Eye Pain

Also known as: ophthalmalgia, ocular pain, orbital pain

What is eye pain?

Eye pain is categorized in two ways. If it impacts the eye’s surface, it is known as ocular pain. Pain within the eye is known as orbital pain. Ocular pain may present as scratching, burning or itching, whereas orbital pain can feel throbbing, stabbing, achy or gritty.

What might cause eye pain?

Eye pain can have a number of different causes, including:
  • Allergies
  • Eye infection
  • Eye inflammation
  • Pinkeye
  • A foreign object in the eye
  • Contact lens irritation
  • An eye injury
  • A sty
  • An oil gland infection (blepharitis)

How can it be treated?

Many cases of mild eye pain can be treated without medical attention. Eye drops, over-the-counter allergy medications, the removal of contact lenses or rest can all help to alleviate mild eye pain or irritation.

When should you seek medical attention?

If eye pain is severe, caused by an extreme injury or chemical exposure or is accompanied by sudden or dramatic changes in vision, seek emergency medical attention. Also see your health care provider if eye pain is accompanied by abdominal pain or vomiting.

Reviewed by: Luxme Hariharan, MD

This page was last updated on: February 12, 2020 01:37 PM

Pediatric Ophthalmology

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital specializes in pediatric eye conditions, ophthalmologic diseases and overall vision care.

Learn more

Learn more about