Pain in the eye may be described as a burning, throbbing, aching, or stabbing sensation in or around the eye. It may also feel like you have a foreign object in your eye.
This article discusses eye pain not caused by injury or surgery.
Ophthalmalgia; Pain - eye
Pain in the eye can be an important symptom of a health problem. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have eye pain that does not go away.
Tired eyes or some eye discomfort (eyestrain) is usually a minor problem and it will often go away with rest. These problems may be caused by the wrong eyeglass or contact lens prescription. Sometimes they are due to a problem with the eye muscles.
Many things can cause pain in or around the eye. If the pain is severe, does not go away, or causes vision loss, seek medical attention immediately.
Some things that can cause eye pain are:
Contact lens problems
Resting your eyes can often relieve discomfort due to eye strain.
If you wear contacts, try using glasses for a few days to see if the pain goes away.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your health care provider if:
The pain is severe (call immediately), or it continues for more than 2 days.
You have decreased vision along with the eye pain.
You have chronic diseases like arthritis or autoimmune problems.
You have pain, redness, swelling, discharge, or pressure in the eyes.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your health care provider will check your vision, eye movements, and the back of your eye. If there is a major concern, you should see an ophthalmologist. This is a doctor who specializes in eye problems.
To help find the source of the problem, your health care provider may ask:
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Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.