A generic expression when there is an awareness of the eyes which is undesirable.
Categories and Spectrum
The expression covers a wide range of symptoms which are culture and language dependent; following expressions can be used:
- Foreign body sensation category: gritty, sandy, and granular sensation (on blinking), feeling something in the eye, feel as if there is a grain of sand or eyelash in your eye;
- Burning category: stinging, irritation, soreness, dryness;
- Allergic category: itching, scratchiness;
- Pain category: aching, eye strain, deep/dull (orbital/brow) pain, heaviness, headache around the eye, sharp pain, stabbing sensation, sharp pin, throbbing, beating, pulsating, pain on movement, tenderness (to touch);
- Fatigue category (asthenopia): tiredness, need/desire to close, bother when open and close the eyes, feel more comfortable with the eyes closed;
- Sensitivity category: photosensitivity, sensitivity to wind;
- Discharge category: secretion, tearing, watering, discharge (ropy), mucus, crusting;
- Autonomic symptoms: heat, warmth, coldness;
- Pain with eye movements;
- Miscellaneous category: redness, tingling, blinking;
They are used for acute/self-limiting conditions but ‘ocular discomfort’ is more suitably used for chronic states, like: dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, allergic conjunctivitis, ocular surface toxicity and irritation, lacrimal drainage problems, and cicatricial and eyelid disorders. Idiopathic photophobia and functional problems like hyperopia, phorias, and the condition ‘Computer Fatigue Syndrome’ also cause ocular discomfort; the term 'Asthenopia' is the related technical word.
- Celia Vimont Laurie Gray Barber. Eye Strain. American Academy of Ophthalmology. EyeSmart® Eye health. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/eye-strain-list. Accessed March 20, 2022.