Why Do My Eyes Burn? Burning Eyes Causes And Treatments

Burning Eyes

The word ‘Burning Eyes’ means that a person experiences a burning, itchy, and irritating sensation in their eyes. This can lead to red eyes, further infection, and the release of a slimy discharge which can be contagious. When you feel like your eyes are burning, there is probably some pollutant or irritant that a tear is trying to wash out but failing to do so.

Why Do My Eyes Burn?

There are times when burning eyes can pose a serious problem such as conjunctivitis, chemical burns, chronic dryness, etc. One may also be allergic to something in particular that causes an increase in the burning sensation or irritation in the eyes.

These are some basic issues that can cause a burning sensation in the eyes.

  • External parasites or fungus due to unhygienic habits
  • Using contact lenses that are not your own or wearing contact lenses that are dirty. Even wearing lenses with unclean hands can cause your eye to burn
  • The entry of external bacteria
  • Exposure to terrible chemicals that directly affect the eyes
  • Dry air, dust, animal dander, pollen smoke from fires
  • Exposure to household cleaning solvents, shampoo, soap, and conditioner
  • Exposure to chlorine-filled water in a swimming pool
  • Exposure to direct prolonged sunlight in the eyes without wearing UV-protected glasses

Burning Eyes Causes: Medical Conditions

There are some eye-related medical conditions that lead to the arrival of a burning sensation in the eyes. Keep reading to learn more about the same.

1. Ocular Rosacea

Rosacea is actually a chronic skin problem that directly affects the face, causing inflammatory effects in the process. When this skin disease spreads to the eyes it is known as Ocular Rosacea. This leads to harshly burning eyes followed by a constantly itchy sensation which leads to redness and swelling of the eyes.

Factors such as heredity, genes, over-secretion of oil glands, external bacteria and malfunctioned eyelid glands can all contribute to burning eyes.

The best way to treat Ocular Rosacea is via the use of steroid eye drops and ointments for lowering swelling and reducing pain. Use doxycycline and ideally use cyclosporine for lowering symptoms of Ocular Rosacea.

2. Conjunctivitis

This is also known as the pinkeye infection as it leads to the sclera (white portion of the eyes) becoming bright red/pink in color. This infection appears as a collection of tissues on the lining of the eyelids and all around the sclera – this area is known as the Conjunctiva.

Due to bacterial infection on the conjunctiva, blood vessels swell up and become evident as patches on the eyeballs. These bloodshot stained eyes can prove to be highly contagious via cold and cough.

The best medicines to treat conjunctivitis are ophthalmic antibiotic eyedrops or proven creams such as Moxeza (moxifloxacin), Romycin (erythromycin), Al-Tracin, and Ocumycin. It is also safe to consume Ibuprofen as a pain killer for bacterial infection.

3. Pterygium or Pinguecula

This condition brings about the occurrence of yellow spots or bumps near the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva (as mentioned in the previous point) section usually develops these yellow stains due to the presence of extremely delicate tissues under its upper lining.

If the condition is not treated when it is detected, it begins to spread to the far ends of the eye and becomes more severe. This is when the burning sensation maximizes and begins to be a hurdle in all tasks.

The main cause of this disease is over-exposure to UV radiation.

Wearing UV protective glasses is advised for this reason. Generally, patients who are diagnosed with Pinguecula do not have to undergo treatment but if the condition begins to worsen, the doctor may administer steroid eyedrops for lubrication purposes.

You can use basic eye drops such as Blink lubricants or Systane Plus and if the condition is too bad then use Acular or Voltaren Ophtha drops to reduce the inflammation.

4. Blepharitis

This eye disease leads to the formation of flaky eyelids. These eyelids can prove to be really sharp and as they grow in an abrupt structure it can be dangerous for these eyelids to touch the cornea.

Due to the flakes falling on the eyelids, the eye will eventually develop a burning sensation with an itchy and dry-like feeling included. Expect to have oily exteriors on the eyeball due to over-secretion from the oil glands and base of your eyelashes.

To treat Blepharitis one can either scrub their eyelids gently with a warm cloth or opt for antibiotics and eye drops if the eyes are burning, red, itchy, and discharging fluids. Opt for topical cyclosporine (Restasis) due to its calcineurin inhibiting properties.

Other reasons for burning eyes could be:

  • Uveitis and Iritis – Inflammation of the entire structure of the eyes
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Trichiasis
  • Glaucoma
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Periorbital Cellulitis: Infection of the eyelids and soft tissues around it.

Burning Eyes Treatments

  1. As the histamine compounds beneath the eyes get activated due to allergens and lead to a burning sensation within the eyes, you must use antihistamine eye drops, pills, or injections to dampen the effects of histamine in the eye socket. You can also buy Cyclosporine eye drops for such issues.
  2. Make a warm compress with your hands themselves. Use a clean sanitized towel and soak it in boiling hot water. Once the towel feels like it is hot enough to be put on the eyes, gently place it and apply for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. Inflammation will undoubtedly reduce and the burning sensation will slowly cease to exist as the bacteria is being killed by the hot steam from the towel.
  3. Keep the margins and corners of your eyelids and eyelashes clean and hygienic at all times. Make use of a simple soap with lukewarm water and gently scrub around the eyeballs.
  4. If you are a victim of Uveitis (a life-threatening eye-related medical condition) then you must try Azathioprine, Mycophenolate, and Methotrexate.
  5. Taking frequent breaks from continually staring at a smartphone or computer screen. This well assured helps reduce dryness and irritation sensation too. The eyes need to rest and their components need to regroup to perform at optimal levels.

Wrap Up

Very often, all the symptoms of your eye disease that were causing a burning sensation in the eyes will naturally vanish and you will not even have to do anything. But if it is serious and making it hard to get through basic activities then visiting a doctor, letting them analyze your disease, and following their prescriptions/guidelines will suffice in keeping the burning eyes issue away.

Also, keep in mind that burning eyes is not a medical condition always, it can also be due to dust and foreign molecules entering your eyes. If it is a medical condition, the issue can range from cataracts, arthritis to detected allergies, and undetected allergens.


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