The eye is the organ of sight. Eye pain can be cause by conditions involving the eyeball (orbit) or be caused by conditions of structures around the eye.
The cornea is the clear front window of the eye that transmits and focuses light into the eye.
The iris is the colored part of the eye that helps regulate the amount of light that enters the eye.
The pupil is the dark aperture in the iris that determines how much light is let into the eye.
The lens is the transparent structure inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina.
The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light and creates impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain.
The macula is a small area in the retina that contains special light-sensitive cells and allows us to see fine details clearly.
The optic nerve is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain and carries the impulses formed by the retina to the visual cortex of the brain.
The choroid is a thin vascular layer between the sclera and the retina that supplies blood to the retina and conducts arteries and nerves to other structures in the eye.
The vitreous humor is a clear, jelly-like substance that fills the middle of the eye.
Diseases and conditions that involve any of the above structures of the eye, as well as tissues around the eye, can cause eye pain.
Medical terms for pain in the eye are ophthalmalgia and ophthalmodynia.
Other causes of eye pain
- Corneal Abrasion
- Infections Including Herpes Viruses, Fungus, and Bacterial (Common Virus Infections Frequently Cause Eye Pain When Looking at Bright Light, Called Photophobia)
- Keratoconjuctivitis Sicca
- Object in Eye (Foreign Material, Sand, Contact Lens, Etc.)
- Sinus Problems (Polyps)
- Trauma (Direct Blow, Surgery)
- Tumors in or Around Eye (Rare)
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Common Eye Problems and Infections
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Causes of Eye Pain
Acanthamoeba is an amoeba that lives in dust, soil, and fresh, sea, and brackish water. Acanthamoeba keratitis causes eye pain, a sensation of something in the eye, and blurry vision. Acanthamoeba causes granulomatous encephalitis, leading to seizures, hallucinations, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Diseeminated infection may also result from Acanthamoeba infection.
Acanthamoeba infection of the eye can cause Acanthamoeba keratitis, a serious infection that may result in permanent vision loss or blindness. Signs and symptoms include a sensation of something in the eye, pain, redness, light sensitivity, and tearing. Prescription medications treat this infection.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Acne rosacea, staphylococcal bacteria, allergies, sensitivities to makeup or contact lens solutions, head lice, or other conditions may cause blepharitis. Symptoms and signs include itchy eyelids, burning sensation in the eyes, crusting of the eyelids, light sensitivity, red, swollen eyelids, loss of eyelashes, and dandruff of the lashes and eyebrows. Proper eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine controls blepharitis.
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The damage is more severe with second-degree burns, leading to blistering and more intense pain. The skin turns white and loses sensation with third degree burns. Burn treatment depends upon the burn location, total burn area, and intensity of the burn.
Cluster headaches are a type of headache that recurs over a period. Episodes can last one to three times a day during this time, which may last from 2 weeks to 3 months. The three main types of treatments for cluster headaches are, 1) Abortive medications that work to stop the process in the brain that causes migraines and stops the symptoms too. 2) Preventive prescription medications, or 3) surgery which involves blocking the trigeminal nerve.
The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye. If it is damaged by disease, infection, or injury, vision problems may occur. Corneal problems can be detected by having an eye exam. Corneal problems can be prevented by protecting the eyes from injury and avoiding contact with people who have eye infections.
A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea. Infection is a common cause of corneal ulcer. Symptoms and signs of corneal ulcer include redness, eye pain and discharge, blurred vision, photophobia, and a gray or white spot on the cornea. Treatment depends upon the cause of the corneal ulcer.
Crohn's Disease vs. Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that cause inflammation of part of or the entire digestive tract (GI). Crohn's affects the entire GI tract (from the mouth to the anus), while ulcerative colitis or UC only affects the large and small intestine and ilium. Researchers do not know the exact cause of either disease. About 20% of people with Crohn's disease also have a family member with the disease. Researchers believe that certain factors may play a role in causing UC. Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are a type of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis both have similar symptoms and signs, for example, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, episodic and/or persistent diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, joint pain and soreness, eye redness, or pain. Symptoms unique to Crohn’s disease include anemia and skin changes. Symptoms of unique to ulcerative colitis include, certain rashes, an urgency to defecate (have a bowel movement). Doctors diagnose both diseases with similar tests and procedures. While there is no cure for either disease, doctors and other health care professionals can help you treat disease flares, and manage your Crohn's or UC with medication, diet, nutritional supplements, and/or surgery.
Double vision (diplopia) is a symptom that my indicate Graves' disease, myasthenia gravis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, diabetes, cataracts, aneurysm, brain tumor, or migraine. Symptoms and signs include eye pain, droopy eyelids, nausea, headache, and a cross-eyed appearance. Treatment of double vision depends upon the underlying cause.
Eye Care and Eye Disorder
Many common eye disorders resolve without treatment and some may be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) products. It's important to visit a physician or ophthalmologist is the problem involves the eyeball itself or the condition hasn't improved after 72 hours of use of an eye-care OTC product.
Eye strain is a symptom caused by looking at something for a long time. Symptoms and signs include redness, light sensitivity, headaches, and blurred vision. Symptoms may be treated by closing the eyes and taking a break from the visual task.
Fever in Adults and Children
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye rises because of slowed fluid drainage from the eye. If untreated, glaucoma may damage the optic nerve and other parts of the eye, causing the loss of vision or even blindness.
Herpes Viral Infections of the Eye
Herpes of the eye occurs due to herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). Symptoms of herpes of the eye include pain in and around the eye, rash or sores on the eyelids, redness, swelling, and cloudiness of the cornea.
Iritis is inflammation of the iris, the colored portion of the eye. Symptoms include a red, painful eye, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. Treatment usually involves cortisone eyedrops.
Is a Sty Contagious?
A sty is an infected eyelash hair follicle or meibomian gland. Staph causes most styes. Styes can be treated at home with warm compresses that usually facilitate the drainage of the infection.
Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea. Symptoms and signs include pain, tearing, blurred vision, eye redness, watery eyes, or the cornea may appear gray or white. Treatment of keratitis depends upon the underlying cause of the inflammation.
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that causes symptoms such as fever, headache, and chills. Treatment for leptospirosis requires antibiotics.
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Life Expectancy
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results in symptoms that may include numbness, weakness, vertigo, paralysis, and involuntary muscle contractions. Different forms of MS can follow variable courses from relatively benign to life-threatening. MS is treated with disease-modifying therapies. Some MS symptoms can be treated with medications.
Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, the structure that connects the eye to the brain. The precise cause of optic neuritis is unknown, but it is thought to be a type of autoimmune disorder. Optic neuritis most commonly develops due to an autoimmune disorder that may be triggered by a viral infection.
Pinkeye, also called conjunctivitis, is redness or irritation of the conjunctivae, the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids and the membranes covering the whites of the eyes. These membranes react to a wide range of bacteria, viruses, allergy-provoking agents, irritants, and toxic agents.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disorder of the muscles and joints that causes pain and stiffness in the arms, neck, shoulders, and buttocks. Treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica aims to reduce inflammation with aspirin, ibuprofen, and low doses of cortisone medications.
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms are headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of sinus infections are generally with antibiotics and at times, home remedies.
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease involving the abnormal production of extra antibodies that attack the glands and connective tissue. Sjögren's syndrome with gland inflammation (resulting dry eyes and mouth, etc.) that is not associated with another connective tissue disease is referred to as primary Sjögren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome that is also associated with a connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma, is referred to as secondary Sjögren's syndrome. Though there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, the symptoms may be treated by using lubricating eye ointments, drinking plenty of water, humidifying the air, and using glycerin swabs. Medications are also available to treat dry eye and dry mouth.
A sty is a bump that forms on the eyelid as a result of a blocked gland. Styes may be caused by infections, burns, or trauma to the eyelid. Most styes resolve on their own. The application of warm compresses can speed healing. In some cases, steroid injection or incision and drainage may be necessary. Keeping the area clean and consuming a diet high in omega-3-fatty acids may help prevent the formation of styes.
A subconjunctival hemorrhage is bleeding under the eye's conjunctiva. There is usually no obvious cause for a subconjunctival hemorrhage, but it may be caused by sneezing, vomiting, infections on the outside of the eye, coughing, and clotting disorders. Symptoms and signs include blood in the white of the eye and a sense of fullness under the lid. No treatment is needed.
Uveitis is inflammation of the eye. Symptoms include blurred vision, eye pain, eye redness, photophobia, and floaters. Treatment may involve prescription eyedrops, antibiotics, and wearing dark glasses.
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