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Eye pain

Eye pain: Introduction

Eye pain is a general term for an abnormal condition in which a person feels a sensation of discomfort, irritation, sensitivity, inflammation, soreness or pain in the eye or the eye area. Eye pain is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Eye pain can result from infection, trauma, malignancy and other abnormal processes.

Eye pain can occur in any age group or population. Eye pain can indicate a relatively benign condition, such as adjusting to a sudden bright light, or it can be the result of a moderate condition, disorder or disease, such as dry eye or conjunctivitis. Eye pain can also accompany serious conditions that can threaten vision or life. These include temporal arteritis, uveitis, ruptured globe, meningitis and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Depending on the cause, the sensation of eye pain can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when eye pain occurs when a foreign body, such as dust, is flushed out of the eye by tears.

Eye pain can also occur suddenly and severely, such as in acute closed-angle glaucoma. Eye pain can also be chronic and ongoing over a long period of time, such as when eye pain is due to dry eye.

Eye pain can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, including sinusitis, migraine headache, entropion, corneal ulcer, scleritis, choroiditis, malignant melanoma, orbital fracture and orbital cellulitis.

Depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition that causes eye pain, it often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, such as visual changes. Complications of eye pain vary depending on the underlying cause. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of eye pain.

Diagnosing eye pain and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological and eye examination. An eye examination includes testing visual acuity or sharpness of vision, checking the sharpness of peripheral vision, and testing the pressure inside the eye. The outer eye is examined using an instrument called a slit lamp, and the inner eye is examined using an instrument call an ophthalmoscope.

In some cases making a diagnosis may also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose some potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders, such as meningitis and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include blood tests, lumbar puncture, and imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans, and MRI.

A diagnosis of eye pain and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because eye pain may be mild and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of eye pain.

Treatment of eye pain involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of eye pain. ...more »

Eye pain: Animations


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