What Could be the Cause of Bad Headaches After Cataract Surgery?

September 2, 2010

I am a 53 year female and just over a week ago I under went cataract surgery on my right eye.  I have developed extremely bad headaches behind my eye and reaching out to my temple.  It doesn’t seem to go away with normal pain medicine.  Could this be caused from some problem with the new lens?  Will this in course go away as the eye heals and gets used to the focus and light?  These don’t seem to be normal headaches – more like migraines although I have never had those before.




Jump down to form below to submit your own comments

43 Responses to “What Could be the Cause of Bad Headaches After Cataract Surgery?”

  • Janice Ann Monaco-Keller

    I had a cataract in my left eye and had a lense put in in February, 2008. Since then, I have had progressive eye pain, shooting pain, Migraine headaches. I have had and MRI, CT Scan. I have seen a Neurologist. I have seen sinus Dr. because the pain is not only in my left eye, it is in my left sinus too now. The pain is ruining my wonderful life. SEVEN YEARS of this progressively getting worse. I am finally going to see if can get the lense removed. What else can I do?


    Janice Ann Monaco-Keller

  • Barbara ott

    I am experiencing the same thing – migraine type headache behind the right eye and an intolerance to light. Living in the uk and with winter approaching, I am beginning to look very silly walking around in sunglasses when its raining and dark! My eye surgeon says the cataract operation is a success and there is nothing wrong – but I’m going to have to leave my job if this continues and I now don’t know where to turn for help.

  • T. Cagle

    My son, who was 8 1/2 on his first eye surgery. He had to have both lenses replaced over a two month period. Then laser surgery. Now about year and half later a membrane covered his left lens. He just had surgery on it again. He had been having a really bad headache across his brow. Dr. Says she looks good. Pediatric Dr is giving antibiotic because of possible beginning infection. Has anyone ever has their child have eye surgery and have this problem? Be had rare type of cataract that appeared on back side of lens. Looked like from steroid in medicine. He had only took madam spray for allergy, which if I would have known caused cataracts, would have never given them to him. Plus steroid in shot when he got sick.

  • rajkumari

    I had my right eye cateract surgery before 21 days and left eye before six weeks .
    I insisted for putting multifocal lenses in both eyes as i didnot want to wear glasses for rest of my life.
    But i am not comfortable with both of my eyes.
    I get headache whole day on the sides .
    Now i think caterac is operation is not smooth going for all as i am suffering a lot and i dont think it is very safe

  • Had mono laser in 2001. Had cataract surgery August 2014. My laser surgery was left eye for close up, right eye is distance. I was doing fine until cataract surgery. Now have left headaches on left side on top of head an left side of face. Went for a second opinion to Doctor that did surgery. She saw no problems. Something is wrong. Doctor does not example eyes. Has technician to check eyes. Headache are getting worse. Scary. Do I need a second opinion?. Using Refresh eye drops.. Does no good.

  • Gloria witte

    Had right cataract surgery 9-23. Have had a headache since I got off the OR table. Never had headaches before. Went back second day and was told I had slight inflammation but no worry. Have hard time dealing with this since I never had headaches before and I am 68. Little Leary of getting other one done but I must say the world is so much brighter now.

  • Anita

    I too had laser surgery recently, first on my left eye, just a slight headache, but didn’t think much about it until I had the same done on my right eye and now I am experiencing a dull headache up the back of my head from my neck to the top of my head – especially when I first awaken. Never had that before, could it be from the second laser and/or cataract surgery I had? I have been massaging the muscles just below my shoulders where my yoga teacher recommends and also pressing my hand behind my neck and bringing it around to the front, first one side then the other – that does help some. I also find after I eat something that it subsides. I will be seeing my surgeon in a couple days and be sure to mention it to him! Hope this helps the many others out there who are having this problem as well. I don’t like to rely on OTC medications, but, I have been taking a Sudafed PE every four hours which does help the pain to go away until it is time for another one!

  • Delores

    I have terrible sharp pains shooting through right side near front of my head. Have gone back to doctor and had the pressure and inflammation check and was told everything is fine. Before any surgery I had astigmatism and could not wear cataracts. My eyes would get really dry and I had terrible headaches. It feels the same now and I am not sure it is a good idea to have lens put in my eyes if I am a person that can’t wear contacts. I have had to have tear inserts put in my eyes, but they are not increasing tears as expected and so now I have to remember to frequently put eye drops in my eyes. Its a nuisance. I have no trust in eye doctors and feel I was just one more Gennie Pig to practice on. My previous doctor told me I was borderline for cataract surgery according to my previous eye doctor in NC, but when I came to VA and went for checkup, doctor insisted I needed the surgery. Really regret listening. I was wearing glasses, and sight was corrected and I was fine. Now, I am challenged daily with frequently using eye drops, and as a business professional time is everything. Its a real hassle. For the person who commented above about pretty much same problem; I assure you, you do not need a Psyc; the pain I and others are having is very real and it is frightening not knowing if a blood clot is forming, or just how much is the brain being affected. I am thinking I better see a neurologist just to be sure. I challenge all, take charge of your health and lets stop taking one opinion as the final opinion before we go into any type of surgery. If it take 2,3, or 4 opinions before a decision is made; its okay. Better safe then in misery the rest of your life.

  • ari

    i would advise general anesthesia if you get pain despite all the injections and intravenous sedation. its very rare–ive never had to do it in 20 years, but there’s always an exception. pain will not reduce the sucess of the surgery, as long as the suregry was not complicated.

    plug migration and blockage is rare but it can happen to anyone. thats why i never insert permanent plugs anymore-i use those that dissolve in 4-6 months and simply re-insert every 4-6 months. so i never worry about this complication

  • Jeannin

    I’ve lost all faith in eye doctors. Tear ducts inserted into tear ducts by quack eye doctor 2 years ago, and result is chronic tearing in right eye despite very painful surgery afterward by plastic eye surgeon to “open up the duct”. Had cataract surgery 8 days ago in left eye. Pain inside eye was a 10 that afternoon. Fortunately, I have Percoset for a spinal condition. Have been taking it for eye pain now since surgery – brow headache, as described by previous contributor, extreme red eye, bruising inside eye, sensitivity to light, intermittent flashing lights, and it hurts when I close my eye. Surgery itself was painful despite 3 doses of local anesthesia and two numbing needles which hurt intensely. I am calling my eye doctor tomorrow for another follow-up exam. I am very, very worried. I refuse to undergo any more eye surgery unless they put me to sleep as I can not tolerate the pain. Can I lose my eye from complications following cataract surgery? This is now 2 painful eye surgeries. P.S. Had unrelated eye surgery for “opposite of cross-eyed” at age four. I was fast asleep – NO COMPLICATIONS. Don’t believe it when told you have to be awake for eye surgery. Can the doctor on this site advise me? I’m scared to death about another visit to the eye doctor. They almost always hurt me.

  • B.Daring Pa.

    Dr that seems to think things are “IMPOSSIBLE” after cataract surgery,
    I have had headaches almost 24/7 since August of 2011 when I had cataract surgery of my right eye. Have had extensive exams of the eye since then including neuro- optha. and neuro surg at Wills Eye hospital with multiple tests including OCT, CAT and MRI along with total blood assessment. NOTHING FOUND TO BE WRONG!!
    Now the part you want to pay attention to:::::
    Same symptoms as the above patients and only heavy duty pain meds seem to decrease the pain (does not eliminate the pain). Also sensitive to light.
    All exams included dilation and numbing drops to check the eye and pressure. In my case, I have discovered a pattern that after each examination I have had 2-4 days of no headaches. Now for the interesting part, the exam I had this past Thursday 7/26/12, I only had the numbing drops put in so the pressure could be taken at Wills Eye Neuro- Opthamology. I woke up 7/27/12 headache free. Today, Sunday, 7/29/12 still headache free. Having had this done at least 8 times in the last 11 months I did not realize it was the numbing drops not the dilation drops that were giving me the relief I had needed until this last visit. I have also informed the neuro-opthamol. of this occurence. I had mentioned the relief I received after each exam to the Dr months ago. I’m hoping someone will have the fortitude to consider this and evaluate the outcome for me and others who apparently have similar problems.

  • ari

    some patients become very light sensitive after cataract surgery. be sure to wear wrap-around sunglasses to eliminate stray light entering from the sides. if all fails, consider taking pilocarpine to make your pupil smaller

  • d. liebla

    i also had cataract surgury. sept2011 and oct 2011. i have terrible headaches and i am very sensitive to the light since the 2nd eye was done. i’ve been been reassured my eye is healthy and pressure is in normal range, live in fl. and have to wear 2 pair of sun glasses to be outside. sent to neurologist and was told….. maybe i should see a psychiatrist. what can i do?

  • Jeanne Adam

    Now, 7months since that R. Cataract reemoval and still with brow pain…I have learned since last post that Naproxen 220mg. makes the pain subside until the Naproxen wears off. Not seeing eye doc until early Jan….sure hate to think this is forever, never had it til the surgery!!!! many thanks. Jeanne

  • G Canno

    I just had cataract surgery on right eye. Instead of the 2-3 level pain I was supposed to have I had 5-7 unrelenting pain with nothing but Tylenol offered. And an attitude I must be lying. It’s ok now after a couple days but I won’t be doing the other eye.

  • ari

    cant explain chronic headache to uncomplicated cataract surgery that lasts 7 months…sorry. maybe you should see a neurologist.

  • Jeanne Adam

    I have had a “brow” headache since right after my R. Eye cataract surgery..my doc thinks if the eye is healed from the surgery, nothing else is wrong…the headache seems to be with me 24/7 now and it’s been 7 months since that surgery, the L.. Eye is fine, no pain….I also had a partial cornea transplant(DSAEK) after that on R. Eye, but the pain began after the cataract surgery! Help!

  • Dr. Ari Weitzner

    cant be from the surgery- impossible. see a neurologist.- a 24/7 headache is never ophthalmological in origin.

  • gb

    I had cataract surgery on 12-15. It is now 3-18 and I still have headache on that side of my head. 24-7. What could be the cause and what can I do about it?

  • ari weitzner

    perhaps the pressure is high in the eye? That can cause headache. inflammation, too. I have never seen long-term headache from cataract surgery