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Why Do My Eyes Hurt?

Do you ever get a splinter and suddenly find it more annoying than anything? Sometimes the smallest irritations can feel the worst. The same is true for your eyes. When your eyes hurt, suddenly everything hurts. 

Eye pain can be uncomfortable and distracting, and sometimes even cause for great alarm. 

However, there are many simple explanations as to why your eyes might hurt- like dirty contacts or a stye, for example. Most of the time, eye pain isn’t the end of the world, but it should always be taken seriously. 

Today we’re covering all your burning questions, like, “Why do my eyes hurt?” and “When should I see a doctor about eye pain?” so keep scrolling to learn more about eye pain and what to do about it. 

Common Causes of Eye Pain & How to Treat Them

Like we mentioned above, there are several reasons you might be experiencing eye pain. Here are a few common eye problems that could be causing you pain:

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) 

This irritation is very common, and can be caused by either allergies or infection (viral or bacterial). With this common eye problem, your eyes become swollen, red and sometimes watery. Even though it’s rare, some patients have reported experiencing eye pain as a result. 

The treatment: You can treat pink eye at home with a warm, clean compress, or with antibiotics- depending on the type of pink eye that you have. If you think you have pink eye and you’re experiencing eye pain, talk to your eye doctor about which treatment options are best for you. 


A stye is a small, painful lump resulting from a bacterial infection, that appears on either your upper or lower eyelid. This occurs when an oil gland, eyelash, or hair follicle gets infected. If you’re wondering, “Why do my eyes hurt?” this might very well be the cause. 

The treatment: For more information on what a stye is and how to treat it, check out this post here

Sinus Infection 

Eye pain is a common symptom of a sinus infection. With this infection, you may experience pain in your nose, forehead, jaw, teeth, between your eyes, or behind your eyes- all of which can also lead to having a bad headache. 

The treatment: If your eyes hurt, and you think you have a sinus infection, talk to your health professional today. They’ll likely prescribe you an antibiotic to treat the infection, or offer you an alternative like a nasal spray or over the counter pain medication. 

Computer vision syndrome

This is the result of prolonged exposure to digital devices; whether from your cell phone, tablet, laptop, gaming device or TV screen. Staring at a screen for several hours a day has been known to cause eye pain. 

The treatment: We recommend that you take regular breaks if you work on a computer, and consider looking into a pair of blue light glasses to help filter out some of the UV rays during the day. For more info on preventing digital eye strain, click here!

Foreign bodies 

Something accidentally getting in your eye- like a bit of dirt or makeup- can cause pain and irritation. 

The treatment: Gently flush your eye with artificial tears or clean water to get rid of the debris, and make sure to always use clean hands when touching the area around your eyes! 

Corneal abrasions

The official name for a “scratch on your cornea.” It might sound pretty minor, but this can hurt very, very badly. And it’s easy to do, too. You can scratch your eye by rubbing it too aggressively or accidentally getting something in it.

The treatment: If your eye hurts because of a corneal abrasion, your doctor will either place a contact on the scratch to act as a bandaid, or they will prescribe you some antibiotic eye drops to help aid healing. After this, your eyes should be pain-free after a day or two.

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Additional Ways to Prevent Eye Pain

Wear Sunglasses or Goggles

If you’re experiencing eye pain, make sure to wear protective goggles during water sports and sunglasses when you’re out and about. This helps keep your eyes safe from flying objects and particles, as well as UV rays from the sun. 

Avoid Irritants

Makeup, lotion, soap, perfumes, insecticides (and even some foods) are common eye irritants, so pay attention to the things you use most often- especially if they typically come into contact with your eyes.

Give Your Eyes a Rest

Digital eye strain can also cause irritation. If you stare at the computer for long periods of time, your eyes can become dry and sore. To prevent this, give your eyes a chance to rest throughout the day. One helpful anecdote for reducing digital eye strain is the 20/20/20 rule; every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break, and look 20 feet away.

When to See a Doctor About Eye Pain

Call your eye doctor, or seek emergency medical attention right away, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • severe or persistent eye pain
  • eye pain accompanied by a headache or fever
  • extreme light sensitivity
  • halos around lights
  • sudden vision changes
  • swelling in or around your eyes
  • trouble moving the eyes or keeping them open
  • blood (or pus) coming from your eyes

If You’re Wondering “Why Do My Eyes Hurt?” It Might Be Time to Ditch the Contacts

No matter how careful and clean you are, germs are everywhere. But according to recent studies, contact lenses are especially bad. 

More than 30 million Americans wear contact lenses, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly one in every 500 develops a vision-threatening eye infection each year. You can mitigate this risk by telling your glasses and contacts to hit the road. 

With LASIK surgery at LasikPlus, you can experience 20/20 vision in under 15 minutes with a simple procedure. And it doesn’t hurt! Your eye will be numbed with eye drops, so you won’t experience any pain or irritation.

If you’d like to learn more about this procedure, head to our blog, or call one of our vision centers today at 1.866.755.2026. We can’t wait to speak with you!