What is eye pain? Eye pain refers to any condition in which you feel discomfort in or around one or both of your eyes. The pain may be sharp and stabbing or dull and throbbing. Your eyes may feel irritated or gritty. Eye pain may be accompanied by blurred vision, itching, redness, dry eyes, or watery eyes. Eye pain may result from trauma, allergies, and infections of the eye area, or from more generalized conditions, including migraine, upper respiratory infections, and sinus problems. The most obvious cause of eye pain is a direct injury, such as a cut or blunt impact to the eye area. A foreign body in the eye, such as a stray eyelash, a speck of dust, or a misaligned contact lens, is another common cause of eye pain. If the foreign body is just on the surface of the eye and not embedded, it can be washed away by your tears or artificial tears, and the irritation should resolve quickly. More serious trauma or embedded objects require treatment from a health care professional. Eye pain can be caused by a variety of eye diseases and disorders that causes inflammation, either from infection or allergies. Localized inflammations or infections, including stye or hordeolum, can occur at the base of the eyelashes. The cornea, or clear “window” over the front of the eye, can also get inflamed or infected and cause pain. Because any scarring of the cornea can affect your vision, it is crucial to see your health care provider for any condition involving the cornea. Some causes of eye pain can be dangerous to your vision or your health, such as acute angle-closure glaucoma, optic neuritis, fracture of the orbital bones, and a severe infection called cellulitis. Because your eyes are so important to the quality of your life, it is always a good idea to contact your health care provider for any bothersome eye symptoms. In some cases, eye pain is associated with serious or life-threatening conditions. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have eye pain following trauma, if anything has penetrated or is embedded in your eye, if you have sudden loss or change in vision, or if you have swollen, red or purple eyelids along with a fever. Seek prompt medical care if your eye pain is persistent or causes you concern.