I was woken up last night by a sharp pain in my eye, again.

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I was woken up in the middle of last night by a sharp pain in my right eye. It felt like someone stabbed the inside of my eye with a needle. It was very painful. It happened few more times afterward throughout my sleep though in lesser intensity, but they still hurt terribly. The pain in my eye lasted almost the whole following day. I have no choice but try to bear it when the pain isn’t too strong, but I’d definitely need medical attention when it gets as strong and painful as that last night. The problem is I need to make appointment to see a doctor and won’t be able to get help right away. It happened frequently in the past. I had been to the doctor few times for treatment and examination because of that. My doctor thought my eye problem was simply due to dryness in the eyes and nothing else. So he prescribed eye droplets to me and sent me away. I really disagreed with his diagnosis but I couldn’t offer any other explanation. I did use the droplets as instructed but evidently it didn’t work, just like last night.

Unfortunately it is only one of many symptoms that associate with my sleep disorder for the past ten years. I’ve been getting this highly focused poking-like sensation which hits all over my body including my ears, nose and eyes. This sensation has different degree of intensity ranging from strong and powerful which hits me like a hammer to sharp and prickly which stabs me like a needle. It causes me great pain and seriously interrupts my sleep.

Can anyone out there offer me a better diagnosis or explanation as to what’s happened to my eyes? It seems that my doctor has underestimated the problem and downplayed my symptoms. I tried to convey to him how painful it was, but sadly he just casually dismissed it as dryness in the eye and nothing out of the ordinary. It is obviously wrong.

Please help.

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  • Posted

    Hi smh2409,

    Unfortunately my ophthalmologist didn’t go into that kind of detail examination with me or show me anything. He just told me, without going into any detail, that my problem was rather common and it was caused by dried eyes. That was pretty much it. He did propose a “small procedure” to me which required an implant of a thin little black thing about 2mm in length directly into the lower inside corner of the eye. He said it was a popular procedure for those who had laser surgery. I wasn’t sure about it at all. So I received couple Optive eye drops and a B&L eye gel instead. But they are not very effective. Perhaps I should ask for the spray you mention next time.

    Thanks again.

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  • Posted

    Oh I'm sorry the specialist wasn't more forth coming with images etc. I've recently been to specsavers for an eye check and the last machine they tested my eyes with gave a inside view of my eye - the nerves, blood vessels and the back of the eye. It was very informative.

    Maybe you should give it a go one saturday or make an appointment when you're not working - if your branch dont offer to show the images you can ask there and then I''m sure they'll oblige (good customer service and all that). It could give you peace of mind with regard your nerve endings in you eyes.

    The spray by the way is off the shelf from any supermarket but an ophthalmologist/GP may be able to prescribe. One bottle has lasted ages.

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  • Posted

    Hi I have the same problem here in Canada and the eye specialist and emergency ward AND the optometrist all downplayed my symptoms as well!

    What works best for me is to steam my eye's, I lost my vision almost completely one day and it took me days of standing in the bathroom with the shower on hot and the fan off until i figured out just use the steam kettle! IT WORKS MY VISION CAME BACK and it reduces the eye pain enough where i can fall asleep on the floor by the kettle! Day time is worst because of the light sad The pain gets so bad my eyes literally fall apart and turn bloody. It is not allergy or any bacteria, doctors claim it's a VIRUS! But they don't know anything about viruses besides that they can't treat them.

    STEAM KETTLE: Get as close to the heat as you can keep eyes closed for abit and raise your head up to the not so hot area of the steam and open your eyes, also it helps to not scratch your eyes and KEEP YOUR EYES FOCUSED FORWARD, I had to keep my eyes staring straight forth for 3 days because if I looked in any direction but forward my eyes would rip and shred, super painful! Also not using my big screen plasma TV but now using a small monitor helped big-time.


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  • Posted

    It's been some time since you first reached out regarding your symptoms. I hope this message finds you well, and feeling fine. In case you are still suffering with pain, let me suggest you begin your quest for answers by asking yourself some of the logical questions a good family doctor would ask, such as:

    1) How's your sinus health? Are you prone to frequent allergies and/or infections throughout the year? A recurrent history of ongoing nasal ailments and allergies could produce the sharp pain in the eye that you've described.

    2) Have you changed climates recently? Did you leave a cold northern region for a warm desert climate? Did you exodus a crowded city in the eastern US for a tropical southern climate? Trade Santa Barbara for a cabin on an island off the coast of Washington? If so, the humidity could not only play a role in your chronic dry eyes, but you might also be dealing with a variety of new allergens - molds.

    Before you jump to frighteningly serious conclusions, just know that pain above the chin feels more extreme because the nerves involved are very close to the brain stem. The nerve signals have only a short distance to travel. Therefore, the slightest discomfort is magnified significantly. The same level of pain, if manifested in your toe, would be diminished.

    I respect the human body and what medicine can do to fix it, but I also subscribe to the belief that our bodies are the map of what's going on in our minds and souls. On that basis, I'd I'd wager you've experienced some abrupt emotional change recently, a traumatic event that makes it difficult for you to look ahead with joy.

    If you've considered and tried all this, then go deeper still.  I wish you all the best. Please feel free to contact me. I have no motive except just to hear that you are free of pain in every way.

    God bless,




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  • Posted

    I have severe eye pain all the time. it's only in my right eye, it's extremely sensetive to light so bad that I have to go lie down go to sleep or it will swell shut. I have to put a cold compress on it and it waters like crazy. I've been to the emergency room because it was swollen shut and hurting so bad. They did all kinds if tests and found nothing. I've been to two eye Dr.'s and they two have done a series of tests and don't know what to do. The only thing that remotely helps is ibeprfan and I have to take about 6 to times a day to take away the swelling... Any advice would help
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  • Posted

    I have severe pain deep behind my right eye, it is so intense it wakes me up on a night at about 4/5am. It has been on and off but has came back with a vengence and has now been constant for 5 days. Having only one 'good eye' which is my right eye and does all the work for both of my eyes my optician was concerned and referred me straight to hospital.. they put it down to dryness after a few tests. I was given drops and told to take ibuprofen and sent on my way. The ibuprofen masks the pain but as soon as it wears off its back and very intense. I went to a 3rd private optician today and he explained that no pain this intense can be down to dryness, he said it may cause irritation but not agony and not to the point where it wakes me up. I am now trying sinus tablets but I do not believe this to be the problem either. If anyone could suggest anything I'd be very greatful as everyday my concern grows as does the pain. The sinus tablets do not appear to be working yet and a process of elimination as begun.. If anyone had any suggestions or could help me I'd be so grateful, not sure where t turn now. 

    Thankyou smile x

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    • Posted

      I too suffer and have suffered intense pain in my right eye but recently had a severe attack with my left eye. My suggestion is to go and have your cholestrol checked as my opthomologist informed me this would be a contributory factor. It can happen for no reason but it has usually happened I'd I have a couple glasses of wine! It would swell a d almost close while it would still be watering and intense pain in it so must be due to a number of changes In body. Hope this info helps. I have a great opthomologist and I have very high cholestrol which no tablets help other than to have intense pain in my joints and which is now due to family history

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  • Posted

    I think I have a similar problem to yours, maybe the same thing.

    I've been having it for at least 15+ years and it usually only happens in the Fall, but has also occured in the Spring and Summer.  

    It usually occurs for a week or 2, but currently it's going on for 2 weeks plus.  I wake up in the middle night with extreme pain in my left eye, like it's being pushed out of the socket.  Normally a hot shower helps it, and it did when it first started, but now it's just getting worse.  It started out with once a night, but currently it's been waking me up every 1-2 hours.  

    As much as I can tell it's a Sinus problem, but unfortunately Sinus medication doesn't seem to help at all.  It only happens at night when I'm sleeping, so I assume it has something to do with my sleep position.  I've been using my toddler son's Saline Spray to limited effect, it seems to help the problem a little bit, but it takes a while and doesn't really last that long.  I seem to recall massaging the area did help one year, I had forgotten about that and will try that tonight.  From what I remember massaging the temples behind the eye will help drain the sinus's.  

    I went to the doctor once when it first started happening and he did numerous eye tests and there was nothing wrong.  He came to the conclusion that it was SInus's.

    My best guess is that mine is all due to allergies.  I have 20/20 vision and other than these excrutiatingly painful eye popping episodes at night, my eyes feel fine.  They also seem to go away within a few weeks and since I'm going on vacation in a week I expect it to at least be gone when I'm out of town.   I'll post here again if anything gets better, but hopefully some of my suggestions will give someone else relief.

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    • Posted

      These symptoms suggest Trigeminal Neuralgia more than sinus or eye issues.  Alternatively, cluster headaches (or the lesser version, ice pick headaches) may be present.  I'm dealing with these.  Drinking lots of water, exercising, and eating a diet primarily of fruits/vegetables works wonders. 

      Other things to check - are you grinding your teeth?  If so, TMJ may be a factor in inducing the pain.

      Best wishes with this.  It sucks, but have faith because there are things that can be done to mitigate the pain.  

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  • Posted

    I wound up here by a google search. The condition you describe is something I have been dealing with, on and off, for a number of years. Luckily, I am only awakened once or twice a year with the stabbing in one of my eyes. (once or twice a year is more than enough!!). The only relief I have found are opthamalic eye drops that were prescribed by my doctor that contain Proparacaine. That numbs the eye in about 10 seconds. Blessed relief quickly. For those of you who have experienced this, you know just how painful it is!

    I also experience halos around light for a few days after the incident in the affected eye. I have had a high tech eye scan by my eye doctor after one of these incidents, and they claim my eye is perfectly healthy, without any visible damage. No macular degeration etc. 

    So, for me this is still a mystery and I would love to find out what is causing it. Another clue - mine is often triggered by a dream where there is tension of some sort. Now, I am assuming the tension in the dream is triggering the eye condition, but it could just as easily be the other way around. For any of you who have experienced a dream where a long sequence of events leads up to, say, pushing on your car horn just as your alarm goes off - how does that make sense in our regular concept of time?

    Anyway, let's keep looking for answers, and anyone who gets a possible diagnosis, please post on this forum. Thanks

    Steve Martin, Virginia USA

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  • Posted

    This has happened to me several times over the last few years. It once was so bad that I physically could not open either one of my eyes. After arriving at an emergency eye clinic they put some numbing drops in both of my eyes. The dr then did several tests and to make a long story short, said I  had 2 pretty bad cornial abrasions. She went on to explain that sometime during the night I was either dreaming or for some other reason briefly opened my eyes which due to them being closed for some time during sleep had dried out and caused my eyelid to stick to my eyeball. When I opened them I ripped off the top layer of "skin" on my eye. It was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt and her diagnosis didn't really make sense to me due to the amount of pain I was feeling, but she's the dr, right? My eyes felt like someone had held them open and poured a ton of sand into them. She prescribed me drops and an ointment which I have to admit did work and seemed to stopped this reoccurring process while I was using them. But once I thought my eyes were better I stopped using them and after a month or so it happened again. I called her office and she called the drops into my pharmacy for me. I started using them every night wether I needed them or not and I have to say not one incident...last week I ran out of them and haven't bothered to call for more and you guessed it, it happened again LAST NIGHT!  This is how I ended up here. I wanted to see if anyone else had ever experience this. Now that I've read all the comments on here I'm a believer now, it really is due to dry eyes. So it looks like I'll be using drops every night for the rest of my life.
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  • Posted

    Hi.  This thread is over a year old, so I don't know if anyone will even read it, but thought to put in my two cents.  

    Somewhere around 1990, I began having infrequent but acutely intense and searing eye-stabbing pain, with heavy watering of the right eye.  It as so bad that I couldn't touch it or open it at all.  Nothing helped during the attack.  

    Fast forward a few years, 2000 or so, and it had become frequent and was debilitating.   I couldn't function at all when it struck.  I found a cold, wet wash cloth applied to the eye would help quell the attack, which lasted hours on end.    The worst attack in 2004 lasted three days.  All I could do was lie in bed with a wet compress and wait for relief.   No drugs helped at all. 

    Doctors first told told me I had dry eyes.  This seems to be the go-to answer for eye pain, which is frustrating and useless.   I was referred to a neurologist who told me it was cluster headache, even though I am female.  What I researched did not seem to apply as a cluster headache.  They put be on enormous doses of gabapentin, an a time-seizure med.  All that did was make me dopey.  

    Another doctor gave gave me a lengthy series of injections meant to reduce the inflammation no doubt causing my eye pain.  No effect.   

    I had had been thinking for years of a friend who had had an experience with trigeminal neuralgia, also called tic doloreau.   It hits primarily in the cheek.  The trigeminal nerve as its name indicates, has three terminal ends.   One around the mouth, one around the cheek and ..... One at the eye.   

    When this TN hits me now, nearly 25 years later, it's sudden and caused by nothing more than simply opening my eyes in the morning (or middle of the night). It now hits both eyes.    When the episode lasts more than a few hours, my vision is seriously affected and my eyes swell and droop.  My nose runs like a bad cold.   Kind of makes me look like I a stroke victim.  Fortunately, the vision issue and the droop is temporary.  

    I've had CAT scans, MRI scans, x-rays, multiple rounds of various medications that messed with other issues and have consults GPs, neurologists, opthomologists, etc.   Not one of them can find anything "wrong" with my eyes!

    i am convinced, and am working on the premise, that I have Trigeminal Neuralgia, a facial nerve disorder that just happens - unfortunately - to fire on top of my eye globes, feeling like I have thick, long, hot thornes pushed through and stuck in the top of my eyes.  

    No one understands how incredibly painful this is.  My husband doesn't get it at all and I suspect he thinks I am making it up.  

    Oh, triggers for me including opening my eyes, opening my eyes in bright light, opening my eyes if there is a breeze.   It can happen, too, if I rub an eye too much or too hard.  

    I keep a long long soft length of fabric by my bed and I wrap it around my eyes when I go to bed.   I also keep a wet wash cloth handy to apply to my eyes when it hits.   

    Good luck to you.  

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