Help and frequently asked questions

What does it mean if I experience shooting pain in my eye?


Just like other parts of the body, the eyes can exhibit physical symptoms of pain from time to time. In some cases this is no cause for alarm, but other times you may need more urgent medical attention. Eye pain can take many forms. If you feel a stabbing, sharp or shooting type of pain around or in the eye area this can be caused by many different factors. If the pain originates from an area on one eyelid that is also tender, you may have a stye.

A stye is an inflammation of the eyelid caused by a blocked gland or a bacterial infection, and it is usually not harmful on its own. It will go away without any further treatment, but applying a warm compress to the area may help.

Blepharitis can also cause pain around the eye as well as swollen eyelids and irritated eyes. This condition is caused by an inflammation of the eyelid and needs to be managed on a long-term basis by improving eyelid hygiene. In other cases, your eye may feel painful because something foreign has gotten into it and caused irritation. For example, an abrasion on the cornea (the clear surface covering the front of your eye) can be caused by objects coming into contact with your eye. The cornea can also become infected from any actions that may cause bacteria to spread, such as wearing contact lenses in overnight.

Migraine headaches and sinus infections can also cause pain around the delicate eye area. If you experience shooting pains behind only one eye, this may be an indication of neuralgia (pain felt along a particular nerve) and you should see a doctor for more advice. However, if you do notice sudden pains or changes in your eye area, make sure to see your optometrist for more advice. Pains that emerge as headaches or around the temples may not affect your vision or eyes, so it's best to see a doctor in this case.

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