eye pain lesser known causes

Beyond Screens and Allergies: Unveiling Lesser-Known Causes of Eye Pain

Eye pain? Everyone experiences it, but not everyone knows why it comes. Let us know about the beyond-usual suspects of eye pain. Besides, we guide you to explore the hidden eye pain triggers and help you find relief.

11 Lesser-Known Causes of Eye Pain

The most common causes of eye pain are digital eye strain, allergies, eye injury, infection, and more. But have you known that eye pain can result in more than just injuries, inflammation, and infections?

1. Dry eye syndrome

Dry eye syndrome seems like a common case, but this can trigger a pain response like no other. When the eyes are not lubricated, your eyelids rub against the cornea, triggering pain receptors. Nerve sensitivity increases the irritation in the cornea, even with minor ones like dust and wind. Moreover, dry and irritated eyes can worsen your eye pain and discomfort.

2. Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches mean pain on one side of the head. Because of these intense headaches, a burning stabbing, and throbbing sensation may be felt around one side of the eye. One gets agitated and has redness in the eyes. Dropping eyelids and attacks occurring frequently can be a warning sign.

3. Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition also known as tic douloureux. Typically, you experience severe facial pain with twitching of the facial muscles. This condition also causes eye pain, followed by multiple sclerosis, strokes, or tumors. Medications like anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and pain relievers are used to treat such pain in the eyes and face.

4. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

TMJ is a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint in the lower jaw. Tenderness in the jaw muscles or difficulty chewing or sleeping can be seen. Facial swelling, headaches, eye pain, ear aches, and dizziness are other symptoms.

5. Vitamin deficiencies

Vitamin deficiencies can cause eye pain in various ways. Let’s explain more about this. Vitamin A is especially needed for night vision; its deficiency can cause eye pain associated with dry eyes, corneal dryness, and even a burning sensation in the eyes. Learn about the required eye vitamin foods for better vision.

The vitamin B complex has a pivotal role in nerve function or blood flow. Deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamine) or B12 (cobalamin) can cause optic nerve damage, the cause of eye pain. In addition, vitamin C deficiency may lead to blurry vision, cataracts, and deficiency, protecting cells from severe vision issues or eye pain. Vitamin D regulates the health of the tear film in the eyes. Its deficiency leads to dry eyes, irritation, and a burning sensation in your eyes.

6. Migraines

Migraines can trigger eye pain, with cranial nerves being irritated. Your eye muscles and nerves become hypersensitive when migraines are triggered. Migraines can irritate nerves in the temple area and increase the pain sensation in the eyes.

Migraines result in inflammation of the brain and the surrounding tissues. Also, the dilation of blood vessels in the head can cause throbbing pain and pressure in the eyes. Even ocular or retinal migraines can cause temporary vision disturbances like blind spots, zigzag lines, partial vision loss, and sensitivity to light.

7. Sinusitis

Sinusitis refers to the condition, when the sinuses, located near the eye, swell or exert pressure from the surroundings. The delicate tissues provide sensation to the face, and if it get irritated, one gets pain in the eyes.

Untreated sinusitis can result in orbital cellulitis, which can cause severe eye pain, swelling, and visual changes. Also, sinusitis can lead to dry eye syndrome by affecting the tear duct, ultimately causing the burning and discomfort sensation in the eyes.

8. Thyroid eye disease

Thyroid eye disease (TED), also known as Graves ophthalmopathy, affects tissues and eye muscles, causing eye pain. The autoimmune disorder can be seen in patients with an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).

It causes eye pain because, in the case of Graves disease, muscles are strained and inflamed, and even swollen tissues can increase pressure on the optic nerve. Even dry eyes and corneal ulcers can cause pain in the eyes.

Other symptoms of TED include double vision, difficulty moving the eyes, eyelid retracting, and even gritty feelings in the eyes. To relieve eye strain and pressure in severe cases of thyroid disease, orbital decompression surgery is done.

9. Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell arteritis is a condition when you experience inflammation in the arteries, those supplying blood to the eyes. Because of the condition, blood flow becomes less than the normal level, causing the optical nerves to have difficulty transmitting visual information to the brain,

10. Eagle Syndrome

Eagle syndrome is a rare condition resulting from the elongation or calcification of the stylohyoid ligament, causing non-specific craniofacial and eye pain. It can be treated with therapy for the eyes, and even myofascial pain dysfunction and cervical arthritis are also diagnosed with it.

11.  Can a tooth infection cause eye pain?

Though a tooth infection is not a well-known cause of eye pain, it can potentially cause triggers in the eye. It’s because nerves in our jaw and face are interconnected. An infected tooth can transmit to the eyes, through the bloodstream, or through the sinuses to the surrounding tissues of the eyes, resulting in eye pain in adverse cases. But will that cause a vision problem? No, because it’s just a side effect and transmission of the pain sensation not a defect in the eyes.

How do screens and allergies cause eye pain?

Screens and allergies are often associated with digital strain and headaches. If one uses a screen for prolonged hours, chances of eye fatigue, blurry vision, and dry eyes are possible.

Blue light exposure, reduced blinking, and focusing on a closer object for a long period have resulted in such a burning sensation in your eyes. Also, eye allergies can be a cause of eye pain. The itching, redness, and sensitivity triggered by allergens like dust mites, pollen, or pet dander inflame the thin membrane, i.e., the conjunctiva of your eyes.

To protect your eyes from eye strain, reduce your screen time by taking a break frequently. Also, adjust the screen brightness and contrast to reduce strain. Use lubricating eye drops and get your eyes checked at regular intervals to prevent any vision changes and pain in the eyes.

The most common causes of eye pain

Sharp pain in the eyes can be caused when you get diagnosed with your pain. Your eyes hurt much as there can be fluid built up in the eyes, or even when there is less than or below the minimum tear level in the eyes. A sty can also trigger eye pain as it causes a bacterial infection in your eyelids.

A corneal abrasion, when there is a scratch on the corneal surface or an injury leading to trauma, can cause prolonged pain in the eyes. A sunburn, a sinus injury, blepharitis, and your eyes hurt a lot when you have these symptoms.

Blepharitis occurs when the oil glands in the base of your eyelids are clogged, resulting in swollen and red eyes. The extruding pain can be highly contagious and needs immediate medical attention. See a doctor if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms.


Pain in the eyes is a medical condition that is also known by its alternative term, ophthalmalgia. One should be aware of why their eyes are experiencing continuous discomfort or pain. There are many possible causes of eye pain, like iritis, cataracts, and conjunctivitis.

Doctors often recommend antibiotic eye drops to give you fast relief under this condition. Apply a cold compress to the pain area to relieve the burning and itching sensation in the eyes. Schedule your comprehensive eye exam with vision concerns to know the exact causes and get comfort in your eyes.

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