Stinging in the eye – causes, treatment

Sting in the eye

Eye stinging can be quite common. The causes are varied and not always easy to identify. The symptoms usually occur when the eyelids are opened and closed, but they can also be present permanently.

What is eye stinging?

Stinging in the eye describes a common type of pain that is noted among numerous eye complaints. Accompanying the stinging in the eye, a feeling of chafing or pressure problems can also be perceived by those affected.

Here, too, there are a variety of accompanying phenomena, which can then severely impair vision. They are also perceived as very annoying by the patients. All these complaints are listed under the heading “eye stinging”. No other sensory organ is so impaired in its function by pain and discomfort as the eye .


Stinging in the eye can have numerous and completely different causes, which are not always immediately apparent. Most of those affected are diagnosed with anatomical injuries as well as inflammation or allergies .

Stinging in the eye can have quite harmless causes that can be easily treated. An inflamed conjunctiva, known as conjunctivitis , can be the cause of eye stinging. Corneal inflammation or keratitis are also possible causes . The stinging in the eye can accompany the so-called cluster headaches or migraines .

Acute glaucoma is often the cause of the symptoms . Very dry eyes as well as aching and inflammatory nerves also trigger the stinging in the eye. A variety of eye diseases that affect the iris and iris cause similar symptoms. Sometimes the eye pain is also caused by chemical burns .

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & History

The course of the stinging in the eye is characterized by various accompanying symptoms. These can lead to redness and limited vision. This is where increased tear flow often occurs .

Based on these symptoms, the ophthalmologist is able to draw conclusions about the symptoms. In order to ensure the diagnosis, it is then necessary for the eyes to be examined thoroughly. The intraocular pressure is then also measured and the fundus of the eye is inspected.

Allergy tests are also carried out. To examine the back of the eye, the doctor uses an ophthalmoscope when pricking the eye. This traditional examination method is supported by modern medical devices such as CT or magnetic resonance imaging . In the case of these symptoms, the doctor also examines the individual sections of the eye, the activity of the pupils and the entire facial area.


A wide variety of complications can occur when there is a sting in the eye, as the reasons for this are just as varied. A stinging eye usually indicates a foreign body in the eye. The eye hurts and there is also a risk of inflammation. The foreign body must definitely be removed from the eye, otherwise the eye can be damaged in the long term.

However, said foreign body should only be removed by a doctor, since the eye is a very sensitive organ. Self-experiments should be avoided at this point. Another complication that often occurs in connection with an eye sting is inflammation of the conjunctiva.

An infection can cause pus to form , causing the eye to stick together and severely impairing vision. If you do not seek medical treatment at this point, you are taking a big risk. Under certain circumstances, the inflammation can spread further and permanently damage the conjunctiva. For this reason, anti-inflammatory drugs should be used.

This is the only way to avoid serious complications at an early stage. Strict cleanliness and hygiene can also help prevent complications such as inflammation and irritation from occurring in the first place.

When should you go to the doctor?

Eye stinging can occur for many different reasons, and it may even require a visit to the doctor. The most common cause of a stinging eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva or a stye. If an inflammation remains in the eye without any treatment by a doctor or medication, there is a risk of serious consequences, if not consequential damage.

The inflammation can worsen considerably or pus can form. The pain increases and there may be severe swelling in the eye. However, if you consult a doctor early on with such a clinical picture, you can treat, alleviate and combat the above-mentioned complications at an early stage. The inflammation is inhibited by taking appropriate medication, so that a significant improvement occurs after just a few days.

The cause of a stinging eye can also be caused by a foreign body. In such a case, going to the doctor is inevitable. You should urgently refrain from attempting to remove the foreign body yourself. The human eye is a very sensitive organ in which significant injuries can occur very quickly. Therefore, if a foreign body is found in the eye, a doctor should be consulted immediately. A doctor safely removes the foreign body so that no serious damage occurs.

Treatment & Therapy

In order to eliminate the symptoms of the stinging in the eye as quickly as possible, there are various therapy options available to those affected. If the cause of the pain is a foreign body in the eyes that is causing the unpleasant symptoms, the doctor can remove it.

A local anesthetic is then usually carried out. All superficial injuries to the eyes can also be eliminated surgically. An artificial wound closure is usually not necessary. Treatment with medication is usually aimed at relieving the pain and is used alongside therapy. If there is a deposit of foreign bodies in the deeper areas of the eye, the treatment can be carried out with a laser device.

The same applies to diseases or damage to the cornea, which can also trigger the stinging of the eye. After the end of the therapy, there is a rapid improvement for those affected. Sometimes the eyes are flashed by very bright light, which then also triggers these symptoms. In this case, the patients receive an antibacterial ointment.

Drugs in the form of drops are also often used for inflammation in the eye. Drugs containing cortisone are also prescribed to treat the pain caused by inflammation.

Outlook & Forecast

A stinging eye usually indicates an infection or a foreign object in the eye. If it is an inflammation of the eye, then a stye or conjunctivitis come into question. If inflammation is responsible for the stinging in the eye, it may also lead to pus formation. The eye is then often stuck together and a grinder can form on the eye. The eyesight is very limited.

If an infection remains without medical treatment, it can have serious consequences. In the worst case, there is even a risk of loss of vision. If the conjunctiva is also affected by inflammation, it can be permanently damaged. For this reason, a visit to the doctor should not be put off.

If there is a foreign body in the eye, you should never remove it yourself. Only an ophthalmologist should do this. You should strictly refrain from trying it on yourself, as the human eye is a very sensitive organ.

A foreign body in the eye can cause severe redness on the white of the eyeball. After the foreign body is removed, the redness should subside within two to three days. A foreign body in the eye can also cause bacterial inflammation , which should also be treated with appropriate medication.


The symptoms of stinging in the eye are often caused by different underlying diseases. Therefore, these should be eliminated before each treatment. It is therefore also of great importance that the eyes are protected from external injuries and from excessive exposure to light.

Appropriate sunglasses with built-in UV protection protect against excessive UV radiation . The welding goggles can protect against dangerous flashes. They are also available in different designs and custom-made products. It is usually used in the professional environment and serves to protect workers in companies where electric welding equipment is used. It is also advisable to protect your eyes from draughts. Safety goggles should be worn in dusty environments.

The so-called styes, which cause the patient to rub their eyes, should also be treated by a doctor. Despite all measures, the complaints cannot always be completely prevented because their causes are too diverse.

You can do that yourself

There are various possible causes for stinging symptoms in the eye. There is usually a foreign body in the eye. This can be removed by wiping movements on the closed eyelid – from the outside inwards. Small granules can also be removed with the help of eye drops to moisten the retina or clear water. If foreign bodies are stuck or have penetrated deeper, an ophthalmological treatment is necessary. Safety goggles should be worn if activities involving flying sparks are carried out or work is carried out where dust is formed.

Dry eyes can also cause a stinging sensation in the eye. Dry eyes caused by intense heat, excessive exposure to the sun or as a permanent accompanying symptom of another disease can be treated by regular moisturizing. The eye is very sensitive to strong sunlight. Wearing sunglasses is recommended to protect your eyes in summer or on winter holidays in the mountains . It is important to ensure that the lenses have sufficient UV protection.

You should also avoid staying in drafts. This irritates the surface of the eye and can promote an accompanying bacterial inflammation – for example conjunctivitis. In the case of an existing infection of the eye, eyewashes support the antibiotic treatment that is usually necessary. Allergy sufferers should spend little time outdoors during the pollen season. The installation of special filters in the car or vacuum cleaner is also recommended.

Lisa Newlon
 | Website

Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.