What Causes Eye Pain?
Discomfort or pain can be caused by a problem in the eye or structures around it, including:
- Cornea: Clear window in the front of the eye that focuses incoming light
- Sclera: White outside wall of the eye
- Conjunctiva: Ultrathin covering of the sclera and inside the eyelid
- Iris: Colored part of the eye, with the pupil in the middle
- Orbit: Bony cave where the eye and eye muscles are
- Extraocular muscles: Muscles that rotate the eye
- Nerves: Carry visual information from the eyes to the brain
- Eyelids: Outside covering of the eye, which protects and continually spreads moisture over the eyes
Eye problems can include:
- Blepharitis: Inflammation or infection of the eyelid that causes irritation or pain.
- Conjunctivitis (commonly called pinkeye): Inflammation of the conjunctiva caused by allergies or infections (viral or bacterial). Blood vessels in the conjunctiva become engorged, and the normally white part of the eye looks red. Other symptoms usually include itchiness and discharge.
- Corneal abrasions. A scratch on the cornea is called an abrasion. It can be very painful. The cornea is vulnerable to injuries from children’s flying fingers, errant tree branches, or tennis balls. With antibiotic drops and close monitoring by your doctor, corneal abrasions generally resolve completely without future problems.
- Corneal infections (called keratitis): Inflamed or infected cornea sometimes caused from shingles (herpes zoster) or from wearing contact lenses overnight or without inadequate disinfection.
- Foreign bodies: Something in the eye — a bit of dirt, plant debris, or a fragment of a contact lens. These are usually just irritating, and tears or water rinse them out. If not removed, foreign bodies can cause corneal abrasions.
- Glaucoma: Eye condition that usually has no early symptoms. In the case of acute angle closure glaucoma, though, pressure inside the eye rises suddenly. Symptoms include severe eye pain, nausea and vomiting, headache, and decreased vision. These symptoms are an emergency and need immediate treatment to prevent blindness.
- Optic neuritis: When the nerve traveling from the back of the eyeball into the brain becomes inflamed. Multiple sclerosis or other autoimmune conditions or infections are often the cause. Symptoms include loss of vision and sometimes pain.
- Stye (also called a hordeolum): An often painful infection or inflammation of the edges of the eyelid caused from the eyelash hair follicles or from oil glands.
What are Symptoms of Eye Pain?
Eye pain can occur by itself, or there may be various other symptoms present:
- Decreased vision
- Discharge, which can be clear, or thick and colored
- Foreign body sensation — the feeling that something is in the eye, whether or not anything actually is
- Light sensitivity
- Nausea or vomiting
- Red eye or pinkeye
- The eye being crusted shut after sleep due to discharge
How is Eye Pain diagnosed and Treated ?
Just as the causes of eye pain vary widely, so do the treatments. Visit an independent doctor of optometry who can diagnose you the cause and treatment of your problem.
- Conjunctivitis. Antibacterial eye drops can cure bacterial conjunctivitis. Antihistamines — in the form of eye drops, or a pill or syrup — can often improve allergic conjunctivitis.
- Corneal abrasions. These can be healed but often are treated with antibiotic ointments and close monitoring.
- Glaucoma. Eye pain is treated urgently with eye drops and occasionally with pills to reduce eye pressure. If these don’t work, surgery may be needed.
- Infections of the cornea (called keratitis). These may require antiviral or antibacterial eye drops.
- Optic neuritis. May be treated with intravenous corticosteroids.
- Sty. Are usually cured by applying regular warm compresses at home for a few days.
Read the original article published on at webmd.com
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