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Eye Pain Treatment in London

eye pain painful eye

What causes pain in the eye?

Eye pain is a common concern that commonly resolves on it own without the use of medication or treatment.

Pain is usually categorised in ocular pain when the cause is from the surface of the eye and orbital pain when the cause is from deeper in the eye or the eye socket.


Ocular Pain


Ocular pain from the surface of the eye can be a sensation of scratching, itching, burning or a sharp pain. It is usually caused by irritation from:


Inflammation of the conjuctiva that lines the white of the eye and the inner eyelids can lead to irritation. This is caused by infection or allergy.

Foreign object

The eye is very sensitive and having something in your eye can cause pain. A speck of dirt, makeup, an eyelash or any other foreign body can be a cause of pain, redness, irritation and watery eyes. If left it can lead to a corneal infection.

Contact lens

Overuse of lenses, not cleaning them correctly or sleeping in them overnight can make you prone to irritation or more seriously an infection that can cause pain. A contact lens infection needs urgent treatment so that it doesn't affect your vision.

Corneal abrasion

A scratch to the outer surface can cause a painful eye. The injury becomes painful particularly on blinking as †he eyelid moves over the injury and can give a foreign body sensation of something being in the eye.


This is an irritation and inflammation to the oil glands on the margins of the eyelid. This can be uncomfortable and be a source of pain.


An infected chalazion or a stye caused by blockage to the eyelid oil glands can become sore and tender and be a source of pain.

Chemical burn

Chemicals like household cleaning products such as bleach, sun damage from tanning studios, facial laser treatments without eye protection or welders not using protective goggles can cause injuries to the eye that are very painful and require urgent treatment by medical professionals.


Orbital Pain


Orbital pain is deeper and gives the sensation of a ache or throbbing. It may also give a sensation of pain behind the eyes. This type of pain may need more investigation to identify the underlying cause and provide the correct treatment. Possible causes include:


Also known as iritis is where there are inflammatory cells around the iris. It is a cause of pain and sensitivity to light. It can come about on its own or may be related to other autoimmune disease processes such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn's disease, Sarcoidosis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.


Some people who suffer from migraines can get attacks around or behind the eye as well as the headache. It can also suffer around the eye alone and is known as an ocular migraine although other causes need to be excluded before this diagnosis is made.


Having a sinus infection or allergy can create a pressure sensation in the sinuses and around the eye. As a result you can have pain in one or both eyes. An untreated sinus infection can progress to cause an orbital cellulitis which is an infection around the eye. This runs the risk of causing double vision or vision loss. It requires urgent assessment and is a medical emergency through your local emergency department.


Angle closure glaucoma is where there is a sudden rise of the intraocular pressure within the eye. It can present with a drop in visual acuity, halos, severe eye pain, Risk factors for developing acute angle closure glaucoma are those who have a diagnosis of narrow angle glaucoma that has not yet been treated and those who have not had eye problems before but where the part of the eye known as the anterior chamber is shallow. This causes a blockage to the flow of fluid within the eye. It can lead to damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision if left untreated and needs urgent attention. People with primary open-angle glaucoma can get pain from an allergic reaction to their eye drops. This is not an urgent situation like acute glaucoma but requires a review by your eye doctor to see if your treatment needs adjusting.


An impact injury or penetrating injury to the eye or an object damaging the eye can be a cause of significant pain. It also can affect your vision and requires an urgent assessment at your local emergency department and to potentially exclude any head injury.

Optic neuritis

Inflammation of the nerve at the back of the eye can cause pain and blurred vision. It can be caused by a viral infection, an autoimmune disease and rarely a bacterial infection. The optic disc at the back of the eye can appear swollen with obscuration of the surrounding blood vessels.

Pain in the eye with loss of vision is an emergency and should be seen urgently. You should call your ophthalmologist immediately if you experience this.


Should I be concerned about eye pain?


Your pain requires urgent attention if it is:

  • severe or your are unable to touch your eye

  • associated with a migraine headache

  • keeps you awake at night

  • has sensitivity to light

  • Is associated with a fever

  • drop in vision

  • You develop nausea or vomiting needs urgent attention.

  • You wear contact lenses as there may be a corneal ulcer


How can I relieve eye pain?


Eye pain that you have experienced before with no warning signs, is not unusual or associated with trauma or injury and doesn't affect your vision can be treated at home. The treatment options to the affected eye include:

  • Allowing your eyes to rest

  • A warm compress to the eyes to treat any blepharitis

  • Using glasses more often and giving your eyes a break from contact lenses

  • Artificial tears to treat any dry eye and flush the eye of anything that may be causes irritation. It is particularly important to flush the eye with plenty of water if you have had a chemical injury.

  • Antihistamines taken as eye drops or orally can be used if the pain is due to allergic conjunctivitis

  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointment can be taken to treat pain caused by a bacterial conjunctivitis

  • Corticosteroids are used in the treatment of chemical injuries, optic neuritis and iritis.


What does uveitis pain feel like?


Uveitis pain is due to inflammatory cells within the eye. It can be an intense dull ache made worse when looking in the light. It can be felt inside or around the eye. Intermediate uveitis can cause floaters and blurred vision and this need to be checked out to make sure there is no retinal detachment that can present in a similar way.

Can lack of sleep cause eye pain?


When we sleep the eyes remain closed allowing its outer surface to recover and rejuvenate. A lack of sleep can cause dry eyes and eye strain. Its good to make sure you get a good amount of sleep every night to make sure your eyes can recover from the activities of the day.


What are the symptoms of eye strain?


Eye strain is when the eyes get tired from their intense use such as prolonged periods reading or looking at a screen or driving long distances.. It is a common complain in the United States, Europe and around the world. It isn't usually serious and will go away after a period of rest. You should visit your optician if you have persistent eye strain to see if you need glasses or if your current glasses prescription needs changing. Symptoms include:

  • Sore or tired eyes

  • Burning and itching

  • Blurred vision

  • Sore shoulders, back pain or neck pain

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Dry eyes or watery eyes

Double vision or sensitivity to light would need to be assessed by your eye doctor to ensure there is not anything more serious.


What is the stabbing pain in my eye?


A sharp stabbing or sudden pain in the eye can be to a foreign body or debris entering the eye. It may be associated with watering or a red eye. Other more serious causes include uveitis, glaucoma and optic neuritis.


Is eye pain the sign of a stroke?


A stroke in the eye is more accurately known as a retinal artery occlusion. They are usually painless and present with a drop in vision, a loss of the upper or lower visual field or a loss of contrast. Eye pain in itself is rarely the sign of a stroke.


Is pain behind the eye serious?


Most eye pain is not serious and can settle on its own or with self help remedies such as a warm compress or artificial tears. Warning sigs to look out for include:

  • Pain that is severe

  • Being unable to touch your eye due to the pain

  • Being unable to sleep at night due to pain

  • Sensitivity to light

  • A drop in vision

  • Double vision

  • Contact lens use

  • Developing a fever with the pain

  • Nausea or vomiting with the eye pain

These would require you to see your ophthalmologist. Mr Ahmad Aziz can assess you at his private eye clinic at Central London locations in and around Harley Street.


What does optic neuritis feel like?


People report optic neuritis as a pain that is made worse with movement of the eye. It has been described as a dull ache that can become sharp with the eye moving. It can also present with vision loss or loss of the upper or lower visual field and requires an urgent assessment.

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