Pain of the eye

The Symptoms and Causes of Eye Pain

Pain in your eyes can be caused due to a variety of underlying causes. Some of the more common causes include conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions, glaucoma, optic neuritis, uveitis, endophthalmitis, and blepharitis. Each of these conditions requires proper evaluation and treatment. Here is an overview of the symptoms and causes of eye pain and what you can do to address it.

Common Symptoms of Eye Pain

  • Dryness and itchiness in eyes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Sharp, stinging or throbbing pains in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain when looking up, down, or to the side
  • Pain accompanied by a headache or sinus pressure

Causes of Eye Pain

Awakened by a throbbing or stinging pain in your eyes? You may have corneal abrasion, an infection, or a structural issue such as glaucoma or retinal detachment. Here are some common causes of eye pain:

  • Conjunctivitis: An infection caused by either a virus or bacteria. Commonly known as “pink eye”, symptoms usually include redness, itchiness, or a gritty feeling in the eye.
  • Corneal Abrasion: A condition caused when the cornea is scratched or scraped, usually from contact lens wear, trauma, or from an ill-fitting pair of eyeglasses.
  • Glaucoma: A condition where the optic nerve is damaged that is usually caused by higher than normal eye pressure.
  • Optic Neuritis: Inflammation of the optic nerve that is often a symptom of multiple sclerosis.
  • Uveitis: Inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. This can happen as the result of an infection or autoimmune disorder.
  • Endophthalmitis: An infection inside the eye due to bacteria, fungus, or other organism.
  • Blepharitis: An inflammation of the eyelids, caused by bacteria or an allergic reaction. Symptoms often include burning, itching, or pain.

Treatment Options

Eye pain can be dealt with in several ways, depending on the cause of the problem. If the eye pain is caused by an infection, such as conjunctivitis, your doctor may recommend antibiotics. For corneal abrasions, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to help prevent infection and speed up healing. For glaucoma, your doctor may recommend surgery or eye drops to help reduce the pressure in the eye. For optic neuritis, steroid medicines may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Uveitis is usually treated with steroids and other medications to reduce inflammation and prevent complications. Endophthalmitis can be treated with antibiotics and medication to control inflammation. Blepharitis can be treated with antibiotics and eyelid hygiene.


Pain in the eye can have many causes, ranging from infections to structural issues. If you have any symptoms of eye pain, talk to your doctor right away. With the right treatment, you can reduce your pain and keep your eyes healthy.