Why Do I Have Sore Eyes? Causes and Prevention Tips

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Sore eyes
Credit: iStock.com/Srisakorn

Have you been suffering from the discomfort and pain associated with sore eyes? This includes having eyes that are consistently sore, have an itchy sensation, feel dry, and tear up more often than is normal. There are many possible causes behind a sore eyeball. These could include the effects of medication, allergies and infections that lead to excessive rubbing, inner-eyelid cysts, trauma to the eyes, or exposure to light.

Sore eyes, or a sore eyeball, are often linked to dry eye syndrome. The symptoms can cause either mild annoyance or painful disruptions in your life.

Rest assured that there are conventional and natural treatments that can reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

What Are the Causes of Sore Eyes?

Some sore eye causes might be seasonal, like allergies to pollen. Others could be more serious medical conditions that need immediate attention.


A number of medications have side effects that include “dry or itchy eyes.” These include, but are not limited to, diuretics, antihistamines, nasal decongestants, hormones, antidepressants, pain relievers, acne medications, and eye drops.


Typically, airborne irritants like pollution, chemical smoke, pollen, and others can cause allergies. The symptoms can include irritated, dry, or watery eyes.


There are many different infections that can cause sore eyes. Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, and viral infections like colds can cause sore eyes.

Bright Screens

This is not merely limited to your desktop PC or laptop. Eyes can be strained in order to protect them from excessive light from smartphones, tablets, televisions, and other display screens.


There are a variety of direct and indirect ways to cause trauma to the eyes. Impact from playing sports or the overuse of contact lenses, for instance, might cause direct damage to the eyes. An indirect cause of soreness or irritation in the eyes might include dehydration.

Serious Conditions

There could be more serious underlying medical conditions that are the cause of eye pain. Among these are optic neuritis, uveitis, iritis, and orbital cellulitis. In these cases, a medical doctor should be sought out immediately.

Symptoms of Sore Eyes

There are many noticeable sore eyeball and sore eye symptoms. For example, you may feel chronic discomfort, a burning or gritty sensation, sensitivity to light, eye pain, or general soreness.

On visual inspection, eyes can appear bloodshot with signs of redness. A discharge from the eyes may make your eyelids stick together after sleeping.

Other parts of your body can also be affected, such as having a runny nose, sore throat, and sore lymph glands.

How Long Can Symptoms Last?

The length of time that sore eyes or sore eyeball last varies depending on the condition causing your sore eyes, as well as the effectiveness in applying treatment options.

If precautions like proper rest, diet, adequate fluid intake, and avoiding further eye strain are taken, then symptoms may take up to two weeks to abate. If the cause of sore eyes is something minor, like insufficient rest at night, the problem might be solved after a night or two of quality sleep.

When an infection like viral conjunctivitis is causing your sore eyes, the symptoms may last a few days to two weeks; however, bacterial conjunctivitis can last a month or longer.

Natural Remedies to Treat Sore Eyes

You might be wondering how to cure sore eyes fast and naturally. Several natural remedies may be used to treat some of the more common causes of sore eyes.

Remember that if symptoms persist, medical attention should be sought immediately. Also, always be mindful of potential allergies and drug interactions.

1. Cucumber Slices

Cucumber slices have long been known to have fantastic anti-inflammatory properties for eye irritation.

All you need is two slices of cucumber. Soak them in cold water for a few minutes, and then place them on your closed eyelids for about 10 minutes.

2. Calamansi Juice

Use one to two drops of calamansi (a Southeast Asian lime) juice, and mix it with a few drops of water to dilute it. Place it into the eyes and roll the eyeball around a few times; then rinse out with water.

The antimicrobial citric acid could help clear an infection.

3. Cold Compress

You can splash cold water onto your eyes and then place an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or something else that is cold (frozen vegetables, steak, etc.) on your eyes.

This effect can also be achieved with a spoon by placing it in the freezer.

4. Rose Water

Rose water might make a unique cooling agent for the eyes. Just dip cotton balls into rose water, and place onto the closed eyelids for about 10 or 15 minutes. Repeat two to three times daily.

5. Aloe Vera Gel

If you have fresh aloe gel, by watering it down and then soaking cotton balls into the solution, you may get a potent healing solution that is good for sore eyes.

Simply place the cotton balls onto your closed eyelids for about 10 minutes to gain relaxation and a soothing effect.

6. Castor Oil

Castor oil is actually an ingredient in many eye drop varieties. It has antimicrobial properties, so using an eye-dropper to place a drop in each eye two times a day could be very helpful.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Try soaking cotton balls in a mix of apple cider vinegar and water and placing them on your eyelids for 10 minutes one or two times a day.

The malic acid in apple cider vinegar may combat bacteria affecting the eyes.

8. Honey and Milk Solution

Honey is known for its antibacterial activity, which studies indicate may extend to treating conjunctivitis and similar eye infections.

Put two or three drops of honey in warm milk, and then use an eyedropper to place a drop or two directly onto your eyeballs. You will need to keep your eyes closed for about two minutes; then, wash out your eyes with water. Perform twice daily for optimal results.

9. Baking Soda

Baking soda is known to kill infectious agents of the eyes, so by placing a teaspoon in a glass of water and holding your eye directly over the glass, you may get some relief.

Remember to rinse your eyeballs out afterwards using clean water.

10. Epsom Salt

The soothing antimicrobial nature of Epsom salts may work well for the eyes. Simply place a teaspoon of Epsom salt in hot water, and soak cotton balls in the mix.

Place on the eyes for a few minutes; then, rinse your eyes with cold water.

11. Potato Juice

Squeeze the antimicrobial juice out of a potato and onto cotton balls; then, place the cotton balls on the eyelids for about 15 minutes just before bed.

12. Guava Leaves

Guava leaves can be boiled and placed on underneath a damp facecloth. This will make a hot compress that you can place on the eyes for about 10 minutes.

13. Turmeric Eyewash

Take warm water, and add half a teaspoon of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial spice turmeric.

Once it is completely mixed, you can place a drop into each eye. This could be done twice daily in order to decrease swelling.

14. Coriander Juice

Coriander is a popular Ayurveda remedy for eye infections due to its astringent properties.

If you can grind coriander leaves until you get juice, put the juice into an eyedropper and carefully place two drops in each eye twice a day.

Lifestyle Remedies to Treat Sore Eyes

There are a variety of simple tips that, if followed, will help treat your sore eyes:

  • Keep your hands and eyes clean, as the hands can be a source of continual infection.
  • Do not use contact lenses when eyes are sore to avoid aggravating symptoms.
  • Avoid wearing cosmetics until the problem has subsided.
  • Use a hot compress to help with discomfort.
  • If prescribed, take any medication including antibiotics.
  • If you have a cough or a runny nose, avoid contact with other people.
  • Avoid watching screens (computer, phone, TV) for prolonged periods of time.

How to Prevent Sore Eyes?

You can also be proactive in preventing instances of sore eyes with the following tips:

  • Always keep your hands clean.
  • Avoid hand contact with your face.
  • Do not share any cosmetics, toiletries, or other personal items.
  • Discard used tissues and keep a clean supply of handkerchiefs.
  • Discard used cosmetics if you have any viral infection like pink eye.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses.
  • Do not touch your eyeball with the tips of eye drops.
  • Keep your living area, room, and bathrooms clean.
  • Launder your clothes, linens, bedding, pillow cases, and everything else.
  • Never reuse contact lens solution. Always discard contact lenses in the stated timeframe (use fresh lenses monthly for monthly disposables etc.).
  • Always wear properly fitting swim goggles or avoid swimming in chlorinated pools.
  • Always stay properly hydrated, and avoid smoking or smoke-filled rooms.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Always get proper, restful sleep.
  • Limit time spent at the computer or looking at your smartphone.

Also Read:

Article Sources (+)

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