Common Causes of Eye Pain

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Common Causes of Eye Pain - First Eye Care McKinney

There are Many Causes of Eye Pain

No matter who you are, you have more than likely experienced eye pain at least once in your life. It’s an extremely common occurrence that can be the result of a number of different reasons. Usually, eye pain isn’t something to be overly concerned with. Most cases are hardly ever a symptom of a serious, vision-threatening condition. Typically, you will experience pain relief without needing to seek any medical attention from your eye doctor.

It’s important to monitor your eye health when you are experiencing eye pain, though. While many cases of eye pain are minor, some can be far more severe and threaten the overall health of your eye.

First Eye Care McKinney is here to ensure that you are prepared for any instance of eye pain. No two cases are the same. We are here to help you understand the common causes of eye pain and what you should do in certain cases.

What is Eye Pain?

Eye pain is exactly that. Pain felt in the eye. However, eye pain typically falls under two categories: ocular pain and orbital pain. Each is a very distinct type of eye pain with equally distinct causes. When you experience pain on the surface of the eye, that is ocular pain. However, if your pain is within the eye, it is orbital pain.

As we have mentioned already, there are several causes for eye pain, ranging from mild to severe. It’s important to be aware of the different reasons and symptoms for eye pain in order to be prepared in case treatment is required.

Ocular Pain

As we mentioned previously, ocular pain is pain on the surface of your eye. This type of pain is often characterized by scratching, burning, or itching sensations. Often, people tend to feel as if there is an object on their eye, which can be the case in some instances. Outside of a foreign object, eye infections, trauma, and more can lead to ocular pain.

Here are some common causes of ocular pain.


Most commonly referred to as pink eye, conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva, the area that lines the inside of the eyelid, becomes inflamed. An allergic reaction or an infection can cause pink eye.

The pain is typically mild, and the symptoms include irritation, itchiness, redness, and some discharge. However, there is usually nothing serious to worry about.

Corneal Abrasion 

The cornea is the clear, thin front surface of your eye, and it is very sensitive. A corneal abrasion is simply a scratched cornea. Most cases of corneal abrasions are far from serious, but if you do have one, you may experience great discomfort, light sensitivity, watery eyes, blurred vision, and an overall annoyance.

Corneal abrasions often make it feel like you have something lodged in your eye, even though you don’t. They typically heal on their own in just a couple of days. It’s important to remember that flushing your eye with water will not ease your discomfort.

While most cases are minor, if you have a deep abrasion, it can lead to a serious eye infection and, possibly even worse, a corneal ulcer if untreated. However, you won’t be able to tell if the cause of your pain is due to a corneal abrasion, so it’s important to visit your eye doctor for an eye exam.

Blepharitis & Sty 

When the oil glands on the edge of your eyelids become infected, you will experience great pain and discomfort. The oil glands become clogged, which leads to their infection. When this occurs, it is known as blepharitis, commonly known as an eyelid infection.

When you suffer an inflamed eyelid, it can often lead to the development of a raised bump on your eyelid. These bumps can be a sty or chalazion. A sty is a very tender bump and can be very painful. A chalazion is not typically painful.

Foreign Object 

We have touched on this throughout ocular pain, but one very common cause of eye pain is when something is stuck in your eye. This foreign object can be an eyelash, metal shaving, tiny stone particles, sawdust, makeup, and more. When a foreign object is stuck in your eye, it will be irritated, red, and watery.

Orbital Pain

Orbital pain is very different from ocular pain. It involves pain that is felt deeper within your eye. When you experience this kind of pain, it can make your eye feel achy, throbbing, heavy, gritty, and more. Typically, you will require more thorough treatment.

Some examples of orbital pain include:


Migraine headaches are often the cause of pain felt deep within your eye. Eye pain is a common symptom of migraine attacks, and they can be unilateral or bilateral, meaning they affect one or both eyes, respectively. The pain is felt behind your eyes and is accompanied by pain felt throughout your head.

Sinus Infections

Sinusitis occurs when your sinuses become infected. The more your sinuses are infected, the more pressure builds up behind your eyes. As this pressure builds, the level of pain you feel increases. The pain is felt behind your eyes. Typically, sinus infections affect both eyes, but the pain felt is usually not as bad as those of migraines.


Glaucoma occurs when fluid begins to build up within your eye. This increase in fluid applies pressure on your optic nerve, which is responsible for delivering information to the brain to be decoded.

Unfortunately, this is a cause of eye pain that is serious. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to vision loss. There are no early symptoms. When pressure begins to build suddenly, known as acute-closure glaucoma, you may experience eye pain, nausea, headaches, vision loss, and more. You must seek medical attention immediately.

Importance of Eye Exams 

Eye pain is extremely common. Virtually everyone has experienced it once in their life before. While it can happen frequently, figuring out the cause of eye pain isn’t always straightforward. Your pain can be the result of many reasons, which each carry their own levels of seriousness.

Before we move further, let’s take a look at some common symptoms to be aware of when it comes to eye pain:

  • Eye pain
  • Distorted vision
  • Discharge, either clear and thin or thick and colored
  • Feeling as if something is in your eye
  • Headache
  • Light sensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Irritated eyes
  • Teary eyes

If you do experience one or more of these symptoms, you should seek out your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. While not every cause of your eye pain is inherently serious, the situation can complicate and get worse. You may go from a simple corneal abrasion to a corneal infection before too long. Without the help of a trusted eye doctor, you will not be able to accurately diagnose the origin of your pain.

Many eye conditions don’t make themselves known until the condition has progressed further. Receiving a comprehensive eye exam not only helps accurately diagnose and treat your eye pain but also prevents any further damage.

Eye pain is very common. There are a handful of reasons that may lead to your eye pain. If you experience any of the symptoms above, contact First Eye Care McKinney to receive an eye exam to ensure your eye is protected.

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