Burning Eyes: Causes And Treatment

Burning Eyes: Causes And Treatment

What Are Burning Eyes?

Burning eyes is an eye condition that causes a burning sensation in the eyes followed by pain and irritation in the eyes. Most people tend to have a burning eye whenever they wake up in the morning or when there is a change in their living conditions. The eye condition can be very uncomfortable and can hinder the normal vision of the person.

Burning eyes have a wide range of causes and have also been associated with other eye conditions and diseases as a commonly occurring symptom. On very rare occasions the burning sensation in the eyes may also be accompanied by swollen and bloodshot eyes along with the watery eye. This may indicate a severe eye condition that would require medical attention. It can be also caused due to sudden change in the unavoidable environmental condition or getting mild chemical-based products in your eyes.

It can generally be cured at home as it occurs mostly due to a change in the diet or lifestyle of a person. Some could also have this burning sensation due to long exposure to hot and dry air which caused the moisture in the eyes to evaporate.

The burning sensation doesn’t stay for long and gets cured naturally in one or two days but if the sensation persists for more than three days then it is necessary for you to seek medical advice from an optometrist. They may also be able to locate the additional causes of the regular occurring irritation sensation in your eyes and would provide a suitable treatment of the burning eyes.

Causes of Burning Eyes

The causes of getting burning eyes can range from as simple as staying dehydrated to as complex as blepharitis.

Dry Eyes

Burning eyes is a very common symptom that you may experience if you have a dry eye condition. Dry eye is an eye condition in which the meibomian gland present in the eyelid of the eye gets blocked due to some reasons and does not release the essential oils which keep the eyes moisturized.

The dry eye condition causing a burning sensation in the eyes may be temporary or can be permanent. The temporary burning eye is caused due to wearing contact lenses and some side effects of the medicines. Medicines that are used to cure a cold usually work by drying up the fluid which may cause the fluid in the eyes to dry up too. Permanent or chronic dry eyes are caused due to improper secretion of the oil in the eye which needs proper medical treatment to get rid of the burning sensation in the eyes.

There have also been studies that suggest that hormonal changes in women cause a burning sensation in the eyes which then lead to dry eye condition during their menopause stage. Men are less prone to such hormonal changes which lead to dry and burning eyes.

burning eyes


Pterygium or pinguecula is also called a surfer’s eye. This condition causes burning eyes due to over-exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. There is a growth on the conjunctiva part of the eye which generally appears as the yellow spot known as pinguecula and grows to form pterygium which covers the cornea part of the eye in some conditions.

The pinguecula is a protein, fat, or calcium deposit on the conjunctiva part of the eye which appears close to the nose on the corner of the eyes. pterygium is a fleshy tissue that may grow to a size that may disturb the normal vision of the person. Exposure to UV rays of the sun is its main cause but it may also grow due to exposure to dust and wind. Excessive growth of the tissue may need surgery but having spots of the deposit can be treated easily by eyedrops given by an ophthalmologist.


Blepharitis is also an eye condition that causes burning eye sensation. In this eye condition, the eyelids usually get inflamed due to the infection-causing bacteria, irritants, and allergens. The condition causes inflammation, burning sensation, and pain in the eyes. People who have oily skin, dandruff, and dry eyes are often at risk of getting blepharitis. Along with the inflammation in the eyes, there is an oil flake deposit on the eyelashes which can be seen as dandruff-like flakes. The burning sensation in the eyes may remain until blepharitis gets treated properly.


Conjunctivitis causes a burning sensation in the eyes due to infection in the conjunctiva part of the eyes. The infection in the conjunctiva causes the blood vessels to present in the white part of the eyes to swell and become irritated. The eyes become swollen and red in colour causing a burning sensation. The infection in the eyes may be caused due to viruses, bacteria, or allergies. If you have reddish along with watery discharge and burning eyes then it is quite a possibility that you may have conjunctivitis and would need urgent medical attention. Conjunctivitis can be spread from one person to another so it is important to isolate yourself, maintain proper hygiene and get medical help as soon as possible.


Ocular Rosacea

Ocular rosacea is an eye disease that starts from a chronic skin disease known as rosacea. The disease causes blood vessels in the face to swell and appear red in colour and when it reaches the eye it causes red and burning eye sensation leading to ocular rosacea. The disease might appear like acne on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin causing redness in the skin. A person might have rosacea or ocular rosacea or both.

The factor that causes this disease includes blocked eye glands, environment, bacteria, and eyelash mites. The disease may also be genetic and can be passed down to the different generations in the family. If proper treatment is not received in this condition then it might cause vision loss.

Ocular rosacea


Allergens and toxic chemicals cause burning eyes when eyes come in contact with them. The sudden appearance of allergens like pollen and animal dander can cause a burning sensation for a short period of time and ease the sensation when the environment becomes free of allergens again. Dust and sand can cause irritation in the eyes accompanied by watery and burning eyes. Large irritants when staying in the eyes can cause ulcers and may infect by causing irritation in the eyes. allergies in the eyes can occur along with the conditions like allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis.

The eyes can swell and water due to allergens present inside the eyes which may lead to burning eye sensation. Toxic chemicals when present in shampoos and conditioners when coming in contact with the eyes cause burning eyes and it is a temporary sensation as the sensation goes away when you wash your eyes with clear water properly.

Eye Infection

Eye infection can also cause burning eyes in some people. The infection may be caused due to bacteria, virus, fungi, unclean contact lenses, expired eye drops, sharing of contact lenses, unclean contact lenses fluid, and sharing of eye makeup. The burning sensation in such a condition eases out naturally without any medical help or condition. Along with the burning eyes, there are other symptoms of eye infection including irritation, itching, and discharge in the eye.

Eye Injury

Any small eye injury also causes burning eyes, itching, and discharge. The injury may be caused due to some sports activity or when working with chemicals in the laboratory without any safety glasses. Fingernails can also injure the eyes while putting and removing contact lenses.

Side Effects of Medicines

There are many medicines available in the market which may have side effects and would cause burning eyes along with dry eyes. This makes eyes more prone to eye infections and dry eyes. before buying medicines avoid taking drugs that have antihypertensives, diuretics, sedatives, tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, beta-blockers, phenothiazines, nasal decongestants, atropine, and pain killers.


Eye strain is the most commonly occurring cause of burning eyes in most people. Eye strain that causes burning eyes may vary from reading in dim light conditions to watching screens for long intervals of time without having a proper break in between. It may also be caused due to prior eye conditions like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Wearing incorrect corrective lenses may also cause eye strain which would lead to burning eye sensation. Exposure to bright lights without wearing proper eyeglasses that can block bright light can also cause strain and burning sensation in the eyes.

Eyestrain in burning eyes

  • Visit an ophthalmologist

Anyone can suffer from a burning eye condition and can get cured naturally within a day or two. If the symptoms other than burning eyes are noticed by you then a visit to an ophthalmologist is necessary to get your eyes checked for any other possible disease that would be causing burning eyes. Doctors would help you give the best treatment according to your eye condition.

Treatment Of Burning Eyes

It can be treated easily at home with the use of home remedies. Only the conditions in which the symptoms may appear severe require proper medical attention.

Some of the useful home remedies which will help in curing the burning sensation are:

Rinsing Eyes

Rinsing eyes with lukewarm water eases irritated eyes. Inflamed and irritated eyes can easily be cured by simply rinsing the eyes. The burning eyes caused due to allergens and contact of chemicals in the eyes can be removed by thoroughly rinsing with water.

Warm And Cold Compress

 A warm and cold compress can also be used in treating burning eyes caused due to dry or pink eyes. In this warm or cold water is taken in a bowl and a clean cloth is soaked in it. The extra water is wrung out of the cloth and then the cloth is applied over the eyelids for a few minutes. The process is repeated till the burning sensation in the eyes is gone.

Cleaning Eyes

The inflammation caused due to unclean eyelashes causes burning eyes which can be cured by applying a mixture of baby shampoo and water using a cotton swab. This mixture cleans the eye and provides instant relief from inflammation and burning eyes.


The most basic home remedy to cure burning eyes is to stay hydrated in a slightly humid environment. Staying dehydrated for a long time can increase problems related to the eyes and warm and dry air can also cause a reduction in moisture present in the air. So, it is advised to stay hydrated as well as use a humidifier if you live in warm and dry environmental conditions.

20-20-20 Rule

Long hours of screen use cause eye strain accompanied by burning eyes. So, to avoid such eye conditions it is important to follow the 20-20-20 rule which states that after every 20 minutes of screen viewing you have to look at an object for 20 seconds which is placed 20 feet away from you. This helps in reducing the risk of getting eye problems. Also, you can use computer eyeglasses prescribed by your ophthalmologist to reduce irritation and burning eye sensation.

Protection From UV Rays

Direct contact with the harmful rays of the sun can cause burning eyes which can be easily prevented by using sunglasses. These glasses would block the harmful rays of the sun, dry wind, and dust particles and protect your eyes from getting damaged.


Applying slices of thinly cut cucumber also helps in easing out the allergic or irritated eyes. Thin slices of cucumber are cut and are kept in the fridge for a few minutes then they are applied over the eyelids. The coolness from the cucumber helps in providing relief from burning eyes.



The use of rose water can also be used to get relief from burning eyes. A cotton swab dipped in cool rose water can be placed over the eyelid. Rosewater has natural healing properties and gets rid of the inflammation and puffiness present around the eyes.

Artificial Tears

The use of artificial tears at least 4 times a day can also ease out the burning sensation present in the eyes. other eye conditions like dry and irritated eyes can also be cured using artificial tears.

Artificial tears in burning eyes

Give Rest To Eyes

Prevent yourself from rubbing your eyes when there is any irritation or pain in the eyelids. Instead, close your eyelids for a small interval of time in a dimly lit room. This would provide you relief from the burning eyes. Remove contact lenses and use eyeglasses for the time being.


It is advised to consult a doctor if the burning eyes are accompanied by other symptoms like irritated, inflamed, discharge, or red eyes. If you feel any light sensitivity or have any change in the vision then it is advised to consult an ophthalmologist to determine the underlying cause of the burning eye.

If a burning sensation is present in your eyes for a long time or occurs at regular intervals then your doctor may perform eye exams like slit lamp exam, visual field exam and the doctor may also check your conjunctiva and your vision. Stop consuming medicines that are causing any side effects. Also, avoid any environmental conditions that may affect the health of your eyes. always follow the prescription and schedule mentioned by your doctor to have healthy eyes. 

Make An Appointment

Free Tele-Consultation

Book Appointment or Video Consultation online with top eye doctors