Pain in the eye and around the eye can have lots of causes. In some cases, such as an eye injury, the cause of the pain is apparent. However frequently it is hard to understand why your eye harms.
To make complex matters, the severity of eye pain does not suggest how major the underlying reason for the discomfort is. To puts it simply, a relatively small problem, such as a shallow abrasion of the cornea, can be very painful. However a number of extremely major eye conditions– including cataracts, macular degeneration, the most common type of glaucoma, a removed retina, and diabetic eye disease– cause no eye pain whatsoever.
The cornea of the eye is among the most delicate tissues of the body. In truth, the density of sensory nerves in the cornea can be up to 500 times that of the skin.
The high level of sensitivity of the cornea is useful, due to the fact that it’s the first line of defense against external injury to the eye. So if something irritates the front surface of your eye, you will observe it rapidly.
A painful eye can produce numerous sensations and accompanying symptoms, which can help your optometrist determine the cause of your pain. These consist of a sharp, stabbing feeling, a burning feeling, throbbing, a dull pains, and a feeling something is “in” your eye (this is called a “foreign body experience”).
Eye pain can take place on the surface of your eye or within your eye’s much deeper structures. Severe eye pain — especially accompanied by any degree of vision loss — may be a signal that you have a serious medical condition. Look for instant medical attention.
Here prevail causes of eye pain, based on the location of the discomfort:
Pain In Your Eye
Frequently, eye pain that seems like something remains in the eye actually is caused by inflammation or swelling of the front surface of the eye, especially the cornea.
Common causes of pain emanating from the front surface of the eye or inside the eye consist of:
Corneal foreign body. Not surprisingly, what frequently causes a foreign body feeling in the eye is an actual foreign body. Typical foreign bodies that can adhere to and become ingrained in the surface of the cornea include metal shavings, inorganic grit (sand, tiny stone particles), sawdust and other natural material.
The pain from a corneal foreign body can vary from mild to severe, and normally it is most irritating when you’re blinking (considering that the eyelid typically is rubbing throughout it during blinks). Blurred vision and level of sensitivity to light also prevail.
A corneal foreign body needs urgent attention from an eye doctor, because material embedded in the cornea can quickly cause a severe eye infection.
The majority of corneal foreign bodies can be eliminated easily in the doctor’s office with the proper tools. Antibacterial eye drops might be recommended to avoid infection while the cornea heals.
Corneal abrasion. This is a scratched cornea. Although the majority of corneal abrasions are not serious, they can be very uncomfortable and cause light level of sensitivity and watery eyes.
Numerous superficial corneal scratches recover by themselves within 24 hours. However deeper abrasions can lead to a severe eye infection as well as a corneal ulcer if left without treatment.
Because it’s often difficult to inform if eye pain is due to a small scratch, a deep abrasion or a corneal foreign body, it’s a smart idea to see an optometrist for any sharp discomfort of the eye that does not fix very quickly, to identify the underlying cause.
Dry eyes. Another very common cause of eye discomfort is dry eyes. Usually dry eye discomfort begins more gradually and slowly than eye pain from a corneal foreign body or abrasion. Often dry eyes can cause a corneal abrasion, since there are inadequate tears on the surface area of the eye to keep the cornea moist and slippery.
If utilizing lubricating eye drops significantly enhances comfort, the reason for the pain is most likely dry eyes. In many cases, dry eye does not require urgent attention; however your optometrist can carry out tests to identify the intensity of the dryness and suggest the most efficient treatment.
Other (less common) causes of anterior eye pain, or pain “in” the eye, consist of:
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye).
- Eye infections (consisting of fungal eye infections and Acanthamoeba keratitis).
- Iritis (anterior uveitis), which is inflammation of the iris.
- Contact lens discomfort.
A really major cause of pain in the eye is a condition called endophthalmitis (en-dahf-thal-MITE-is), which is swelling of the interior of the eye that most often is caused by a bacterial infection. It also can happen as a rare issue of cataract surgery.
Endophthalmitis, in addition to causing eye pain, causes inflammation, swollen eyelids and decreased vision. If you have these symptoms after cataract surgery or other eye surgery, see your optometrist immediately.
Pain Behind Your Eye
Common causes of pain behind the eyes are migraine headaches and sinus infections.
When it comes to a migraine headache, the pain often is behind just one eye and often is accompanied by pain elsewhere on the same side of the head.
Pain behind the eye from a sinus infection usually is less severe than pain from a migraine, and both eyes might be impacted.
Though pain behind the eyes from these causes generally is not an emergency, if you have chronic or recurring pain of this type, see your optometrist or general doctor for treatment and to see what can be done to prevent future episodes.
Pain Around The Eyes
Most likely the most typical pain around the eyes is swelling within the eyelid, which is the common stye (also called a hordeolum). The primary symptom of a stye is a localized, extremely tender area on one eyelid.
A stye does not require urgent attention from an eye doctor and generally can be effectively treated at home by using warm compresses to the eyelid numerous times a day for a couple of days. Read more about treating a stye.
Blepharitis is another typical (and typically not urgent) issue that can cause swollen eyelids and pain around the eyes.
Another typical cause of pain around the eyes and eye muscle pain is overuse of the eyes when working at the computer. This is not an immediate issue, and there are easy steps you can take to alleviate computer eye strain.
A much less typical and a lot more serious cause of pain around the eyes is a condition called optic neuropathy, which can cause irreversible vision loss. Accompanying symptoms are typically reduced visual skill and lowered color vision, and the pain usually is worse with eye motions.
Eye pain that might be triggered by optic neuropathy needs immediate attention by an eye doctor and a neurologist. Among individuals under 40, several sclerosis and other neurological conditions are the most common causes of optic neuritis.
My Eye Injures! What Should I Do?
It’s probably pretty obvious by now that, if your eye hurts, you have to consider it an emergency situation. The best strategy is to see your eye doctor as soon as possible, to rule out a major eye problem that could result in increasing pain, damage to the eye and permanent vision loss.
In specific, see your eye doctor right away if you have a painful eye and:
- The pain happened right away after grinding metal, sawing wood, or other activities that might cause a foreign body injury (especially if you were not wearing shatterproof glass or protective eyewear).
- The pain is due to an eye injury.
- The pain is severe and is accompanied by blurred vision and/or sensitivity to light.
- You have had recent eye surgery, consisting of LASIK and cataract surgery.
- You have redness and discharge from the eye.
- The pain is severe, came on suddenly, and you have a history of glaucoma. This might indicate a severe attack of a less common type of glaucoma called angle-closure glaucoma, which can cause rapid vision loss and is a medical emergency.
When it concerns eye pain, don’t take opportunities– see your optometrist as quickly as possible to determine the precise cause and get prompt treatment.