Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Why the Sore Eyes

Carlo Rivera - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – Sore eyes are such a common and recurring ailment that there have since been a lot of legends about it - both in terms of its causes and effective treatments. The stories circulating about the disease includes the horrendous and the funny. Even in this highly educated day and age, many of these stories persist.

So, how do sore eyes develop? What's the discomfort like? What treatments work? The following take on the issue by www.eyehealthweb.com gives us a clear view of the ailment:

Sore eyes can affect one or both eyes. It can feel as if a foreign object is in the affected eyes, which may also feel tired, heavy, and hard to keep open. A common cause of sore eyes is conjunctivitis (or pink eye), but the problem can also be caused by an infection, allergies, too much sun exposure, eye fatigue, or contact lens wear.


The symptoms may take different forms. Generally, these peak within three or four days and can last up to two weeks. These symptoms include: redness of the eyes, eye discomfort, burning and gritty sensation, photophobia (sensitivity to light), eye pain, difficulty opening the eyes after sleeping, eyelids stuck together after sleeping, watery eye discharge, soreness, runny nose, sore throat, soreness of lymph glands (lymph glands are the body's defensive filter; they are located behind the ears).

How does one get sore eyes? As mentioned, sore eyes can be caused by a variety of things. These include staring at a computer screen or book for too long. The eyes may become sore after a long day at work or if the person has been deprived of sleep. Also, incorrect eyeglass prescription may lead to sore eyes. Other causes are: airborne irritants such as chemicals, smoke, smog, animal dander, and pollen, excessive rubbing of eyes; inflammation caused by allergens or infections, dry eyes or inadequate lubrication of eye surface, viral infections such as the common cold, and blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).

In some cases, sore eyes may be caused by a serious condition such as optic neuritis, uveitis, iritis, or orbital cellulitis. If sore eyes are occurring daily, medical attention should be sought.


To diagnose the cause of the sore eyes, a qualified eye-care provider asks the patient some questions about the experienced symptoms. Inquiries about the patient's lifestyle, previous eye problems and diet are conducted as well. Then an eye examination is performed to check the internal and external structures of the affected eyes. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment options can be explored.


The best thing to do when having sore eyes is to seek medical attention. An eye doctor shall be contacted immediately. Treating the underlying cause of the sore eyes will cause the soreness and other symptoms to disappear, and can prevent further damage to the affected eyes. The eye doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory or antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Antiviral medications may also be in order.

To relieve discomfort at home, it may help to apply warm compresses to the affected eyes for five to ten minutes three times a day. Additional steps that can be taken to reduce the soreness include: getting more sleep at night, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, eating a well balanced diet, avoid rubbing your eyes, and taking "eye breaks" from activities that may be causing eye strain.

Depending on the cause of the sore eyes, it may be up to two weeks before any progress can be seen. For example, if the sore eyes are due to insufficient sleep, relief may come within days if the patient begins to get the proper amount of shut-eye daily. But if the eye soreness is due to conjunctivitis, relief may not come until medication cures the infection, which usually takes a week or two.

Possible complications.

Although some cases of sore eyes just resolve by themselves, others will not go away until treatment is sought. If treatment is delayed, complications can arise, including: corneal scarring, vision changes or loss of vision, spread of infection, and development of other eye problems.


Simply washing the hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water is a great start. Otherwise, touching the eyes and face must be avoided. Sharing towels, eyeglasses, sunglasses or cosmetics must be avoided, as well, as this may spread the infection.

If sore eyes develop, and the patient has been using any cosmetics that are applied to the eyes or in the area of the eye, it is best to discontinue using these products and discard them. A new set of cosmetics shall be used as soon as the condition has been treated successfully. Common surfaces, such as doorknobs and counters, shall be disinfected with diluted bleach solutions. Bleach is known to kill germs.

As eye doctors cite, care shall be taken that the tips of eye drop applicators or tubes of ointment do not touch the eyes or eyelashes while using them. This goes for all types of eye drops and ointments.

If a member of the family is infected, all surfaces, clothes, towels, pillow cases, and anything else that may have come into contact with that person shall be washed and disinfected.  If there are other symptoms, it is best to isolate the patient to prevent the spread of infection until the symptoms are relieved and treatment is successful.

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