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Does it feel as if something is in your eye?

If you feel like you have something in your eye, it’s important not to worry. There are many possible causes for this.

We list some of the most common reasons why you might feel like there is something in your eye below and explain how you can treat each problem.

man suffering from pain caused by something being in his eye

Can you see something in your eye?

The first thing to do is check that no foreign bodies due to environmental factors such as windblown grit, wood or masonry, flies, pollen or anything else that could accidentally enter your eye.

If you can see something lingering in your eye, wash it out with cold water, or if you are in extreme pain, consult advice from a medical professional.

For more help, read our blog on common eye injuries and how to treat them.

Reasons why your eyes could be hurting


Feeling like something is in your eye is a common sign of Blepharitis. This is an eyelid problem where the lashes, skin or glands become inflamed from an infection or irritant.

You can use warm compresses or an eyelid scrub to help with this, and try to keep your eyelids clean. Other symptoms that will occur alongside this condition include dry eye, eye itch or sensitivity to light.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

This form of conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye problems. It occurs due to an infection in the whites of the eye. Often treatment includes eye-drops once you have received a proper diagnosis. Other symptoms that could occur alongside this include, eye redness, sore throat and eye itch.

Stye or Chalazion

A stye is an infection in the lower or upper eyelid. A feeling of something in the eye is a common sign that you are suffering from a stye.

Do not attempt to “pop” the stye. Rather use topical antibiotics or warm compresses to assist in draining the affected area.

Other symptoms you may experience alongside this condition include swelling of one eyelid, redness around the eye or eyelid pain.

Learn about what to do if your kid has a stye

woman suffering from something being in her eye

Contact lenses issue

If your contact lenses are unclean, or you have been wearing them for a long period of time, this can cause the sensation of feeling like there is something in your eye.

You should remove your contact lenses immediately and assure you keep them clean to reduce the risk of infection.

Dry eyes

This is a condition of chronic dryness due to a reduced quantity or quality of the eyes tear film. This can be caused by many things including, certain systemic diseases, ageing and long-term contact lens wear. Other symptoms include tearing, eye pain or discomfort, burning, itching, grittiness, alongside foreign body sensation.

Getting help for painful eyes

If your symptom is accompanied by eye pain, discomfort or problems with sight, you should contact your local optician to gain a proper diagnosis. In most cases, this symptom is not associated with anything eye-sight threatening and can commonly be treated at home with antibiotics or eye drops.

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