What is Burning Eyes?

Burning is a common symptom that many patients complain about to their optometrist, and will often present as stinging or irritation of the eyes. It can be accompanied by itching, tearing, or discharge from the eyes.


Burning eyes can indicate a variety of conditions in the optometric field. One common cause is exposure to environmental pollutants including tobacco smoke and dust. Chemicals in common household items such as bleach, soap, shampoo, exposure to chlorine while swimming, or extreme hot and cold can also cause eye to burn.


Often burning eyes point towards there being damage to one of the front structures of the eye. The anatomical structures that may be disrupted are the: cornea, conjunctiva, episclera, eyelids, and/or eyelashes.


Treatment of burning eyes is dependent upon the cause. Often, burning eyes will resolve on their own when you remove the irritant. In some cases, over-the-counter artificial tears or antihistamines can provide relief from burning eyes. However, due to the importance of your eyes to your quality of life, it is always best to consult with your eye care provider before using over-the-counter treatments.


In some cases, the burning could be caused by more serious conditions, in which case your optometrist may need to prescribe appropriate medications or treatment. If the burning eye sensation is worsening, vision begins to be compromised, or burning eyes is accompanied by bleeding or discharge from the eyes, please visit an optometrist so he can properly diagnose and treat you accordingly to ensure no further damage occurs.


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