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Why Are My Eyes Sore?


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Irritation or soreness of the eyes can be an uncomfortable sensation as well as concern in terms of your vision. The idea of any kind of damage to your eyes is undoubtedly an unpleasant one, but fortunately most conditions that cause some spontaneous soreness are easily dealt with.

What can make my eyes feel sore?

There are two general and common causes for eye soreness, allergies, and infection. The most common form of both is a condition called conjunctivitis which affects part of the eye called the conjunctiva. This part of the eye is a thin membrane that covers the eyeball, and is hence the outermost layer of the eye’s structures, making it susceptible to infections and illness.

Allergic conjunctivitis is an allergic response causing the inflammation and irritation of the conjunctiva which can be experienced as soreness. An allergic reaction occurs when you body’s natural defence mechanisms, called the immune system, respond excessively to elements in the environment (like pollen) and effectively attack your own body. Itching is probably the most common symptom of allergies, and this is no less true of allergic conjunctivitis where itching of the eye is probably the most persistent symptom.

Infective conjunctivitis is the same redness and irritation of the conjunctiva, but caused by foreign infectious bodies like viruses or bacteria. Unlike allergic conjunctivitis, the infective variety is very contagious as the causative bacteria or virus can easily be transferred from person to person. The main symptom that distinguishes between the two types of conjunctivitis is the secretion of a white, yellow, or green discharge from the eye.

Other causes of sore eyes can be overuse or dryness. Your eyes are covered by a thin coat of fluid called the tear film which lubricates and protects them. If this layer dries up, your eyes can become quite sore and gritty.

What should I do about my sore eyes?

If your soreness is caused by dryness in your eyes, then the simple and regular application of eye drops as recommended by your optician or GP is a quick and effective solution. Conjunctivitis is treated according to its cause. Conjunctivitis usually clears up on its own and tends not to affect your vision, however your GP or optician may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to either clear up a persistent infection or prevent a second one from occurring. Sometimes antihistamines are used as a treatment to relieve the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.


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