Aching, sore eyes are a common problem these days. With allergies on the rise, eye strain from long hours staring at computer screens, contact lens irritation and infections such as conjunctivitis commonly affecting everyone, don’t be surprised to find yourself suffering from eye pain at some point. Usually affected eyes heal on their own but to avoid something more serious, it is better to see an eye specialist who can prescribe timely medications for a quick cure. It also helps to be more informed about the reasons behind sore eyes so you know how to prevent it with the right care.

What is Eye Pain?

In medical terms, eye pain is known as ophthalmalgia. There are commonly two kinds of eye pain:

  1. Ocular pain: Ocular pain affects the surface of the eye. It is caused by irritation from a foreign object in the eye, infection or trauma. Symptoms are usually scratching, burning, or itching. The best way to treat this is with eye drops or adequate rest.
  2. Orbital pain: Orbital pain affects the inner eye. The affected eye may feel gritty, or throb with pain. If the pain occurs deeper within the eye, you may require more in-depth treatment.

In both conditions, the issue may be resolved in a few days, with or without medication but eye pain that is accompanied by vision loss may call for more intensive medical attention. Call your ophthalmologist at once if you feel your vision is affected or if your pain does not decrease on its own. Note the level of discomfort or pain in or around your eyes. Every area signifies something specific that you need to pay attention to and tell your doctor about.

  1. Cornea: The front of your eye that focuses on light.
  2. Sclera: The white surrounding your eyeball in your eye.
  3. Conjunctiva: The fine film inside your eyelid that covers your sclera.
  4. Iris: The coloured circle in the centre of your eyes that contain the pupil.
  5. Orbit: The eye socket in your skull that nests the eye and its muscles.
  6. Extraocular muscles: The muscles that make your eyes rotate.
  7. Eyelids: The outer covering that protects your eyes and keeps them moist.
  8. Optic Nerves: The nerves that carry information from the eyes to the brain.

 

 

Common Conditions that Cause Eye Pain

  • Blepharitis: An inflammation or infection of the eyelid that may not hurt much.
  • Conjunctivitis: Also called “pink eye” this condition affects the conjunctiva and can be caused by allergies, viral or bacterial infections, swollen blood vessels in the conjunctiva that can make the white part of your eye appear bloodshot or pink. Conjunctivitis can make your eyes feel itchy and sticky. It can burn too but typically does not ache much.
  • Corneal Abrasion: Caused by scratches, this condition is often nothing to worry about but can feel itchy. Antibiotic drops usually take care of the irritation and you bounce back in a couple of days.
  • Corneal Infections: Also called keratitis, this is caused by an infected or inflamed cornea that comes from bacterial or viral infection. Leaving your contacts in your eyes overnight or not cleaning them properly can lead to this condition. Make sure you clean your lens daily and disinfect your hands before inserting them in your eyes.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is caused by fluid building up in the eye that puts pressure in the optic nerves. If left untreated, you could lose your sight. It is hard to spot early symptoms but acute eye pain, nausea, vomiting and headache can assist the condition, worsening vision. Treatment is required at the earliest to prevent blindness.
  • Iritis: Infections and inflammation inside the eye.
  • Sinusitis: Infection in the sinus area that causes pain in the eyes from pressure build-up behind the eyes.

Timely Eye Tests and Treatments

If you suffer from eye pain, vision problems, headaches or eye irritation, see your eye doctor at once. Eye doctors will diagnose the problem with a variety of tools and administer medications such as eye drops that care of the problem. At times, you may be prescribed eye glasses to correct your vision to help decrease eye pain.

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View one of our most recent blogs that cover some of the major signs you need see an eye doctor