What Can Eye Pain and Fever in Children Be a Sign Of?

Eye pain and fever in children can be a sign of a medical condition such as meningitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, croup, pink eye or the common cold. While many of these medical conditions occur due to infections, others are triggered by allergies, low immunity or injuries. 

If your child complains of eye pain and runs a fever simultaneously, schedule an eye exam in Northwest Florida. An eye doctor can evaluate the problem to determine the cause of the eye pain. Below, we look at the causes and symptoms associated with eye pain and fever in children.

Common Causes of Eye Pain and Fever

Common eye conditions that cause eye pain and fever in children include


Meningitis is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection that spreads to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is the fluid that protects and cushions the brain and spinal cord. Less commonly, meningitis may be caused by a fungus or a parasite. The infection can trigger fever and cause eye pain. It is more common in children with a weak immune system.


A stye is an inflammation or infection on the edge of the eyelid. It appears as a red bump or swelling near the rim of the upper or lower eyelid. A stye can irritate the eye and cause redness. 

Eye Allergies

Eye allergies are common in children. Itchy, watery, red eyes can signify exposure to allergens, environmental irritants or infections like conjunctivitis. If you are not sure what is causing your child's eye symptoms, talk to a pediatric eye care doctor who can diagnose eye allergies by their symptoms.

Eye Oil Gland Infection

An oil gland infection, or chalazion, is a slow-growing, painless lump in the eyelid caused by a blocked oil gland. If the chalazion becomes infected, the entire eyelid may become swollen and painful.

Pink Eye

Pink eye is the most common cause of eye pain with fever. Besides the telltale red or pink color that gives pink eye its name, eye discomfort is another common symptom. Children may complain of a gritty sensation in the eye. Often, there is some discharge from the eye and pain and swelling of the conjunctiva. In severe pink eye cases, your child may run a fever.


Cellulitis is a deep bacterial infection of the skin around the eyes. Though it may occur in normal skin, it usually follows some type of trauma, causing a breach in the child's skin. Other causes may include human or animal bites or injuries.

Common Cold

Perhaps the least alarming cause of fever and eye pain is the common cold. Colds usually last a week but can continue for as long as two weeks. They usually go away on their own. Keep your child as comfortable as possible when they have a cold. Offer plenty of fluids and small, nutritious meals. If the symptoms persist or worsen, take your child to the doctor.

When Should I Seek Emergency Medical Care for Eye Pain and Fever?

While all medical conditions associated with eye pain and fever need some form of treatment, some conditions require you to make an emergency medical visit for your child. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, take them to the emergency room or an eye clinic.

  • Severe headaches
  • Unusual sensitivity to light
  • Unusually high fever 
  • Drastic changes in vision
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Severe injury to the eye
  • Blood or discharge from the eye
  • Trouble controlling the eyes

One or more of these symptoms may indicate that there is a severe or life-threatening problem. Any delay in treatment can worsen your child’s condition. 

Schedule an Eye Exam Today

Contact the Gulf Coast Vision Center at one of our Pace, Milton or Crestview locations or at one of our Pensacola locations at Nine Mile or East Hill to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.