What Are the Possible Causes of an Eye Ache?

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According to WebMD, possible causes of eye pain include irritation from debris, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, corneal abrasions, sinusitis or styes. The pain can originate from any area of the eye or its surrounding tissues, including the cornea, eyelids, inner nerves, iris or extraocular muscles. It is important to see a doctor about eye pain to assess accompanying symptoms and determine an appropriate treatment plan.

A doctor is likely to ask about additional symptoms that occur with eye pain, such as eye discharge, swelling, compromised vision, headaches, sensitivity to light, tears or nausea, notes WebMD. Several conditions are caused by bacterial infections or have the potential to become infected if they are not treated quickly. For example, corneal abrasions and the presence of foreign bodies can cause damage to the eye area and allow for bacteria to grow. Conditions such as pink eye, styes, blepharitis and keratitis must be treated with medications, such as antibacterial drops, to prevent the spread of infection.

Other conditions, such as glaucoma, iritis and uveitis, are caused by internal changes within the eye that cause increased pressure and can sometimes lead to blindness if not treated appropriately. WebMD explains that eye doctors use a range of tests to look inside the structures of the eye and detect pressure changes that may indicate a serious health concern.