What are the Most Common Causes of Inflammation of the Eyeball?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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The most common causes of inflammation of the eyeball are bacterial or viral eye infection and eye disease. Many other conditions may cause eye inflammation, including allergies, sinusitis, and the common cold. Eye injuries are another leading cause of inflammation of the eyeball, and this may include minor accidents or major trauma to the eye.

A common infection that affects the eye is called conjunctivitis. Symptoms of this eye infection are burning, stinging, redness, and inflammation. Discharge from the eye, pain, and swelling are other symptoms. The infection does not always cause all of the listed symptoms in every individual affected. Conjunctivitis is sometimes called pink eye due to the pinkish-red discoloration it causes. Treatment for conjunctivitis often involves antibiotic eye drops.

It is fairly common for individuals who are sensitive to airborne contaminants to suffer from inflammation of the eyeball. Allergies may also cause inflammation and redness of the eye. Excessive watery discharge due to allergies often causes eye inflammation. Repeatedly rubbing the eye as a result of allergies may cause irritation and inflammation as well.


Sinusitis, which is caused by inflamed sinus passages or sinus infection, may also cause inflammation of the eyeball. Swollen sinuses due to increased pressure may cause the orbital bone to feel painful and tender. Increased drainage and watery discharge from the eyes is a symptom of sinusitis, and this can lead to inflammation of the eyeball. In addition to sinus infections, the common cold sometimes causes redness and eye inflammation.

Eye injuries account for pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation along the outer eye and the eyeball. Sometimes the injury may be extreme, resulting in more serious complications than inflammation. A detached retina or scratched cornea may be a direct result of an eye injury as well.

There are several diseases of the eye known to cause inflammation and other more serious complications. Glaucoma, which causes increased pressure inside the eye and deterioration of the optic nerve, may produce early symptoms of eye inflammation. As the disease progresses, severe pain and loss of vision may occur. Another eye disease known as macular degeneration may also cause inflammation of the eyeball.

Less serious causes of eye inflammation include reaction to irritants such as smog and pollution, and foreign bodies that enter the eye. Specs of dirt or dust may cause itchy, red, and inflamed eyes. The use of specially formulated eye drops may relieve the redness and inflammation.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

I only have inflammation when I have allergies. I have seasonal allergies and I get very puffy, itchy, watery eyes during spring and summer. I basically get all of the eye allergy symptoms

I take antihistamine allergy medications but they do little for my eye inflammation. I'm also using anti-inflammatory, allergy eye drops. I was using the OTC ones first but they were causing some side effects like stinging.

I mentioned this to my doctor and he prescribed me a very good eye drop for eye allergies. I love it. It stops the discharge, itching and inflammation quickly.

Post 2

@MikeMason-- That sounds bad, but I'm glad you got it diagnosed and treated. Watch out for symptoms within the next week though. If you have inflammation and pain again, it might be eye infection symptoms. See your doctor again if that happens.

Post 1

I went to my eye doctor last week because of eye irritation and pain. He checked my eye and said that my eyeball is inflamed because of a corneal abrasion. Basically, I got my eye scratched. I think it might have happened while I was playing with my cat.

Anyway, he gave me an antibacterial eye ointment and an anti-inflammatory eye drop. My eye feels a lot better now.

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