Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why does it hurt to look in a certain direction?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy does it hurt to look in a certain direction?


I'm 18, male, and for the past few days it has really hurt to look up and to the left, and up and to the right. It has been giving me headaches and generally keeping me from doing much. It started all of a sudden about 3 days ago when I woke up. Taking acetaminophen didn't help, and I'm considering a visit to my doctor. Any advice?


There are a variety of causes for pain with looking in certain directions. There are a variety of causes including irritation to the muscles that move the eye or the nerves that innervate the muscles. The entire differential diagnosis is beyond the scope of this discussion. From your description, it is not clear if you are having any associated symptoms such as double vision, a decrease in your visual acuity or any recent upper respiratory tract infections, fevers, chills or sinus infections. Other things to consider are whether anyone in your family ever have problems like this or if you have any sick contacts that you interact with often? Have you had any recent trauma to your eyes or head? As there are many potentially serious causes of the symptoms you are having, it is recommended that you be evaluated by an ophthalmologist who can better evaluate your medical history and presenting symptoms and decide upon the appropriate medical work up. This may include lab tests or imaging studies to better understand the underlying cause for this eye pain. They may recommend that you be evaluated by a specialist depending on what they find clinically.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.