5 Possible Reasons Your Eyes Feel Sore

Do you find yourself constantly rubbing your eyes, feeling weighed down by heavy eyelids, or having to wipe away excess tears now and then?

Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, you may be overdue for an appointment with an eye care professional. Here are some of the possible reasons why your eyes feel sore and irritated:

1. You are suffering from dry eye symptoms

If you have a condition known as dry eye, you are unable to produce enough tears to lubricate the surface of your eyes. Symptoms include episodes of excess tearing after dryness, heavy eyelids, and blurred vision. This condition often affects older adults, particularly women.

"The most common cause is a dysfunction of the meibomian glands: small, delicate glands in the eyelids that produce an oil that prevents tears from evaporating," said Dr. Greg Moloney, an ophthalmologist and clinical professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

2. You have developed an allergy to something

If you have itchy, red eyes accompanied by symptoms like sniffing and a runny nose, you may have eye allergy or allergic conjunctivitis. Watch out for whether symptoms occur around certain animals or when exposed to higher levels of pollen count.

"Allergic conjunctivitis is basically a mini allergic reaction to some allergen — it could be food or environmental, seasonal allergens — in the eye," explained Dr. Neeta Ogden, a board-certified allergist in private practice. 

3. You are looking at bright screens too much

Digital eye strain is quite common given the increase in screen device use. It is not only limited to computers and laptops as studies have suggested that looking at bright smartphone screens at night could strain and damage your eyes over time.

If you experience headaches or a sore neck along with your eye problems, your electronics may be to blame. Additionally, you may experience increased sensitivity to light and a feeling of being unable to keep your eyes open. 

4. You are suffering from pink eye symptoms

If you have pink eye (conjunctivitis), the small blood vessels in the white part of your eyes become inflamed, giving them a pink or red-colored appearance. You may also experience discharge in one or both eyes which leads to the formation of a crust at night. This can prevent one or both your eyes from opening in the morning.

Experts state there are three types of this condition based on what triggered it: allergic conjunctivitis (caused by an allergy), chemical conjunctivitis (caused by smog or chlorine), or viral conjunctivitis (caused by a virus which has infected the eye). 

5. You have cornea-related injuries

The cornea is the outermost, transparent layer of the eye. Your sore eyes may be caused by a corneal injury if they were ruptured or scratched by a foreign body like sand particles, or were exposed to harsh lights or chemicals. Ulcers in the cornea are also a possibility, especially if you leave contact lenses in overnight.

A corneal abrasion can be caused by eyelashes growing abnormally. Instead of growing outward, they grow inward and cause irritation to the eye. There are a number of treatment options for people diagnosed with this condition known as trichiasis.