Common Causes of Eye Pain: Symptoms and Treatments - Art of Optiks
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Common Causes of Eye Pain: Symptoms and Treatments

Eye pain is a common ailment that you may feel for different reasons. These can range from too much screen time to more serious problems. It’s crucial to know the symptoms and treatments for different types of eye pain, so you can get relief and avoid further damage. 

Pain in eyes can cause stress and be highly disruptive. Luckily, there are many ways to alleviate your pain. Keep reading to learn more about why you may feel pain behind the eye and how to treat it.

Eye Strain 

Eye strain is a common cause of eye pain, especially in our modern world as we constantly stare at screens. The symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Tired, aching eyes
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain behind the eye and head

One solution is to take breaks often when working on the computer. Make sure your workspace is set up correctly. Your computer should be at eye level, and it’s best to use a comfortable chair to avoid leaning close to the screen. 

You can also invest in blue light glasses to help prevent tired eyes. These simple steps can help reduce strain and prevent pain behind the eye.

Dry Eyes

Another common cause of eye pain is dry eyes. It can happen for various reasons, including staring at a computer screen for too long, being in a dry environment, or not blinking often enough. Warning signs of dry eyes include:

  • Stinging or burning sensation
  • Stringy discharge
  • Eye redness
  • Sensitivity to light

The best way to treat dry eyes is to use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops. These can help moisturize the eyes and prevent further irritation. It’s also important to take breaks often when working on the computer and to blink regularly throughout the day.


Eye pain is a common ailment that you may feel for different reasons

One of the most common eye pain causes is allergies. They can arise from pollen, dust, animal dander, or certain cosmetics. Symptoms of eye allergies include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Red, swollen eyes
  • Eye discharge

To treat eye allergies, you’ll need to avoid triggers. If you’re allergic to pollen, try to stay indoors when pollen counts are high. If you’re using cosmetics that contain allergens, switch to hypoallergenic products. You can also try over-the-counter antihistamines or eye drops to help relieve your allergies.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Pink eye or  conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear membrane covering the white part of the eye. It’s usually caused by bacteria or viruses. 

Conjunctivitis is one of the most infectious eye pain causes. You can catch it through coughing and sneezing. It can spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as door handles, countertops, or faucets. Signs of conjunctivitis are:

  • Eye redness or discharge
  • Eye pain
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Pink or red tint to the whites of your eyes

If you think you have pink eye, it’s important to begin ocular disease management as soon as possible. You can usually clear out conjunctivitis with antibiotics and deal with any pain behind the eye. 

Corneal Abrasion

Corneal abrasions are scratches on the eye’s surface. It can happen for many reasons, such as rubbing your eyes too hard or getting something in your eye. Symptoms include:

  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes

If you think a corneal abrasion is the culprit for pain in eyes, contact your doctor as soon as possible. A corneal abrasion can usually resolve with over-the-counter eye drops or ointments. However, in some cases, more treatment may be necessary to deal with pain behind the eye.


High internal eye pressure causes glaucoma and can be one of the most frustrating eye pain causes. You can lose your vision if you damage your optic nerve. In the early stages, glaucoma usually has no warning signs. You should get your eyes checked regularly because of this. If you have glaucoma, you may eventually experience:

  • Pain in eyes
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Blindness

Treatments for glaucoma-related eye pain include drops and surgery. You take eye drops each day at a set time, and your symptoms will not progress further. 

Something in Your Eye

If something blows into your eye, you may experience pain, blurred vision, or tears. Rinse your eyes with water and seek medical attention. Do not rub the eye as that could cause further pain in eyes and lead to damage. Instead, rinse with water or sterile saline solution and seek medical attention if the object does not come out. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them and continue to rinse the eye. 

Foreign bodies in the eye cause the following:

  • Sharp eye pain, such as pain behind the eye
  • Eye redness
  • Tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain when you blink

Urgent eye care services are necessary to remove a foreign body if you can’t blink it out. If it’s not removed, it can cause serious damage beyond pain behind the eye.


Blepharitis or eyelid inflammation can lead to eye pain. Blepharitis may come from a bacterial infection, oil buildup on the eyelashes, an allergic reaction, or a problem with the immune system. Blepharitis is usually a chronic condition, but you can manage it with proper treatment.

Blepharitis has two types. Anterior blepharitis impacts the front of the eyelid, where the eyelashes attach to your lid. In contrast, posterior blepharitis affects the eyelid’s back, where the meibomian glands are. These glands produce oil to help keep the eye lubricated.

You can treat infectious blepharitis with antibiotics, either in pill form or as eye drops. Allergic blepharitis arises from a reaction to something that comes into contact with the eyelids, such as makeup, dust, or pollen. It can be treated with antihistamines or eye drops.

Symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • Eye pain
  • Itchy eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Crusting around the eyelashes

Blepharitis is usually treated with antibiotics or steroid eye drops. However, in some cases, a more serious treatment may be necessary for pain behind the eye.

At-Home Treatments for Pain in Eyes

If you’re experiencing continual eye pain, we recommend getting a proper diagnosis and treatment immediately. However, vision therapy can be an effective non-surgical approach to relieve the pain in the case of minor issues. Here are a few tips:

  • Apply a warm or cool compress to the affected eye
  • Blink regularly 
  • Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Don’t wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection
  • Avoid using perfumed products near your eyes
  • Wash your hands often to avoid spreading infections

A good general rule of thumb is to follow the 20-20 rule. Take a 20-second break to look into the distance every 20 minutes when you work on a computer. 

Say Goodbye to Eye Pain With Art of Optiks

Say Goodbye to Eye Pain With Art of Optiks

Eye pain can be caused by a variety of factors, some benign and easily treated, while others may require more in-depth investigation. We have two practices in the greater Minneapolis area with an expert staff ready to identify any eye pain causes.

If you’re experiencing eye pain, reach out to us by filling out our online form or giving us a call to book an appointment and begin your journey to having healthier eyes.

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