A doctor may diagnose eye pain by using dilating drops, an instrument to gauge pressure or a slit-lamp exam, as WebMD explains. Instruments that gauge pressure are typically used to diagnose glaucoma.
The root causes of eye pain are diverse and may stem from an infection, an allergy or an injury, as WebMD notes. These conditions may affect the eye itself or some of its surrounding structures. Conjunctivitis or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the eye’s ultra-thin covering layer, is caused by an allergy or a viral or bacterial infection. Inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) may be caused by an infection or an autoimmune disease. The eye may receive a slight scratch or cut that causes strong pain, which is an injury known as a corneal abrasion.
Eye pain treatments vary because the underlying causes of the pain may be very different, as WebMD explains. Pills and eye drops are prescribed to treat glaucoma, and if the situation worsens, surgery is necessary. Antibacterial eye drops are used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, some cornea infections and some forms of iritis, and antiviral eye drops are prescribed for some cornea infections and certain forms of iritis. Regularly applying warm compresses over a period of several days is sufficient to treat styes. Corneal abrasions heal on their own, but they need to be observed closely as they heal, and antibiotic ointments may be prescribed to ease recovery.