Eye pain is common, but it’s rarely a symptom of a serious condition. Most often, the pain resolves without medicine or treatment. Eye pain is also known as ophthalmalgia.
Depending on where you experience the discomfort, eye pain can fall into one of two categories: Ocular pain occurs on the eye’s surface, and orbital pain occurs within the eye.
Eye pain that occurs on the surface may be a scratching, burning, or itching sensation. Surface pain is usually caused by irritation from a foreign object, infection, or trauma. Often, this type of eye pain is easily treated with eye drops or rest.
Eye pain that occurs deeper within the eye may feel aching, gritty, stabbing, or throbbing. This kind of eye pain may require more in-depth treatment.
Eye pain accompanied by vision loss may be a symptom of an emergency medical issue. Call your ophthalmologist immediately if you begin to lose your vision while experiencing eye pain.
What causes ocular pain?
The most common cause of eye pain is simply having something in your eye. Whether it’s an eyelash, a piece of dirt, or makeup, having a foreign object in the eye can cause irritation, redness, watery eyes, and pain.
The conjunctiva is the tissue that lines the front of the eye and the underside of the eyelid. It can become infected and inflamed. Often, this is caused by an allergy or infection.
Though the pain is usually mild, the inflammation causes itchiness, redness, and discharge in the eye. Conjunctivitis is also called pink eye.