What Causes Eye Aches?

Sinus infections can cause pain in and behind the eye.
Eye ache may be caused by viral conjunctivitis.
Migraines can cause orbital eye aches as pressure and pain build up around the eye area.
Eye aches can be caused by viral infections.
Bacterial infections can cause eye aches.
Anatomy of the human eye.
Eye strain can be caused by looking at a bright screen, like those on a computer or television, for an extended period of time.
Scratches to the cornea -- even minor ones -- can cause eye pain.
Watching too much television may cause eye strain and aches.
Article Details
  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2015
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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While there are many different potential causes of eye aches, there are typically three major causes that someone should consider. One of the most common causes of discomfort or aches in and around a person’s eyes is eye strain due to a great deal of time spent viewing a monitor or screen or reading in low light. Medical causes of eye pain and discomfort typically come in two basic forms, the first of which is ocular pain that comes from the surface of the eye. There are also eye aches that are often described as a dull or deep ache and pain that comes from within or behind the eye, which are called orbital pains.

Eye aches can be caused by a number of different factors, ranging from simple strain due to overuse to viral or bacterial infections. The ways in which the pains are described and other symptoms that accompany these pains typically help indicate the cause of the discomfort. Eye aches can be commonly caused by prolonged and focused use of eyes in reading under poor lighting conditions or looking at a monitor or television screen. This typically occurs when viewing a monitor at a close distance, so computer monitors can cause such strain and discomfort when looked at for several hours on end.


Ocular pain associated with eye aches can be a sign of a number of different medical conditions. These types of aches are felt along the surface of the eye. One of the most common causes of this ocular pain is conjunctivitis; this is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the membrane that lines the inner eye lid. The condition commonly called “pink eye” is a typical form of conjunctivitis caused by a viral infection of the conjunctiva. Other ocular forms of eye aches include abrasions or damage to the cornea, which is the surface of the eye, or burns caused by chemicals or bright flashes.

Orbital pains that cause eye aches typically come from within or behind the eyeball itself, and there are a number of different causes for such pain. Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of orbital pain and is the result of a buildup of intraocular pressure within the eyeball itself. Optic neuritis is also a fairly common cause of orbital pain. This is an inflammation of the optic nerve behind the eye, and can be caused by bacterial infection or multiple sclerosis. Migraines and sinus infections can also cause orbital eye aches as pressure and pain build up around the eye area.


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Post 3

I get aching eyes when I have a migraine. My migraines are severe and they will usually extend from my head down toward my eyes and ears. It's awful.

Post 2

@turkay1-- You have to see a doctor, because I don't think anyone can help you here.

When I have sinus infections, I get eye pressure and a terrible headache behind my eyes. But I don't ever remember getting a red eye, so I'm not sure.

My mom had a red eye and eye pain once and she was diagnosed with high eye pressure. That might be the case with you. So if the pain and redness continues, see an eye doctor right away. The eye is such a sensitive organ, it's best to get treatment right away whatever the cause is.

Post 1

I've had eye pain and pressure for the past three days. My left eye is red, and it aches constantly. It feels like there is something putting pressure on it.

I don't think it's an infection because there is no swelling or discharge. I've been using lubricant eye drops but it's no help.

What could be the problem?

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