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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I am getting sharp pains in my left eye. Stops me in my tracks.

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I am getting sharp pains in my left eye. Stops me in my tracks. I usually put my hand up to my eye when it happens. Had an eye exam about 6 months ago by a local ophthalmologist. Doctor said he didn't see anything wrong. Pain is now getting more frequent. Any idea. I am not diabetic, but there is a history of strokes in my family so it freightens me when this happens. Should I just see this doctor again?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 4 years ago.

Doctor DanB :

Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?



Doctor DanB :


The most common causes for this intermittent, sharp, stabbing pain is a dry, irritated eye. Because it’s the most common, please let me elaborate just a bit on this before I touch on the other suspect I have for your symptoms, which may be more likely causing your problems than dry eye. Dry eyes can also produce symptoms of burning, tearing, foreign-body sensations and general dry sensations, but don’t have to cause any other symptoms besides the intermittent, sharp, stabbing pain you’re having. Patients who have had surgery on their eyes can have dry eyes because of that. Women who are post-menopausal are more likely to get dry eyes. Some people have dry eyes because they don't make enough tears. Some have dry eyes because of inflammation in their eyelids and some because of allergies. There can be many causes of dry eye, just in one person alone, and if all the causes are not treated appropriately, then it can seem as though what you have been doing is not working and therefore it’s easy to give up on.


The first thing to dry with dry eyes is to use artificial tears, as you’ve done. However, your regimen may not have been what I would recommend for the strongest efficacy. I recommend to my patients that they start by using them 4 times per day in each eye. The important thing is to use them consistently, in a scheduled fashion for 3-4 weeks before cutting down on them. If artificial tears are used for dry eyes only when you feel like you need them, then they usually only work for thirty seconds or so and don't help the overall hydration of the eyes.


An entity called Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is a disorder where the trigeminal nerve, the nerve that supplies sensation to the face and to the eyes, becomes irritated, usually from where the nerve exits the brain. This is happening inside the head, but affects your face and eyes. It can happen for no apparent reason, or due to brain stem lesions. It can produce this sharp, electrical stabbing pain that you speak of, but usually causes more facial pain than eye pain. Unfortunately there is not always a cure for trigeminal neuralgia, but sometimes a reason for having it can be found and eliminated by surgery or medical therapy. Sometimes amitriptyline is prescribed for trigeminal neuralgia. Another medicine that can be taken for this include Neurontin.


I was told that i have dry eyes and used the drops a few times, but not regularly. It seemed to make my eyes more itchy but I will try to use them on a schedule and see if that helps. Glad to hear that it could be as minor as that. I was worried.

Thanks again.

Doctor DanB :

You're welcome. Do you have any other questions about this?

Doctor DanB :

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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.

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