According to C.A. Smith (1966), ‘derived from a popular tradition that long staring at the inflorescence or flower..produces sore eyes’; but see also quotation 1917.
Any of several plants of the Amaryllidaceae: a. Any of several species of Brunsvigia; see also candelabra sense 1. b.Boophone disticha; also called gifbol. c.Nerine. d. The Knysna lily (sense a), Cyrtanthus obliquus. e. Any of several species of Ammocharis. Also elliptical, sore-eye.
1910E. London Dispatch 27 May 5 (Pettman)A large Cyrtanthus or sore-eye flower (though why so called we have yet to learn).
1917R. MarlothDict. of Common Names of Plants 76Sore-eye flower, Numerous Amaryllidaceae bear this name, owing to the irritation of the eyes, caused by the pollen, e.g. Brunsvigia gigantea, Buphane ciliaris etc.
1953J. HoyleSome Flowers of Bush 2Sore-eye, Buphone disticha — Amaryllidaceae. This plant is often confused with the Fireball (Haemanthus).
1953J. HoyleSome Flowers of Bush 3The Flowers of Sore-eye are larger, and much fewer, than those of the Fireball.
1961Redwing (St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown) 3On the banks of a certain stream a scattering of ‘sore-eye’ flowers grew (ammocharis coranica).
1966C.A. SmithCommon Names 429Sore-eye flower, Brunsvigia orientalis.., Perhaps also other species enumerated under Seeroogblom.
1975J.M. GibsonWild Flowers of Natal 13Boophane distichia..(Sore Eye Flower). I had to hurry drawing this flower because my eyes were so sore.