Do you have pain in your eyes? Well, the problem is common after a long day’s work staring at a computer or working outside in the elements and the pollution. Eye infections can also cause pain.
The eyes are one of the most sensitive organs you have, so even mild pain can become the cause of worry. Moreover, when it comes to eye health, nobody wants to take a risk.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines pain in the eyes as a physical discomfort due to an eye condition or injury (1).
Eye pain, also known as ophthalmalgia, can fall into two categories – ocular pain and orbital pain, depending on where you experience the pain.
- Ocular pain occurs on the eye’s surface and you may feel scratchy, burning or itching sensations. Such eye pain is caused by irritation from a foreign object in the eye, conjunctivitis, irritation from contact lenses, corneal abrasion, injury, blepharitis or a sty.
- Orbital pain occurs deeper within the eye and feels achy, gritty, stabbing or throbbing. This type of pain can be due to glaucoma, optic neuritis, sinusitis, migraines, penetrating injuries to the eye and iritis, to name a few.
When eye pain is due to some minor issue, it will fade with no or mild treatment. In the meantime, you can try some simple and effective remedies to reduce the pain and improve your eye health.
Caution: If you begin experiencing vision loss in addition to eye pain, or pain caused by trauma or exposure to a chemical or light, then see your doctor immediately.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for eye pain.
If you feel there is some kind of foreign object in your eye that is causing the pain, try the blinking exercise.
Regular blinking will improve the flow of tears, which will help remove the foreign object. Also, regular blinking improves blood circulation to the eyes and reduces eye strain.
- Close your eyes fully and count to 2.
- Then, squeeze the eyelids together and again count to 2.
- Finally, open your eyes and count to 2.
- Repeat a few times until you get relief from the pain.
To keep your eyes healthy, you must make a conscious effort to blink your eyes more often when using your computer or mobile devices.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends using the 20/20/20 rule, that is, for every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something that is at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds (2).
2. Flushing with Saline Water
Another easy remedy for eye pain is flushing the eye with water. With exposure to a foreign body or chemical, it is important to thoroughly flush the eyes with lukewarm distilled water or a saline solution.
Flushing will help clear the foreign body or chemical from your eye, which in turn will reduce the pain.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of distilled water.
- Boil the solution and allow it to cool completely.
- Use it to thoroughly rinse or flush the affected eye.
- Do this home treatment a couple of times a day.
Note: If possible, use distilled water since tap water may contain chemicals and impurities.
3. Cold Compress
Applying cold compresses over the eye with the pain can help you get instant relief. It will also provide relief from itchiness, which can be due to some kind of allergy.
Cold compresses also help alleviate the discomforts associated with eye infections.
- Soak a cloth in ice cold water, wring it out and place it over your eyes. Remove it after 5 minutes and repeat a few more times.
- Alternatively, wrap some ice cubes in a clean cotton towel. Place it over your closed eyelids and remove it after 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
4. Warm Compress
If you have blepharitis or a sty that is causing the eye pain, try warm compresses. A warm compress will help clear the clogged oil gland or hair follicle and accelerate the healing process.
Once the blepharitis or sty is healed, the pain will go away.
- Dip a soft cloth in warm water and wring out the excess moisture.
- Place the warm towel over your closed eyelids.
- Relax and breathe slowly for 1 minute.
- Change the washcloth and repeat the process 3 or 4 times.
- Use this treatment 1 or 2 times daily.
5. Massage Therapy
If your eyes are strained and causing pain due to working for hours in front of a laptop or computer screen, try massaging therapy. Massage also helps deal with pain due to a migraine.
- Rub some lukewarm olive oil on your palms.
- Using your fingers, gently massage the eyelids and muscles above the eyebrows for about 10 seconds.
- Then massage your lower eyelids against the lower bones for about 10 seconds.
- Finally, massage the temples and upper cheekbones for another 10 seconds
- Do this 1 or 2 times daily.
The simple technique of palming is great to relax strained and painful eyes. This technique is especially helpful when your eyes become tired and painful after reading or spending too much time in front of your desktop, laptop or television screen.
- Sit up straight in a comfortable position.
- Rub your palms together to warm them up.
- Place your warm palms over your closed eyelids, but do not apply too much pressure.
- Relax and enjoy the darkness for about 30 seconds.
- Slowly open your eyes and look around.
- Repeat the process 3 to 5 times at a sitting.
When it comes to herbal treatments for eye pain due to some kind of infection, nothing can be better than eyebright.
The infection-fighting and fluid-drying power of eyebright will prevent the infection from spreading and promote healing.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine notes that euphrasia single-dose eye drops is effective for various conjunctival conditions (3).
- Simmer 1 teaspoon of eyebright herb in 1 cup of water for about 10 minutes. Allow it to cool. Strain the solution using a clean cheesecloth and use it as an eye wash. Repeat a couple of times daily.
- Alternatively, you can use homeopathy euphrasia 10% eye drops to get rid of eye irritation or inflammation. Put one drop in each eye a few times a day until the infection clears.
8. Rose Water
Rose water is a well-known home remedy when it comes to relieving eye pain as well as soreness and tiredness.
It also has powerful antiseptic properties, which can prevent and treat different types of eye infections.
- Put 2 drops of pure rose water directly in your eyes using a dropper. Do it twice a day.
- Alternatively, mix 3 or 4 drops of rose water in some distilled water. Use it to rinse your eyes a few times a day.
9. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver can be used for prompt action against highly infectious viruses and bacteria that cause eye infections, leading to pain and irritation.
Colloidal silver has tiny silver particles suspended in water that help remove infected cells by attracting them electromagnetically. These infected cells are then sent into the bloodstream to be eliminated. This is one reason why commercial eye drops have colloidal silver as one of the main ingredients.
- Put 2 drops of colloidal silver in each eye.
- Blink a little.
- Use it twice a day until the infection clears.
10. Protect Your Eyes
The best way to prevent eye pain from occurring is to take proper care of your eyes.
- Staring at a computer screen or television can cause eye strain and pain, so take frequent breaks from screen time.
- Wear goggles while working with hand tools, power tools or industrial chemicals.
- When in a dusty environment, wear goggles to prevent small particles and dust from entering your eyes.
- Wear safety glasses while playing sporting, such as basketball, racquetball and tennis.
- When using potent chemicals, such as cleaning fluids, ammonia and detergents, keep them away from your eyes.
- When using spray chemicals, point the nozzle away from your eyes at all times.
- If you suspect a foreign body in the eye, do not rub the eye vigorously. Instead, use the remedies above to remove it.
- For mild cases of eye discomfort, stop doing whatever you are doing, close your eyes and let them rest.
- Antibacterial drops may be used to treat eye infections like conjunctivitis and corneal abrasions.
- Take oral antihistamines if the pain is due to some kind of allergy.
- If you wear contact lenses, use proper routine eye care to prevent contact lens-related eye injuries. When you have eye pain, give your corneas time to heal by wearing your glasses instead.
- Avoid using eye makeup when you have an eye infection.
- Wear sunglasses when going out in the sun during the day.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can contribute to more frequent eye strain and pain.
- Get your eyes checked regularly by a specialist to make sure your eyes are healthy.
- If the eye pain persists for a longer period, seek your doctor’s advice.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. Pain in Eye. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/symptoms/pain-in-eye-3. Published January 02, 2016.
- Computers, Digital Devices and Eye Strain. American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/computer-usage. Published March 01, 2016.
- Prospective Cohort Trial of Euphrasia Single-Dose Eye Drops in Conjunctivitis. A Definition for Wildness | Ecopsychology. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2000.6.499.
- Anti-inflammatory and Antihistaminic Study of a Unani Eye Drop Formulation. Ophthalmology and Eye Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3661513/. Published 2010.