Eye pain can be a symptom of a number of different conditions, depending on the type and severity of pain.
Dry, sore eyes
Sore eyes combined with a dry, gritty feeling could be caused by dry eye syndrome. Constantly sore and dry eyes may even water more, as the eyes respond to the dryness and irritation with excess tears. See our information on dry eyes and watery eyes for more details.
Itchy, red, sore eyes
Allergies and eye infections can both cause your eyes to feel sore, red and itchy. Often itchy or irritated eyes can become sore after excessive rubbing. The eye infection conjunctivitis is a particularly common cause of sore, red eyes. Contact lens irritation can also cause sore, red eyes.
Sharp eye pain
An injury to the eye or trauma can often cause sharp or stabbing eye pain. In extremely rare cases, sharp or stabbing eye pain can be a symptom of a much more serious condition, such as a brain tumour or aneurysm. However, a much more common cause is simply a headache or migraine that feels as if it is directly behind the eye.
If you experience sudden eye pain combined with blurred vision, halos around lights, nausea or vomiting, it could be a symptom of acute closed-angle glaucoma. This is a medical emergency, and you should seek medical attention straight away.
Dull eye pain
If you experience a dull, aching eye pain, or pain that feels deep within your eye, it may simply be caused by eye strain or overuse of your eyes. However, if the pain does not subside, it could be a symptom of a more serious condition or eye disease such as glaucoma.
Something In Your Eye?
From an eyelash to a dirt particle, we’ve all had something stuck in our eye at one point or another. This can be annoying and sometimes even painful. If you’re tempted to rub your eyelid, STOP! Rubbing the eyelid can cause the particle to scratch the cornea, the clear front surface of your eye. Instead of rubbing, remove the cause safely and effectively by remaining calm and using these tips.
First, blink your eyes quickly to dislodge and free the object. If that does not work, try flushing the eye out using eye drops, or wash your hands, and then flush the eye with water at the sink.
Is the object still stuck? Find the nearest mirror to take a look to see where the particle is. If the item is stuck under the top lid, gently pull the upper lid down and out over the lower lid, and let the lid slide back into place; this might free the object. If the object is in the corner or bottom lid, hold the lower lid open and use a qtip or the corner of a clean tissue to remove it.
Getting something in your eye is very common, but it’s important to remember these tips and to stay calm and be gentle to avoid injuring your eye.
Treatment for sore eyes
It is important to see your eye specialist or doctor if you encounter eye pain; especially if the pain does not subside. While it is unlikely your sore eyes will be a symptom of a very serious condition, it is still a possibility and you should get an expert diagnosis.
Treatments for sore eyes depends on the cause. It can be as simple as using eye drops or compresses for dry eyes and allergies, to medication and surgery for more serious eye conditions.
Whatever the cause of your eye pain, our specialists at Exeter Eye can help you with expert diagnosis and the most advanced treatments.