Treatment of Eye Pain

Eye pain can be seriously irritating, and the type and severity can vary depending on what is causing it – the good news is, it’s usually benign and can be easily treated, often at home.

Pain that occurs on the surface of the eye is also called ocular pain; it typically appears as a burning, scratching, or itching sensation. Although uncomfortable and even disorienting, ocular pain is rarely serious. Very often, it’s caused by debris, a chemical irritant (chlorine from a pool is a common example), or other foreign objects that get into the eye – in these cases, it’s a simple matter of flushing the material out of the eye. This can be done with eye drops or a quick splash of cold water; your natural tears may also take care of it on their own.

An infection may also be causing pain on the surface of the eye: viruses and bacteria, many times the same ones that cause a cold or flu, can get into the eyes and cause symptoms such as itching, mild burning, and redness. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is one example of an infection. Allergies can also cause similar symptoms, as well as watery eyes. If you experience these symptoms and suspect an infection, you can see a doctor; depending on the cause, you may receive medication, but the solution is often rinsing with eye drops. For allergies, prescription or over the counter medication may help control symptoms.

People who regularly wear contact lenses may be more prone to eye pain, either from leaving them in too long or not cleaning them thoroughly. Proper care and attention to contact maintenance can make a difference, and you may find that resting your eyes for a few days by wearing glasses is helpful.

Styes are small bumps, tender to the touch, that are most often found on the lash line or inner eyelid. The soreness is unpleasant, and they’re not very pretty, but applying a warm compress a few times per day will help reduce their size and pain.

Pain that occurs deeper within the eye is called orbital pain, and it is much less common than ocular pain. Medicated eye drops may be prescribed for conditions like glaucoma, which causes a buildup of pressure in the eye. For a serious infection affecting the pupils or optic nerves, corticosteroids may be needed. If you have eye pain accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, loss of vision, or pain elsewhere in the body, consult a doctor right away.


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