Eye pain can occur in many forms. The sensation may be like a stab in the cornea or it may be a throbbing or a blinding ache. Pain in eyes is usually linked to problems that could have potentially damaging effects, which is why you should always seek medical attention when you experience it.
Cause of Pain in Eyes
- People who have sinus problems sometimes complain of eye pain. This is because the nasal passages and the eyes are very closely located so inflammation in one can have repercussions on the other.
- For the same reason, migraine can also sometimes cause eye pain.
- An obvious cause of pain in eyes is an eye infection such as conjunctivitis or a stye.
- If you are in the habit of wearing your contact lenses for long periods of time, your eyes may rebel to the lack of oxygen by sending pain signals to the brain. This is your cue to reduce the amount of time you smother your eyes in lenses or maybe even quit wearing lenses altogether until the pain goes away.
- Pain in eyes may also be caused by wearing old lenses that are past the expiry date.
- Improper cleaning of your contact lenses can also cause eye pain. For example, if you do not wash your lenses before putting them away for the night or if you store them in the same lens solution for two to three nights in a row then you risk getting a lot of gunk in your eyes which can lead to infection and thus eye pain.
- If you were injured in the eye recently, then eye pain is very likely if there is a scratch on your cornea which has not yet healed.
- Then there are infections of the cornea which can also lead to pain in eyes. Keratitis and herpes zoster are two corneal infections usually associated with eye pain.
- Blepharitis, characterized by inflammation and sometimes infection of soft eye tissue, can also be the cause of pain in eyes.
- Inflammation in the eyes (iritis) will also, obviously, lead to pain. This is not a very common condition though and usually only affects people who have autoimmune disorders or existing infections.
- If the nerves connecting the eyes to the brain are inflamed, that too can cause eye pain. The condition is called optic neuritis and like iritis is only seen in patients with autoimmune disorders.
- Exposure to chemicals can lead to a lot of pain in eyes.
- Glaucoma is a health condition wherein pressure builds up in the eyes and eventually leads to vision loss. Sometimes, the pressure can get so bad that it causes pain in eyes.
Symptoms of Pain in Eyes
Pain in eyes is described differently by different people. All of the following encompass eye pain of some sort and should be checked out.
- You feel like something is stuck in your eye, like a splinter.
- There is a pulsing or a throbbing, like a heartbeat, in your eyes. It’s so loud and insistent that it gives you a headache.
- Sometimes, eye pain can feel like there is a layer of fine particles piercing the surface of the eye.
- Or it can feel like there is just one needle piercing your eyes from the inside.
- Blinking becomes painful. Every micro-second motion of blinking is very obvious to you because of the stark, naked pain that accompanies it.
- Some people describe pain in eyes as a shooting sensation right in the middle of their eye balls.
- Eye pain can also be characterized by a feeling of mild to intense pressure in the eyes.
- A related symptom of pain in eyes is a change in vision. Things may appear blurry. You may also see halos around light sources.
- When the eyes are in extreme pain, it may be difficult to rotate them in the socket.
- The eyes may also become sensitive to light as the pain grows.
- If the pain in eyes lasts for too long, nausea may develop. Outright vomiting is also a common reaction to pain.
- There may be a discharge from the eyes. It could be clear or colored. If you have eye discharge in your sleep, you may wake up in the morning with it crusted over your eyelids, thus preventing them from opening.
- Tears are the eyes natural way of reacting to any kind of discomfort to the eye. So the eyes may get watery too as a result of the eye pain.
- There may be pus or even blood on the eyes.
Treatment for Pain in Eyes
As we have seen, the causes for pain in eyes are quite varied. So there is no one-size-fits all treatment for the problem. Without knowing why the pain in eyes is occurring, more harm than good can come of trying out different treatments. Since your eyes are extremely delicate, the best thing to do if you experience pain in eyes that does not go away soon is to consult your doctor or, better yet, an ophthalmologist. Following are some of the suggested treatments for the most common causes of eye pain. The information below should in no way substitute advice from your doctor.
- With glaucoma, if the pressure is high enough to lead to pain, then it means that things have gotten serious. You’ll need medicated eye drops immediately, and if that does not work you may have to resort to surgery.
- In the case of infections like conjunctivitis, a combination of medications will be used for treatment. Usually eye drops with antibacterial properties will be administered. If the conjunctivitis was caused by allergies, then an anti-allergen may be prescribed in either tablet or eye drop form.
- Mild damage to the cornea like a scratch will usually heal on its own and no treatment is needed as such. However, anti-bacterial medication may be prescribed to prevent an infection. Your eye doctor may also want to see you often during the healing process just to ensure that everything is going as it should.
- If you have a stye, simply apply a warm compress to the affected eye until the pain diminishes. Do this as often as needed.