I want to say I have pain in my eyes. I find a word but I am not sure that is correct. this word is eye-sore. Is that correct?

Second, if I say my eyes burn, is that correct? I want to say my eyes have a problem but it is not pain, it is something else like fire that burns.

  • 2
    The word 'eyesore' is usually used as a noun, meaning 'something ugly and unpleasant to look at'. Aug 22, 2021 at 11:24

1 Answer 1


If you said "eye ache", you would be understood, but you will notice that it is not an accepted compound word like headache or toothache. I think most people would say they have "eye pain" or "pain in my eyes". "Sore eyes" tends to mean tired or strained eyes rather than pain.

Remember that 'headache' has come to mean an internal, slightly non-specific pain in one's head. If you bashed your head, your head would hurt, but we wouldn't tend to call that kind of surface pain a 'headache' (although it could lead to one!). When words become an accepted and widely used term, they tend to mean something specific. With eye pain, I think it would require some clarification. "Eye pain" could mean surface pain on your eyeballs, pain behind your eyes, or possibly pain in the eye area such as your eyelids or eye sockets. This may be a reason why there is no single term for it and it is left to descriptive language.

From your description of a "burning" feeling, I think most people would say "my eyes are stinging". If the sensation is exceptionally bad though, you might say "there is a burning (sensation) in my eyes".

  • Good answer. Also note that ache usually implies a lingering fatigue. So if you say “that makes my eyes ache”, it is likely that it would be understood metaphorically, that is, that you find the sight disagreeable, not physically painful.
    – djs
    Aug 23, 2021 at 5:01

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