Anyone who has ever experienced eye pain knows how uncomfortable and disruptive it can be. Thankfully, most types of eye pain are treatable but it is important to seek out medical attention.
While there are many possible causes of eye pain, some of them are more common than others and include dry eyes, conjunctivitis, stye, eye injury, and sinusitis.
In this article we will discuss the 5 leading causes of eye pain and how to deal with them.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eye is not able to produce enough tears to sufficiently lubricate the eye. It is a fairly common symptom among people that are middle aged or older.
Dry eyes can result from a number of causes, including being exposed to dry air, staring at a screen for an extended period of time, or hormonal changes.
If you suffer from dry eyes, you may experience itchy, stinging, or burning sensations, a feeling of something in the eye, blurred vision, watery eyes, and light sensitivity.
If your eyes are irritated and red, your ophthalmologist can prescribe eye drops that increase tear production.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
The conjunctiva is a thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid. It provides protection and lubrication of the eye by the production of mucus and tears.
Conjunctivitis is an eye condition which occurs when the conjunctiva or adjacent tissues become infected or inflamed. It is associated with redness, irritation, and watery discharge.
Occasionally, conjunctivitis may also be bacterial rather than viral, and the patient might experience mucous discharge in one or both eyes.
Conjunctivitis is very common in both children and adults, and can be highly contagious. Treatment includes cool compress and lubricating eye drops. When bacterial infection is suspected, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments.
Patients can help speed recovery by not rubbing their eyes and not wearing contact lenses.
A stye is a common bacterial infection of the eyelid which looks like a localized red lump.
Styes usually form at the base of an eyelash follicle, and most of the time they are not serious. If you develop a stye, you may experience eyelid swelling, which makes blinking painful.
Styes may resolve on their own, but in some cases can progressively worsen in redness, swelling and pain, requiring oral antibiotics to be resolved.
If you develop a stye, you should visit an eye doctor to get it assessed. Avoid squeezing or trying to pop the bump, to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Eye injuries are not only very painful, but they can also cause long-term damage to your eyes if they are not assessed and treated properly. Eye injuries are most commonly caused by blunt force, sharp objects, extreme heat or cold, and ultraviolet light.
If you experience an eye injury you should always visit an ophthalmologist to make sure that there is no risk of long term damage to your eyes.
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses caused by viral infection. The sinuses are cavities within the skull behind the nose that are connected to the nasal passages.
Sinusitis can cause face tenderness, blocked nose, headache, and pain in one or both eyes. It can be diagnosed with a physical examination, nasal examination, and/or CT scan, and mild cases can be managed at home through OTC pain relief medications, warm compress, and saline solution.
If you experience eye pain or discomfort, you should visit your doctor for a check-up. While many eye problems are minor and can be easily treated with over-the-counter eye drops and other remedies, only a specialist who has examined your eyes thoroughly can determine whether or not you have a serious condition. The sooner you address your eye problems, the easier they will be to treat.