Doctor's Notes on Eye Pain
Eye pain is pain or discomfort that originates within the structures of the eye or the surrounding structures, including the eyelids, conjunctival membranes, cornea, or muscles and nerves that control the eye. There are a number of different causes of eye pain, including corneal infections, corneal abrasions, conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), glaucoma, optic neuritis, and sinusitis, among others. A foreign object in the eye is also a source of eye pain, along with trauma or injury to the eye area.
Signs and symptoms associated with eye pain vary depending on the exact cause of the pain. These may include:
- excessive tearing,
- vision disturbances,
- nausea, and
Other associated symptoms can include the sensation of something in the eye, such as a gritty or irritated feeling.
What Is the Treatment for Eye Pain?
Treatment for eye pain depends on the cause of the pain.
- Surgical repair is necessary for some types of trauma to the skull that involves the eye, and foreign objects should be removed by a medical professional.
- Eye infections can be treated with antibiotic drops or gels, and corticosteroids may be prescribed for more serious infections.
- Glaucoma can be treated with medicated eye drops.
- Warm compresses may help control the pain due to blepharitis or a stye.
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Bleeding in Eye (Hyphema)Hyphema is bleeding in the eye. Trauma to the eye can cause bleeding in the front (or anterior chamber) of the eye between the cornea and the iris. This may put a person at risk for glaucoma later in life.
Corneal AbrasionA corneal abrasion is a painful scrape or scratch of the surface of the clear part of the eye. This clear tissue of the eye is known as the cornea. Antibiotic and anesthetic eyedrops are typically used in treatment.
Corneal Flash BurnsThe clear cornea at the front of the eye absorbs most of the ultraviolet light that enters the eye. Because of this role, the cornea is susceptible to damage from the sun, welding torches, photographers flashes and other UV sources. Such injury can result in changes in vision, loss of vision, and pain.
Dry Eye SyndromeDry eye syndrome is a disruption of the normal mix of tear layers that coats and lubricates the eye. The condition is most common in people over 40 years of age, and women tend to suffer it more than men. Causes may range from activities like excessive screen use to serious disorders of the glands and other medical causes. There is no known cure for this disorder, but it can be managed with eyedrops, humidifiers, and other medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Eye InjuriesEye injuries range from the very minor, such as getting soap in the eye, to the catastrophic, resulting in permanent loss of vision. Treatment of eye injuries depends on the nature of the injury. Prompt evaluation and treatment is necessary to protect vision.
Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis)Blepharitis is swelling and/or irritation of the eyelid, resulting from a bacterial infection, inflammation, or allergies. It is the most common eye disease.
Foreign Body in the EyeA foreign body in the eye can range from nothing serious to a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. A foreign body in the eye may cause burning, irritation, tearing, and redness. Treatment depends on the extent of the eye injury.
Migraine Headache FAQsThe difference between headache and migraine often includes intense pain, sensitivity to light, sound and smells, and nausea and vomiting for migraine headache. Migraines last from 4 hours to 3 days and may be preceded by pre-migraine symptoms like auras. The exact cause of migraines is unclear, but numerous triggers can precipitate a migraine attack. Migraines may be managed and/or prevented by a combination of medication and avoiding triggers.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.