When you’ve got a dull or sharp pain in your eye, it’s only natural to feel a little scared or uneasy. Your eye is one of the most important organs you have, and pain can make you fear the worst. Pain in the eye can be caused by several different things – most are insignificant, but some should be checked out – and figuring out the exact cause isn’t simple.
The human eye is an incredibly complex organ. It has several components such as the cornea, pupil, lens, iris and optic nerve. Diseases, infections, complications, and injuries which involve any of these structures can cause eye pain with varying severity.
To make matters complicated further, the intensity, type, and severity of eye pain do little to indicate just how serious the underlying cause is. A very minor and insignificant problem such as a superficial abrasion can be extremely painful, whereas cataracts, degeneration and other more sinister eye conditions can cause little-to-no eye pain whatsoever.
Eye pain is typically accompanied with blurred vision, bloodshot, redness, sensitivity to light and minor swelling. Here are three of the most common causes of eye pain and what they mean.
#1: Foreign Bodies in the Cornea
If your eye pain is accompanied by the feeling that there is something in your eye, then that is likely what is causing it. It is very common for foreign bodies to enter and become embedded in the cornea, and these include the likes of grit, sawdust, metal shavings and even tiny insects. The discomfort associated with a foreign body in the cornea can vary and depends entirely on what the foreign body is.
If you have a pain in the eye which is most prevalent when you blink or move your eyes, then there is likely something stuck up in there. The pain associated with having a foreign body in the cornea can vary from being mild to severe, and it is something which requires urgent medical attention, especially if you are not certain exactly what it is that you have gotten stuck in your eye. Foreign bodies which have become embedded into the cornea can easily cause an infection, or worse.
It is relatively easy and painless for a foreign body to be removed from your eye, and you will be prescribed antibacterial eye drops to prevent any infection from occurring on during the healing process.
#2: Dry Eyes
Another very common cause of eye pain and discomfort is dry eyes. Typically, dry eyes are something which comes on slowly and gradually and will noticeably get more severe as time progresses; the pain is not as instantaneous as that associated with a foreign body or abrasion. Sometimes, due to friction, dry eyes can lead to such abrasions which further magnifies the pain. If there is not enough moisture on the surface of your eye, the cornea is not kept slippery, which can cause abrasive pain.
The use of eye drops with added lubrication can massively improve dry eye discomfort and it is not something which requires immediate attention or action from a medical professional. It is always worth seeing a doctor though if you are not sure whether you are suffering from dry eyes or something a bit more serious.
Glaucoma is a family of different conditions which causes fluid to slowly build up in your eye. As this fluid builds up, lots of pressure is placed on your optic nerve, which can cause severe pain. If glaucoma goes untreated then it can cause blindness and it is something which needs immediate emergency treatment.
With glaucoma, there are often no symptoms early on. However, some types of glaucoma cause pressure to suddenly shoot up inside your eye. This causes a whole host of symptoms from eye pain to headaches and vomiting. Although glaucoma does not typically produce symptoms early on, it is something which can hardly be ignored when it becomes more severe and the majority of people end up in the emergency room with severe eye pain when symptoms really begin to present themselves.
With proper treatment as early as possible, glaucoma has no lasting ill effects on either your vision or overall health and wellbeing.
Eye pain can be scary, especially if it’s something which has suddenly come out of nowhere. Most of the time, eye pain is absolutely nothing to worry about and will often go away as it is caused by migraines and headaches. However, if it is something which persists or causes severe pain to the point where it starts impeding on your ability to perform normal tasks then you should head to the doctor or see a specialist as soon as possible.
The causes of eye pain can, with treatment, disappear and leave no lasting ill effects.