Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Eye pain refers to any discomfort in the area of the eye.
What is going on in the body?
Eye pain is a fairly common complaint with many possible causes. One or both eyes may be affected. Eye pain should be taken seriously, especially if vision changes also occur.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
There are many possible causes of eye pain. Common causes include:
Other causes of eye pain are also possible.
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
The healthcare provider will ask questions about:
Other questions may also be asked, depending on the situation.
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the condition diagnosed?
Diagnosis of eye pain begins with the history and physical exam. This may be all that is needed in some cases. In other cases, examination of the eyes with special equipment or tests may be needed.
Blood tests may be done if inflammation of the eye, such as uveitis, is thought to be from another condition. If a headache is the suspected cause, an imaging test may be ordered. For instance, a cranial CT scan may be ordered if a brain tumor is suspected.
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the condition?
Prevention is related to the cause of eye pain. Use of proper safety glasses during work or sports could prevent many cases of eye pain from foreign body or injury. Sports safety guidelines should be followed for children, adolescents, and adults. Frequent hand washing and not rubbing one’s eyes can often prevent eye infections. Many cases cannot be prevented.
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
Long-term effects depend on the cause of eye pain. For instance, conjunctivitis from a virus often goes away in a few days. Glaucoma and the amount of body surface area, also called BSA, that is injured\ \
What are the risks to others?
Eye pain itself is not contagious. However, if an infection such as conjunctivitis is the cause, the infection may be contagious.
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the condition?
Oral pain medications or pain-relieving eye drops, can be given for pain as needed. If acute sinusitis is thought to be the cause, antibiotics are usually given. If migraine headaches are thought to be the cause, antimigraine medications such as sumatriptan may be given. If a foreign body is the cause, the foreign body is usually removed. If glaucoma is the cause, minor laser surgery of the eye is usually advised.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects depend on the treatments used. For instance, aspirin can cause allergic reactions, stomach upset, and peptic ulcers. Laser eye surgery carries a small risk of infection, damage to the eye, and allergic reaction to the anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
After a case of conjunctivitis or foreign body, a person usually can return to normal activities right away. If glaucoma is the cause, regular lifelong monitoring may be needed. Medications or repeat surgery may be needed for glaucoma if the pressure in the eye becomes high again.
How is the condition monitored?
Monitoring may or may not be needed, depending on the cause of eye pain. For instance, eye pain from sinusitis often requires no monitoring after treatment. On the other hand, those with glaucoma often need regular monitoring. A person with glaucoma should have regular eye exams to measure the pressure inside the eye. Regular vision tests may also be used to make sure no vision loss has occurred. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.
Article type: xmedgeneral