What is eye pain?

Eye pain can be sharp, aching or throbbing, and can affect one or both eyes. Eye pain is more serious than the simple irritation one feels from a piece of dirt or small foreign object in the eye. In such cases, discomfort disappears once the foreign object is removed. The type of eye pain discussed here is more intense and longer-lasting, and can be accompanied by other symptoms. Some eye pain may be a sign of an underlying health problem or injury, and should be brought to the attention of a doctor as soon as possible.

Who is more likely to experience eye pain?

The symptom of eye pain is not associated with any particular group of people. Eye pain due to injuries can happen to anyone, particularly when protective eyewear is not used during activities that put the eyes at risk.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2018.


  • Merck Manual Professional Version. Eye Pain. Accessed 5/14/2018.
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology. Pain in Eye. Accessed 5/14/2018.
  • Fiore DC, Pasernak AV, Radwan RM. Pain in the Quiet (Not Red) Eye. American Family Phyicians 2010 Jul 1;82(1):69-73. Accessed 5/14/2018.

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