Burning Eyes – Causes, Treatment

Burning eyes

Burning eyes or burning eyes have become a kind of widespread disease in modern times. This is a burning or itching sensation in one or both eyes, which can also be accompanied by a foreign body sensation. The causes of burning eyes can be very different in individual cases.

What are burning eyes?

Many people suffer from itchy or burning eyes. Those affected complain of a foreign body sensation under the eyelid that cannot be eliminated.

Often the eyes are sticky when the person concerned wakes up in the morning. Depending on the individual case, the burning eyes can either water more often or be significantly too dry instead . It is not uncommon for a secretion to be found in the corners of the eyes, which can be watery or viscous.

In many cases no external cause for the burning eyes can be found. If the symptoms last for several days and are accompanied by headaches , concentration problems or fever , it is advisable to consult a doctor.


Burning eyes can have many different causes. Inflammation of the conjunctiva or the eyelid cause annoying burning and itching, as do minor eye injuries.

Often, however, the symptoms can also be caused by eye strain. This is particularly common when the sufferer spends long hours in front of a computer screen.

Contact lenses can also cause itchy or burning eyes. Last but not least , allergies such as hay fever or contact with chlorine – for example in a swimming pool – can cause burning eyes. The doctor can decide to what extent treatment is necessary and what it should look like in the individual case.

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & History

Burning eyes do not always need medical treatment. In the case of irritation, for example from chlorine or overexertion, it may be sufficient to rest the eyes for a while until the discomfort goes away on its own.

If in doubt, however, an ophthalmologist should always be consulted. He begins his diagnosis with a detailed questioning of the patient to determine exactly when the symptoms began and what they could possibly be connected to.

This is followed by an eye exam. Injuries or inflammation are often expressed as redness or swelling , which the doctor can interpret accordingly. Should it be necessary, swabs can be taken and examined in the laboratory.


Complications associated with burning eyes can occur. Because burning eyes cause more tears, the surface of the eyes is moist. The moist surface causes the eyes to become prone to allergies and inflammation. Bacteria multiply on the moist surface and can cause severe eye irritation. The bacteria can cause other diseases. Pain can arise from a simple itch .

Burning eyes can trigger allergies such as hay fever , herpes on the eyes, viral conjunctivitis or infections of the upper respiratory tract . There are also serious and dangerous diseases that can arise in connection with burning eyes. Asthmatic symptoms can develop from a hay fever allergy. An allergy can spread to other allergens. Eye stinging can be associated with atopic dermatitis. Eczema can cause inflammation that affects vision.

Eye stinging can indicate infection of the eyelids or subcutaneous tissue, or inflammation of the eye structures. Cataracts or corneal damage can develop in particularly sensitive people. Wearers of contact lenses or glass eyes suffer from burning eyes, the mucous membrane is additionally irritated. It can lead to palpillary growths and, in rare cases, to cancer . Burning eyes can generally lead to the spread of infection and blindness in particularly severe cases.

When should you go to the doctor?

Burning eyes can affect one or both eyes. In addition to burning, itching or a foreign body sensation can also occur with burning eyes. Depending on the cause, burning eyes can water or be very dry. A doctor’s visit is usually not immediately necessary for burning eyes.

Hours of work on the PC can cause eyestrain, which quickly disappears after a break or after work. The situation is different if the burning eyes last for days and are possibly accompanied by a headache, difficulty concentrating or fever. Burning eyes are also caused by eye contact with chemicals or even toxins. In such a case, the ophthalmologist should be consulted immediately .

Those affected by burning eyes should first consult their family doctor or an ophthalmologist. An allergist may also be consulted as part of the examinations. Burning eyes are often associated with certain allergies such as hay fever or house dust allergies. Contact lenses can also cause eye irritation. In addition, diseases of the eyes can of course directly trigger burning eyes, for example conjunctivitis. A previously unknown visual impairment or a deterioration in vision can also be the cause of the burning eyes.

Treatment & Therapy

Once the doctor has made a diagnosis and determined where the burning eyes are coming from, he can initiate a therapy tailored to the individual case. If the eyes are only temporarily irritated, for example by working too long at the computer, it is often sufficient to cool them or to give them drops to prevent a feeling of dryness.

If the symptoms are caused by a previously undiscovered visual impairment , an appropriate visual aid can help. If the reason for the burning eyes is an inflammation or infection of the eye, the doctor can prescribe antibiotic or cortisone eye drops , depending on the trigger, which eliminate the inflammation.

In the case of an allergy, it should first be determined which substances are triggering, so that these can be avoided if possible. Acute symptoms can be alleviated with special eye drops for allergy sufferers. In addition, the affected person can take so-called antihistamines , which generally weaken the symptoms of the allergic reaction.

If burning eyes occur due to a foreign body or even a toxin in the eye, it should be washed out immediately before further measures can be taken. If the burning eyes do not have any of the above triggers, they may be due to a more serious illness. In this case, a comprehensive examination of the patient should take place in order to determine the cause and carry out targeted treatment.

Outlook & Forecast

Burning eyes do not necessarily have to be a medical complication. For many people, they only occur for a short period of time and do not pose a particularly big problem. The burning sensation in the eyes often occurs when you are overworked and can be counteracted with sleep and rest.

It is not uncommon for the burning sensation to also occur when certain chemical substances have gotten into the eye. Here the patient must differentiate whether the substance could be harmful to the eye or not. There is usually no need to see a doctor for shampoo or soap. In these cases, it is usually sufficient to rinse the eye with warm water until the stinging goes away. This can take a few minutes.

However, if other chemical substances have gotten into the eye, a doctor must be consulted urgently. This is where juicy eye injuries can occur if the burning is not treated. The chemical substances can severely damage blood vessels in the eye, so that normal vision is then no longer available. In many cases, treatment with eye drops is also scheduled to get rid of the burning sensation in the eyes.


Anyone who frequently suffers from burning eyes should take some preventive measures. Allergy sufferers can already take preventative medication to avoid more severe allergic reactions. If the burning eyes occur particularly in connection with screen work, it can help to take regular breaks and make sure that the humidity in the room is not too low. A reasonable distance to the monitor should be maintained in any case to relieve the eyes.

You can do that yourself

Moisturizing eye drops help eyes that are burning due to dry eyes or a mild allergy. In the case of burning eyes due to long work in front of the computer screen, regular breaks and good moistening of the eyes should be ensured. The moisturizing eye drops known as “artificial tears” also help here. These are available without a prescription from pharmacies or drugstores. It is important to use them according to the instructions and to pay attention to hygiene. Otherwise possible pathogens migrate from one eye to the other.

Treatment of conjunctivitis can be supported with sterile eye pads. Hygiene is also essential here. Tinctures of choice for compresses include extracts of eyebright , black tea, oak bark, fennel , sage, and turmeric . They relieve the itching. Fennel also helps against swelling of the eyelids.

Castor oil helps with blepharitis : it works against dryness, inflammation and infection. The oil must be cold-pressed and hexane-free for use on the eye. A few drops of the oil on the eyelid should relieve the discomfort. If the main causes of dry, burning eyes are age-related changes in the conjunctiva, eye drops will also help. Care should be taken to use either non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids . If the symptoms cannot be alleviated, a trip to the ophthalmologist is unavoidable.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.