longer. In rare cases, chronic sinusitis can damage the optic nerve and lead to blurred vision and, in some cases, vision loss. A 2018 study found that structural and functional changes to the optic nerve are more likely to occur in patients with severe chronic sinusitis.
If you experience vision changes, regardless of whether or not they are related to your sinus issues, make an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause and lower your risk of permanent eye problems.
Treating Sinus Infections
The majority of sinus infections can be treated at home with things like over-the-counter medications, nasal saline rinses and plenty of rest and fluids.
However, it’s important to see a specialist if you are dealing with chronic symptoms. Long-term sinus issues can affect your work and social life, make it harder to sleep and even affect your ability to enjoy simple things like breakfast at Two Birds Café.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment to have your sinus symptoms evaluated, call Pinnacle ENT today.