We often take our eyes for granted, don’t we? But when something like a sudden sharp pain in one or both eyes occurs, you shouldn’t ignore it. In some cases, sudden eye pain could be a sign you need emergency eye care.
The conditions that can cause sudden, sharp eye pain include:
Many of these are highly treatable with the help of an experienced optometrist.
If you ever experience sudden flashes of light, floaters, or shadows in your vision, you should call your optometrist immediately—these are often indicators that something much more serious could be developing. If your optometrist is not available, you should go to an emergency medical care facility.
Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
Glaucoma, commonly known as the silent thief of sight, is often thought of as a gradual, progressive condition—but that’s not always true.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma (closed-angle glaucoma) is less common but can be sudden and severe. It develops when the drainage space between your iris and cornea becomes too narrow, causing a sudden rise in intraocular pressure that can lead to eye pain. This pain often feels like a stabbing sensation or a dull throb near the back of your eye. It can cause steamy vision and nausea.
What Are the Symptoms of Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma?
In addition to sudden eye pain, acute angle-closure glaucoma can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Rainbows or halos around lights
Acute angle-closure glaucoma requires prompt medical attention and should not be ignored. If you’re at risk of developing glaucoma and experience any of the symptoms above, contact us for emergency eye care or visit an urgent care centre.
Dry eye disease is a common eye condition. It often feels like a stinging, burning, irritating sensation in your eye. And in extreme cases, it can cause sudden sharp pain.
Dry eyes are often related to a problem with your tear film that can leave your eyes exposed and dehydrated. If you start to experience dry, scratchy eyes and notice that you’re experiencing pain, you should visit an optometrist. Dry eye disease is considered highly treatable, and we can help you find a treatment plan that helps prevent pain.
Digital Eye Strain
When you spend too long focusing intensely on a screen, your eyes may start becoming fatigued and irritated, leading to digital eye strain.
This condition is a sign from your eyes that they’re overworked and need a break. It can also be accompanied by:
- Double vision or blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty adjusting your gaze to objects at a distance
Digital eye strain can also cause sudden pain. The symptoms of digital eye strain often go away within a few hours, but if they don’t, you should talk to an optometrist. Taking frequent breaks to look away at something else when you’re working on digital devices can also help keep your eyes from becoming too strained.
Migraines are commonly known to cause severe pain. They can also become serious enough to cause you to see flashing lights and wavy lines, or cause blurry vision. In some cases, they may also cause eye pain.
If you commonly experience migraines, you may want to speak with a doctor. When eye pain is a common symptom, speaking with an eye doctor can help you determine if something more serious is going on.
Something in Your Eye
Sometimes, the cause of sharp eye pain is as simple as having a foreign object in your eye. Even something small, like an eyelash, dust particle, or contact lens gone awry, can cause significant discomfort. Although it’s tempting, try not to rub your eye, as you can cause further irritation or damage when you do.
If it’s left unaddressed, an object in your eye can lead to corneal abrasions (a scratch on the front of your eye). This can be more problematic, as it can damage your vision and leave you vulnerable to infections. If you have something in your eye, you scan try to rinse it out with saline. You should not use tap water. If the irritation persists, you can visit us for a thorough examination and emergency eye care.
When to Seek Emergency Help
Some eye conditions are severe emergencies that need emergency medical attention. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek prompt help:
- Sudden vision loss or blindness in one or both eyes
- Severe eye pain or irritation
- Flashes of light or black spots in your vision
- Signs of infection, such as extreme redness, swelling, or discharge
- Nausea and vomiting accompanying severe eye pain
All of these symptoms may be indicators that something serious is affecting your eyes. So, if you notice or experience them, you should seek prompt emergency eye care—or visit an urgent care centre.
The Importance of Proper Eye Care
Taking care of your eyes should be a top priority. And a great way to start is by scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams with one of our optometrists. Remember: many eye conditions don’t have easily noticeable early symptoms, but you don’t have to wait for problems to develop! Request an appointment with us at Downtown Vision Care in Calgary, and let us help you before eye problems become eye emergencies.