What are the possible causes and remedies for eye pain?

Symptom Database

Eye pain, also known as eye discomfort, eye soreness, or eye irritation, can be a distressing symptom that affects individuals of all ages. It can manifest as a dull ache, a sharp pain, or a feeling of pressure in or around the eyes. Eye pain can be accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, swelling, sensitivity to light, and even blurred vision. Understanding the possible causes of eye pain and knowing the remedies can help alleviate discomfort and promote overall eye health.

Causes of Eye Pain

There are several potential causes of eye pain, ranging from minor irritations to more serious underlying conditions. Some common causes include:

Eye Strain and Fatigue

Eye strain and fatigue are common causes of eye pain, especially in today’s digital age. Prolonged use of electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets can lead to eye strain and fatigue. Staring at screens for extended periods can cause dryness, redness, and aching eyes. Taking regular breaks, practicing the 20-20-20 rule (looking away from the screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds), and using artificial tears can help alleviate eye strain and fatigue.


Allergies can cause eye irritation and discomfort. Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, can trigger symptoms like itchy, red, and watery eyes. Avoiding allergens, using over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops, and keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons can provide relief from eye pain caused by allergies.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. This can lead to eye pain, redness, and a gritty sensation. Using artificial tears, avoiding dry environments, and using a humidifier can help alleviate dry eye symptoms.

Eye Infections

Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), can cause eye pain, redness, swelling, and discharge. These infections can be viral, bacterial, or allergic in nature. It is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment of eye infections.

Foreign Objects

Foreign objects, such as dust, debris, or contact lenses, can cause eye irritation and pain. If a foreign object enters the eye, it is important not to rub the eye, as this can cause further damage. Instead, rinse the eye with clean water or saline solution and seek medical attention if the pain persists.

Remedies for Eye Pain

While the specific remedies for eye pain depend on the underlying cause, there are some general measures that can help alleviate discomfort:

Rest and Relaxation

Resting the eyes and allowing them to relax can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Taking regular breaks from screen time, practicing eye exercises, and getting enough sleep can promote eye health and alleviate pain.

Warm Compresses

Applying a warm compress to the eyes can help relieve eye pain caused by dryness, inflammation, or infection. The warmth can increase blood circulation and soothe the eyes. Simply soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring out the excess, and place it gently over closed eyes for a few minutes.

Artificial Tears

Using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can help alleviate dryness and soothe irritated eyes. These drops can provide temporary relief from eye pain and discomfort.

Proper Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene can help prevent eye infections and reduce the risk of eye pain. Avoid touching the eyes with dirty hands, regularly clean contact lenses, and avoid sharing eye makeup or personal eye care items.

Medical Intervention

If the eye pain persists or is accompanied by severe symptoms such as vision changes, severe redness, or discharge, it is important to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can properly diagnose the underlying cause of the eye pain and recommend appropriate treatment.


Eye pain can be caused by various factors, ranging from minor irritations to more serious conditions. Understanding the possible causes and remedies for eye pain can help individuals alleviate discomfort and promote overall eye health. By practicing good eye hygiene, taking regular breaks from screen time, and seeking medical attention when necessary, individuals can maintain healthy and pain-free eyes.

Haroon Rashid, MD
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Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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