Eye Pain and Blurred Vision

Eyes | Ophthalmology | Eye Pain and Blurred Vision (Symptom)


Eye pain is often described as burning, sharp, shooting, dull, gritty, a feeling of something in the eye, aching, pressure, throbbing, or stabbing. Sometimes eye pain is confused with other symptoms, such as a headache, sinus pain, toothache, or a migraine.

Blurred vision is an ocular symptom that causes indistinct or fuzzy visual images. Blurred vision may result from abnormalities present at birth such as near- or farsightedness that require corrective lenses (glasses) or it may signal the presence of eye disease.


The usual cause of longstanding blurred vision is a refractive error such as astigmatism (unequal curvature of the front of the eye), hypermetropia (longsightedness), or myopia (shortsightedness), all of which can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. After the age of 40, presbyopia (reduced ability to focus on near objects) becomes more common.

The most common causes of blurred vision as a result of disease are cataract and retinopathy. Other can include: glaucoma, eye infection, inflammation or injury, stroke, brain tumour, migraine or headache. A number of medications may also lead to temporary blurring of vision as a side effect (oral contraceptives, cortisone, heart medication, some antidepressants).

Causes of eye pain fall into two broad categories: ocular pain and orbital pain. Ocular pain is eye pain coming from the outer structures of the surface of the eye (conjunctivitis, corneal ulcerations, chemical burns, blepharitis) and orbital pain is described as a deep, dull ache behind or in the eye. This pain is often caused by diseases of the eye such as glaucoma, sinusitis, and migraines.


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