How Is Eye Pain Treated?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, November 4, 2021

Eye pain should never be ignored.

Note: It is important to seek immediate medical attention for sudden eye pain or vision loss, as this can signal a serious medical emergency.

Eye pain comes in many forms. In order to properly diagnose and treat your eye pain, it is important to consult with an eye doctor who can thoroughly examine your eye, determine the underlying cause of your pain and provide an effective treatment plan.

Types of eye pain

Eye pain can present in several ways:

  • Sharp, stabbing sensation
  • Dull ache
  • Mild to severe irritation
  • Burning
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness or bloodshot eyes

If a chemical splashes into the eye, seek immediate medical attention.

How is eye pain treated?

Home care

There’s a reason why the saying ‘Rest is Best’ is so popular.

Resting gives the body a chance to heal— and when it comes to the eyes, resting is a proven way to alleviate mild to moderate eye pain— especially when it is caused by muscle strain following prolonged near work activities.

Since prolonged screen time can lead to eyestrain, resting your eyes after a long day at work or hours of gaming, can definitely be beneficial.

Warm compresses

Warm compresses are soothing to the eyes, and can help relieve pain caused by dry eyes, styes, blepharitis and other external eye conditions.

A warm compress will also help to loosen any debris along your eyelashes and eyelids and help to open up any clogged glands.

Flushing the eye

Flushing or rinsing the eye with saline solution or clean water is an important first aid treatment if a foreign body or chemical gets into the eye.

Only flush the eye with clean and clear water or saline solution.

Flushing the eye will help to eliminate the foreign body, as well as reduce irritation.

Corrective eyewear

If your eye pain is caused by a refractive error, such as astigmatism or hyperopia, your eye doctor will prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to improve vision clarity and alleviate discomfort.

Applying anti-glare coatings to your lenses or purchasing lenses with blue light filters can further reduce your eye pain.

All day contact lens wear can also cause eye pain from dry eyes or irritation. Try reducing the amount of time you wear your contact lenses each day or using a lubricating eye drop to replenish hydration.

If you are experiencing any form of eye pain, contact an eye doctor near you.

SEE RELATED: When is Blurred Vision a Medical Emergency?

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Antibiotic eye drops

Eye infections and corneal abrasions can be quite painful. If you think you have an eye infection or may have gotten scratched or poked in the eye, schedule an eye exam as soon as possible.

Your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to eliminate the infection or prevent one from occurring.

Antibiotic eye drops are often combined with lubricating eye drops to further reduce the pain.

Antihistamine eye drops 

Eye allergies can cause your eyes to feel itchy, dry, watery and irritated. Fortunately, these symptoms are often relieved with antihistamine eye drops and oral medications.

Glaucoma eye drops

If you have glaucoma and experience sudden eye pain, seek immediate medical attention. 

Glaucoma eye drops help to lower the pressure within the eye, as well as maintain a healthy eye pressure to control the glaucoma and reduce the risk of vision loss.


Corticosteroids are often prescribed for serious internal eye infections such as optic neuritis and anterior uveitis or iritis.

Pain relief

If your eye pain is severe and impacting your daily performance, your doctor can prescribe a pain reliever to provide some relief while the underlying condition is addressed.

Eye surgery

Although rare, in some cases, surgery may be required to treat any damage caused by a corneal abrasion or burn.

If you are experiencing any form of eye pain, immediately contact an eye doctor near you.

LEARN MORE:  Guide to Blurry Vision and Headaches 

All forms of eye pain require medical attention from an eye doctor to determine the source of the pain and to obtain the most effective treatment plan.