Nearly everyone experiences some form of eye pain at one time or another. Some eye pain gets better on its own, but in other cases, it can be a sign of something more serious. If you are unsure why your eye is hurting, read on to learn about possible causes and what you can do about your eye pain.
Pain that stems from the front surface of the eye or inside the eye can have many causes, including:
Foreign object. Metal shavings, saw dust, sand and other tiny particles can easily become embedded onto the eye and cause mild to severe pain. If a small foreign object gets into your eye, try blinking to see if it clears your eye. If it doesn’t, see your eye doctor immediately.
Scratched cornea. Most superficial scratches and abrasions on the cornea are not serious and heal on their own within 24 hours. However, deeper cuts can lead to serious infections if left untreated.
Dry eyes. Discomfort caused by this common eye condition usually begins slowly and gradually. If the condition is severe, it may lead to a corneal abrasion. Mild dry eyes can usually be treated with lubricating eye drops.
Eye infections. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, abrasions or foreign objects. It is best to see your eye doctor immediately for proper treatment.
Glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness, and eye pain related to the disease is usually severe. Unfortunately, glaucoma usually has few to no initial symptoms, making it hard to treat early. Glaucoma can first be treated with eye drops and prescription medicine. Severe forms of glaucoma can be treated with surgery.
One of the most common forms of pain around the eyes is caused by inflammation within the eyelid known as a stye. The primary symptom of a stye is a localized, very tender area on one eyelid. Another common eye-related condition is blepharitis, which can cause swollen eyelids and discomfort around the eyes. Both styes and blepharitis usually do not require urgent medical attention.
A much more serious yet rare cause of pain around the eyes is optic neuropathy. This condition can cause permanent vision loss and requires immediate medical attention. Other symptoms of optic neuropathy include decreased visual acuity and reduced color vision.
Common causes of pain behind the eye include migraine headaches and sinus infections. Pain from these conditions is usually not severe and does not constitute an emergency. However, it is still a good idea to see your eye doctor or general physician for treatment if you experience chronic or recurring pain stemming from migraine headaches or sinus infections.
Dr. Belmont believes that when it comes to severe eye pain, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Your eyes and vision are delicate, and if the pain is serious, immediate medical attention is crucial. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if:
For more information on eye health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sandra Belmont. Please call the Belmont Eye Center at (212) 486-2020 today.