Help and frequently asked questions

Why are my eyes painful and sore at night?


Sore and painful eyes at night or in the early morning are typically signs of dry eye. As the name suggests, dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce enough tears - or they evaporate too quickly - to keep itself moist. This causes a range of symptoms, including sore, burning or watering eyes, as well as blurred vision or a feeling you have something in your eye. There are a variety of reasons why you may have developed the condition, including: Living in a hot or windy location, Hormonal changes, Blocked tear-secreting glands, Age, Certain diseases and the side effect of medications.

Purchase some lubricating drops and apply them regularly to see if this helps. You can do this before visiting an optometrist as it will provide a strong indication of whether you have dry eye or not. The symptoms should ease after a couple of days. However, if this is not the case or the symptoms have lessened but you are still in discomfort, you should book an eye exam. Sometimes it may be necessary to treat the underlying cause, so if you have a condition or are on medications that are exacerbating dry eye then your optometrist may have a solution.

For those living in hot and windy climates, eye protection is recommended, while avoiding long periods in front of computer screens can also help. In worst-case scenarios, there are surgical options that may ease dry eye, including the insertion of punctal plugs into the tear ducts to stop tears from draining. Another operation, although this is reserved for extreme dry eye cases where everything else has failed, is to graft saliva glands from the lower lip into the sides of your eyes. These act as substitute tear glands if yours are not functioning correctly.