Why Do My Eyes Hurt? The Top 12 Causes You Should Know

Eye pain is the term used to describe any discomfort that occurs on, in, behind, or around the eye.

The discomfort can be unilateral or bilateral, meaning it can affect either your right or left eye or both. There’s no evidence that right-sided eye discomfort is more common than the left-sided eye or vice versa.

The source of discomfort in some circumstances, such as severe eye infections, is visible. But it’s not always easy for people to figure out ‘Why do my eyes hurt?’

To make matters worse, the level of eye pain has little to do with the seriousness of the underlying reason for the eye pain. In other words, a seemingly lighter issue, such as a superficial corneal abrasion, can be extremely painful.

However, cataracts, macular degeneration, the most frequent type of glaucoma, a detached retina, and diabetic eye disease are all significant eye pain.

The eye pain can give your many sensations, which will help your eye doctor to find out why your eyes hurt. If you are worried and thinking, ‘Why do my eyes hurt?’

Some of the symptoms include:

  • A piercing sensation
  • Red eyes (bloodshot eyes)
  • Foreign body sensation: You have the sense that something is “in” your eye (foreign body sensation)
  • Blurred vision
  • Mild Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Watery eyes

Other eye pain symptoms and aching eyes may provide insight into the source of the eye pain. If you are surfing on the internet to know ‘Why do my eyes hurt?’ Here are some of the causes that will help you know.

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Some of the causes of eye pain

1. Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a disorder in which your eyelids swell and become inflamed. It also causes constant eye pain, itchiness, and discomfort. When the oil glands at the base of your eyelashes become clogged, blepharitis develops.

2. Conjunctivitis / Pink eye

Pain, redness, pus, and burning in the eyes are all symptoms of pink eye. When you have this illness, the conjunctiva, or clear coating of the white area of your eye, appears red or pink. Pink eye is a contagious disease.

3. Cluster Headaches

If you have watery eyes, it could be because of cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are defined as pain in and around one eye. Your eyes will also grow red and watery as a result of them.

Cluster headaches are excruciatingly unpleasant, yet they aren’t fatal. Medication can be used to treat them.

4. Optic Neuritis

Here the optic nerve is damaged by optic neuritis. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders have been connected to this condition.

5. Sty

A sty is a swollen spot around your eyelid, usually caused by a bacterial infection. Stys are generally painful to touch and can cause eye pain.

6. Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergies cause allergic conjunctivitis, which is inflammation of the eye that can cause severe eye pain. Burning pain and dryness are sometimes followed by redness, itching, and swelling. You may also experience the sensation of having dirt, or something stuck in your eye.

7. Dry Eyes

Multiple problems can cause dry eyes, each with its own set of symptoms and pathology. Dry, red, and sore eyes can be caused by rosacea, autoimmune diseases, contact lens use, and environmental causes.

Read more about Dry eyes allergy and the shocking causes.

8. Flash Burns

Your eyeball may have been exposed to too much Ultraviolet light if it feels like it’s burning. This can result in “sun exposure” on your eye’s surface.

9. Vision Loss

People’s vision generally worsens as they grow older. When you’re trying to view anything close up or far away, this can cause your eyes to strain. You should visit your eye doctor, who can prescribe you eyeglass which will work for you. Vision changes may cause headaches and sudden eye pain.

10. Corneal Abrasions

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A corneal abrasion is also known as a scratch on the surface of your cornea. It’s a frequent injury that recovers on its own in some cases.

An injury in the eyes caused by trauma 1can result in long-term damage and pain.

11. Fungal Infection

Fungi can also cause infections in the eyes.

People who work on farms or in gardens, as well as those who wear contact lenses, are more likely to acquire fungal eye infections. Those with weaker immune systems, diabetes, or conditions that require corticosteroid medication are at greater risk.

The following symptoms may occur as a result of a fungal eye infection:

  • Eye pain
  • Redness
  • Impaired vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tears discharge

12. Eye Strain

When the eyes become exhausted, eyestrain develops. When someone is undertaking work that requires them to focus their eyes for long periods, this can happen, which causes your eyes to become painful, watery, or dry.

Eye strain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Observing computer screens
  • Exposure to bright lights
  • Driving
  • Reading

Eyestrain 2can be relieved by resting the eyes. The National Eye Institute (NEI) recommends taking a break from tasks like reading every 20 minutes.

Screen brightness can be adjusted, glare from lights and windows can be reduced, and taking regular breaks from driving can also assist.

Eye strain and headaches can also be caused by an inappropriate prescription for eyeglasses. Because vision varies with time, it’s a good idea to see an eye doctor frequently.

Read more about how to reduce floaters in the eyes naturally.

Multiple Symptoms as to Why do my eyes hurt?

Because there are so many possible reasons for eye pain, observing other symptoms might help you limit the possibilities. Other symptoms can also help you to find out if you’re experiencing a medical emergency and need to contact an eye doctor immediately.

If your eyes hurt and you also have a headache.

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by andrea piacquadio from pexels /Copyright 2021

When your eyes hurt and you have a headache, the source of your suffering may be a different health problem. Among the possibilities are:

  • Astigmatism or vision loss can cause eye strain.
  • Headaches in clusters
  • Sinusitis is a common ailment that affects (sinus infection)
  • Photokeratitis

Why do my eyes hurt to move?

If you have eye discomfort whenever you try to move them, then it is because of eye strains. It could also mean you have an eye injury or sinus infection. Some of the common reasons for eye pain when you try to move are:

  • Strain in the eyes
  • Sinus infection
  • Eye injury

Treatment for eye pain

Suppose you are experiencing light pain and not followed by additional symptoms such as blurred vision. In that case, you may be able to treat your eye pain with some home remedies, or you may need to consider a prescription from a nearby eye doctor or over-the-counter medicine.

Eye pain treatment at home

Home treatments for eye pain can help to clear irritants from your eyes and reduce eye pain.

Rubbing, chemical exposure, and allergies can cause burning and itching in the eyes, which can be soothed by applying a cool compress to the affected area.

Fresh cotton swabs can be used to apply aloe vera diluted with cold water to your closed eyelids.

Many causes of eye pain can be treated with over-the-counter eye drops.

Wear sunglasses when you’re outside if you have eye pain, and drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.

Excessive screen time should be avoided, as should rubbing your eyes.

Always wipe off your eye makeup before going to bed.

Handwashing regularly can stop the bacteria from migrating from your eye to other parts of your body.

Eye Pain Medical Treatment

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Eye drops are the most common medical treatment for eye pain.

To treat an eye infection, your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops and eye ointment.

If an allergy causes your eye pain, you may be offered oral anti-allergy medicine to lessen the severity of your symptoms.

Surgical treatment is sometimes required to treat an eye problem. Before scheduling surgery in these circumstances, the eye doctor will discuss your alternatives with you.

Only if your eyesight or health are in danger will surgery for your eye pain be recommended.

How to Avoid Suffering from Eye Pain

Eye protection is the first step in preventing eye pain. Here are a few techniques to keep your eyes from hurting.

Many causes of eye pain, such as scrapes and burns, can be avoided by wearing protective eyewear. When exercising, playing sports, mowing the yard, or utilizing hand tools, use goggles or safety glasses.

Construction workers, welders, and anyone who works with flying items, chemicals, or welding equipment should always wear safety glasses.

Use precaution when working near chemicals. Handle chemicals and corrosive agents with caution, such as household cleaners, detergents, and pest control. When using them, keep them away from your body.

When it comes to children’s toys, be careful. Spring-loaded toys, toys that fire, and toys that play with swords, guns, and bouncing balls can all cause eye injuries in children. Prevent from giving it to your child.

Hygiene for Contact Lenses: If you wear contact lenses, make sure you clean them completely and regularly.

When Should You See an Eye Doctor If You Have Eye Pain?

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If you are suffering eye discomfort and have had surgery in the past, or if you have just had eye surgery or an eye infection, consult your eye doctor or surgeon.

If your eyes hurt and you’re using contact lenses, get medical help. If you have eye pain with a weaker immune system, or if your eye pain does not improve after two to three days of medication, you should seek medical help.

Some of the most commonly asked questions as to Why do my eyes hurt:

When is it necessary to be concerned about eye pain?

You should visit a doctor right once if you have pain and vision loss, if you experience eye injuries, or if you’ve been in discomfort for several hours.

Why do my eyes hurt? Could glaucoma make my eyes hurt?

The majority of glaucoma 3varieties do not produce eye pain. Acute angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, can induce eye pressure and pain. Red eyes and seeing halos or rainbows around lights are other symptoms.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

Why do my eyes hurt when I look around?

It’s most likely due to eye strain if moving your eyes hurts. It could also be due to an accident or a sinus infection. Eye strain is a common cause of eyes that hurt to move.

Why do my eyes hurt when I use my phone?
why do my eyes hurt
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All of that, starting from phone use, internet use, and TV watching, can contribute to eye strain, and eye health concerns are known as Computer Vision Syndrome when it occurs in this context. Excessive phone use is said to cause eye strain in two out of every three Americans.

Why do my eyes hurt after wearing glasses?

Unfortunately, wearing glasses takes a little time to adjust. Most people will have headaches and aching or watery eyes during the first several days. The headaches and soreness will leave as your eyes become used to resting instead of working so hard to make sense of what you’re seeing.

Why do my eyes hurt when I cry?

Healthy tears are made up of a balance of oil, mucus, and water, and when any of these components are missing, whether in the proper amounts or ratios (as in the case of dry eyes), the eyes become dry and irritated, which can cause a burning feeling.

why do my eyes hurt
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Why do my eyes hurt in the morning?

Dry eye is the main cause of morning eye irritation. Your eyes may be irritated, bloodshot, or swollen in addition to burning.

Why do my eyes hurt when I suffer from a cold? 

Frequent headaches are a common sign of a cold. When everything is clogged up, your brain takes a beating. Your eyes may become more sensitive to light as a result of this.

Why do my eyes hurt when I close my eyes?

Dry eyes, a sty, or pink eye are all common reasons for eye pain during blinking (conjunctivitis).

Why do my eyes hurt on looking to the side?

Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the nerve that connects the back of the eyeball to the brain. Multiple sclerosis, as well as other diseases or infections, are frequently to blame.

When you glance from side to side, you may have visual loss and even severe discomfort. An infection in one of your sinuses is known as sinusitis4.

Why do my eyes hurt when I look at the sky?

The cornea (the transparent part of the eye) and other eye components are extremely sensitive, and there is a high concentration of nerve endings sensitive to pain in the cornea (the transparent part of the eye). Increased light sensitivity occurs when any component of the eye is inflamed.

Why do my eyes hurt when I rub them?

It’s most likely due to eye strain if moving your eyes hurts. It could also be due to an accident or a sinus infection. Eye strain is a common cause of eyes that hurt to move.

Summary to Why Do My Eyes Hurt? 

It is common to have mild pain in your eyes. Eye Injury, illness, or another health issue can cause eye pain. Minor scrapes, dryness, or styes may not necessitate medical attention right away.

However, if you’re experiencing symptoms like pressure, swelling, discharge, fever, or visual difficulties, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. If left untreated, several eye disorders can result in lifelong blindness.

Warm, wet compresses or over-the-counter eye drops for allergies or pain alleviation can typically relieve eye pain. Prescription eye drops, corticosteroids, or antibiotics may be required in some circumstances. More serious conditions may necessitate surgery.

The best course of action is prevention and protection when it comes to your eyes. Wear eye protection and keep everything that comes in contact with your eyes clean and free of bacteria.

Reviewed by: Omejua Chimdike (B.MLS), Biomedical Scientist (UNN)

About Omejua Chimdike .G.

A talented, knowledgeable and certified medical laboratory scientist with experience in carrying out standard laboratory practices (tests) on patients of various cultural backgrounds with the aim of researching and developing diagnostic approaches that will aid in the diagnosis of diseases and increase patient outcomes to treatment. Currently, working as a research scientist at Everight Diagnostic Laboratory Services limited (Centre for Research and Molecular Studies), Nigeria.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chimdike-omejua-520859199

WordPress : https://omejuachimdikeacademia.wordpress.com/

Gmail: chimdike.omejua.188155@unn.edu.ng

  1. Coccolini, Federico, et al. “Liver trauma: WSES 2020 guidelines.” World Journal of Emergency Surgery 15 (2020): 1-15. ↩︎
  2. Kaur, Kirandeep, et al. “Digital eye strain-a comprehensive review.” Ophthalmology and therapy 11.5 (2022): 1655-1680. ↩︎
  3. Stein, Joshua D., Anthony P. Khawaja, and Jennifer S. Weizer. “Glaucoma in adults—screening, diagnosis, and management: a review.” Jama 325.2 (2021): 164-174. ↩︎
  4. Allevi, Fabiana, et al. “Diagnostic criteria for odontogenic sinusitis: a systematic review.” American journal of rhinology & allergy 35.5 (2021): 713-721. ↩︎

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