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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Eye Pain? Here are 7 possible causes

The eye is one of the most delicate organs of the human body. It is composed of a number of complex components that are sensitive and easily irritable.

When any pain or discomfort is experienced around this region, chances are that one or more following components of the eye are affected:

  1. Cornea : Transparent layer that covers the outer portion of the eye

  2. Sclera: The white part of the eye that surrounds the cornea and serves as an extension all the optic nerve.

  3. Conjunctiva: It is the outer clear covering that protects the sclera, the front surface of the eye.

  4. Iris: It is a thin pigment muscular layer that lies between the cornea and the lens. It controls the diameter and size of the pupil (part of the exposed lens).

  5. Orbit: It is a bonus cavity or socket in which the eye is enclosed. It protects the eye components and functions.

  6. Eye muscles: They are known as extraocular muscles and are composed of six muscles that control the eye and eyelid movements.

  7. Optic nerve: It is known as the second cranial nerve as it transfers the information of visions from the retina to the brain to translate through electric impulse.

  8. Eyelid: It is a thin layer of folded skin that protects the eye.

In conclusion, if any of these components get infected, inflamed or damaged, it will cause eye problems that lead to pain and irritation.

: Eye anatomy

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Caption: components of the eye

Common Eye Problems: Types And Causes

They include the following:

1.   Conjunctivitis

This condition is also known as pink eye and occurs when the conjunctiva gets infected. As a result, the blood vessels in the conjunctiva get inflamed and this is why the white area turns reddish-pink as the name suggests.

Infection is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It irritates, burns the eye and in rare cases, it could even affect your vision.

Other symptoms include grittiness, itchiness, eye discharge and excessive tearing. Conjunctivitis is also highly contagious and hence the patient should be kept in isolation.

: eye sick blue

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Caption: pink eyes.

2.   Blepharitis

Blepharitis occurs due to the inflammation of the eyelids. When one eye gets infected, the other eye also tends to get infected.

The most common cause of blepharitis is when the oil glands near the base of the eyelashes get clogged. This leads to redness and irritation.

Other symptoms include watery eyes, swollen eyelids, greasy eyelids, crusted eyelashes, blurred vision and light sensitivity.

The condition is not contagious and does not cause permanent damage to the eyesight.

The person is advised to maintain care and hygiene by regularly cleaning the affected area. However, if symptoms do not improve, then you must consult the eye specialist.

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Caption: Watery eyes.

3.   Corneal ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an infection which causes an open sore to form on the cornea.

The infection is most common in lens wearers when small injuries or erosion are caused while inserting a contact lens into your eyes.

Sometimes, wearing a lens for too long could also cause a corneal ulcer. It could also be triggered by dry eyes or other eye disorders.

Symptoms include pus formation, white spotting on the cornea, tearing, soreness and light sensitivity

: lens contact eyes

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Caption: Excessive use of contact lenses

4.   Iritis

This condition causes inflammation of the iris and is also known as anterior uveitis. The iris is extremely important for vision as it controls how much light enters your pupil and thus, inflammation could severely affect vision.

The person will experience a significant pain, abnormally shaped pupil, blurry visions, headache and extremely low tolerance to bright light. When most these symptoms start to appear, a person is advised to immediately contact their eye specialist.

If not treated efficiently, it could lead to vision loss or blindness.

5.   Stye

A stye is like a pimple or bump on the lower or upper eyelid. It is usually caused when a gland located in the region of the eyelid gets blocked or plugged.

Blockage can occur when the gland is obstructed by a gland tissue or even when foreign bodies like dirt or small material clogs the gland.

Besides a significant lump, symptoms include redness, swelling and puffiness around the clogged area. It could also be followed by a thick discharge of pus that oozes out if the bump.

A stye can also lead to dry eyes as the gland, that produces oily secretions that prevent the water from escaping the eye, gets blocked.

exhausted man rubbing nose bridge

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Caption: Constant rubbing of the eyes.

6.   Corneal abrasion

It is one of the most common types of eye injury that causes a scratch in the cornea.

The scratch is usually caused when the eye is impacted by sharp objects like needles, pencils, nails or even particles in the air like dust and debris.

It most commonly occurs with people who have a habit of constantly running their eyes or constantly are in close contact with sharp objects that could damage the eye during accidents.

The cornea has two important layers: the outer Epithelial layer and the inner layer known as the Bowman’s membrane. The severity of this condition depends on the layers that are injured.

If only the other epithelium is injured, there is a high chance or healing without any permanent damage to the eye. However, if both layers are injured, it causes permanent scarring and will interfere with normal vision.

exhausted man rubbing nose bridge

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Caption: pain due to optic neuritis.

7.   Optic neuritis

It is a condition that causes inflammation or swelling of the optic nerve. As a result, it leads to blindness or partial vision loss as sensation of vision cannot be conveyed or interpreted to the central nervous system.

Inflammation of a nerve also causes excruciating or unbearable pain which worsens with continuous eye movement.

Often, it could also lead to color blindness and vivid vision.

This condition is closely linked to multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease where your own antibodies start attacking the protective layers of nerve cells, in case, the optic nerve. Other causes are linked to bacterial infections and the use of drugs or other toxic substances

Note: All of these problems can also be linked with one another or coexists. For example, a person suffering from blepharitis could also develop a stye.

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