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Sore eyes: Is your eye pain worse than it looks?

Some people have eye pain bad enough to want to […]

By Published On: 24 November 20173.7 min read

Some people have eye pain bad enough to want to have their eye removed. Others are suicidal. This is beyond sore eyes.

But they’re often told there’s nothing really wrong. How is this possible?

Why are my eyes sore?

Did you know that the surface of the eye has more pain receptors than anywhere else in the body? In fact, the density of pain receptors in the cornea of your eye is hundreds of times higher than skin and 40 times higher than dental pulp! Damaged nerves cause pain, which can be bad enough for some people to ask their doctors to remove their eye. That’s pretty serious.

How bad is the pain?

A recent study found that the reduction in quality of life caused by moderate to severe dry eye was equal to having severe angina or hospital dialysis. Even mild dry eye was considered as bad as severe migraine. Sufferers describe their symptoms as being like broken glass or razor blades in the eye. But very often, doctors examining the eyes cannot see signs to match the sore eye symptoms.

The chronically sore eyes…

Gritty, dry, irritated, painful eyes: sound familiar? This is something that can build over time.

  • Dry eye syndrome and blepharitis are major culprits when it comes to sore eyes.
  • The cycle of inflammation associated with this condition can be hard to break.

Artificial tears are often not adequate to relieve the soreness.

  • Another repeat offender is Recurrent Corneal Erosion. This can be triggered by a minor, but painful injury, such as a scratch from a baby’s fingernail or a leaf poking you in the eye in the garden.

The eye may appear to heal, but sudden, sharp pain can occur out of the blue even months later. This is most common on waking.

  • A third major cause of sore eyes is a reaction to preservatives in eye drops and contact lens solutions. Everyone should avoid getting preservatives into their eye. Its purpose is to kill foreign cells in order protect against infection.

The reality is that it kills or injures your eye’s delicate cells.

Sudden eye pain

Sharp or stabbing eye pain, particularly if affecting one eye, is a definite cause for concern and you should get yourself to your eye care practitioner immediately. This pain may be caused by an eyelash or torn contact lens, but more serious causes include uveitis, angle-closure glaucoma and microbial infection – all needing urgent attention. Your optometrist should be your first port of call, as they can examine your eyes using specialist equipment, diagnose the problem and make an urgent referral if you need to see an ophthalmologist.

Pain behind the eye

Sinus infection is a classic cause of pain behind the eyes, but there are other less common and more sinister reasons for this symptom. Consult your optometrist or GP about any headache or eye pain lasting more than a few hours.

What’s the best treatment for sore eyes?

At The Eye Practice, we manage painful eyes every day.

  • Our optometrists are qualified to prescribe eye drops to treat inflammation.

They can prescribe steroids and other drops to relieve the inflammation and pain you are living with.

  • It may take a course of oral antibiotics to kick start your treatment.

These work by improving the quality of your tears from the inside out.

  • Getting on top of blepharitis is also essential to pain management. Effective lid hygiene is made simple with products such as Blephadex.

We also provide a professional in-house treatment called Blephex to clear away the accumulated biofilm from your eye lid margins.

  • Changing to a preservative-free solution for your contact lenses can be a huge boon for sore eyes. Or, consider daily disposables that need no solutions. The same goes for any eyedrops you use – whether artificial tears or medicated drops (such as glaucoma drops).

There are preservative-free options available for almost every kind of eye drop.

  • This is where The Eye Practice comes into its own. We work closely with compounding pharmacies to make up special versions of your eye drops that do not contain any nasties.

The benefits can be enormous. This is one reason why we often have patients come from other states or even overseas for treatment at our practice.

Sick and tired of living with sore eyes? Come and see us. Call The Eye Practice on (02) 9290 1899 or make an appointment online today.



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