Eye pain overview

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Eye pain


Patient Information



Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis



Physical Examination

Lab Tests

Chest X Ray



Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Aditya Govindavarjhulla, M.B.B.S. [2]


Pain in the may be described as a burning, throbbing or stabbing sensation in or around the eye.[3] It can result from within the eye or from the structures around it. It can even be due to some other systemic problem or drugs used for other condition. Severe pain in the eye may be an alarming symptom to seek medical help. The goal of the primary care physician in case of eye pain will be to assess whether it is an emergency or benign condition. Pain can be due surface problems causing pain with every blink. It can even be due to the deep structures in the globe causing retrobulbar pain with movements of the eye.


Eye pain is caused by the inflammation of layers of eye. It is carried to the brain by different nerves of eye and face. Incresaed intra ocular pressure also causes pain in the eye.

Epidemiology and Demographics

There is no significant difference in occurrence of eye pain the population. It depends on the occurrence of different diseases in that population.

Risk Factors

There are no specific risk factors for eye pain. Several conditions cause inflammation and infection of eye causing eye pain.


There are multiple conditions which lead to eye pain. It is commonly confused with other symptoms like headache, sinus pain. Common causes include: Blepharitis , Corneal abrasion, Conjunctivitis , Stye, Foreign bodies, Glaucoma , Uveitis, Optic neuritis and Sinusitis.

Natural History, Prognosis and Complications

Progression of eye pain depends largely on the cause of the pain. Every cause has its own prognosis. The role of physician is to identify the cause and do the needful.



There are certain important clues that can be obtained from history of the patients. Enquiry of patient certain things will help in accaurate diagnosis and treatment.

Physical Examination

There are number of features we will observe in a painful eye depending upon the cause. various tests are performed to evaluate eye pain.Physical examination is very important in evaluation of cause and determining the prognosis. Several tests including opthalmoscopy, slit lamp examination, tonometry are done.

Laboratory Tests

There are only few tests which help in prognosis of eye pain.

Chest X Ray

This is a non specific test for eye pain. It is done only if associated respiratory symptoms are present.


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