What causes pain in eye movement and how to treat it?

Symptom Database

Eye movement pain, also known as eye pain or eye movement discomfort, can be a distressing and bothersome symptom. It can range from a mild annoyance to a severe and debilitating condition. Understanding the causes of eye movement pain and knowing how to treat it can help alleviate the discomfort and improve overall eye health.

Causes of Eye Movement Pain

Eye strain, also referred to as eye fatigue or eye discomfort, is a common cause of pain during eye movement. This occurs when the eyes are overworked or subjected to prolonged periods of intense visual activity. Some common causes of eye strain include:

  • Extended periods of reading or using digital devices without taking breaks
  • Poor lighting conditions
  • Incorrect prescription glasses or contact lenses
  • Working in front of a computer screen for long hours

Eye strain can lead to pain and discomfort when moving the eyes, as the muscles responsible for eye movement become fatigued and strained. Additionally, dry eyes can contribute to eye movement pain, as the lack of proper lubrication can cause irritation and discomfort.

Treating Eye Movement Pain

Fortunately, there are several remedies and treatments available to alleviate eye movement pain and discomfort. Here are some effective strategies:

1. Take Regular Breaks

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent eye strain and reduce eye movement pain is to take regular breaks from activities that require intense visual focus. For every 20 minutes of screen time or reading, take a 20-second break to look at something in the distance. This helps relax the eye muscles and reduce strain.

2. Adjust Lighting Conditions

Proper lighting is crucial for maintaining healthy eyes and reducing eye strain. Ensure that the lighting in your workspace is adequate and avoid harsh, direct lighting that can cause glare. If necessary, use a desk lamp or adjust the brightness settings on your digital devices to reduce eye strain.

3. Use Corrective Eyewear

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure your prescription is up to date. Wearing incorrect prescription eyewear can contribute to eye strain and discomfort during eye movement. Consult with an optometrist to ensure your corrective lenses are providing optimal vision and comfort.

4. Practice the 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule is a helpful guideline to prevent eye strain. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This helps reduce the strain on the eye muscles and allows them to relax and refocus.

5. Use Artificial Tears

If dry eyes are contributing to your eye movement pain, using artificial tears can provide relief. These lubricating eye drops help moisturize the eyes and reduce irritation. Consult with an eye care professional to determine the best type of artificial tears for your specific needs.

6. Practice Eye Exercises

Performing regular eye exercises can help strengthen the eye muscles and reduce eye strain. Some simple exercises include rolling your eyes in a circular motion, focusing on objects at different distances, and blinking frequently to keep the eyes lubricated.

7. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can contribute to overall eye health and reduce eye movement pain. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and stay hydrated. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as these can negatively impact eye health.

When to Seek Medical Attention

In most cases, eye movement pain can be relieved with the aforementioned remedies and lifestyle changes. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it is important to seek medical attention. This is especially true if you experience additional symptoms such as blurred vision, sensitivity to light, or eye redness.

An eye care professional can conduct a comprehensive eye examination to determine the underlying cause of the pain and recommend appropriate treatment. They may prescribe medicated eye drops, suggest vision therapy, or provide other specialized treatments based on the specific condition.

It is important to prioritize eye health and address any discomfort or pain during eye movement promptly. By following the tips and strategies mentioned above, you can alleviate eye strain, reduce eye movement pain, and maintain optimal eye health.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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