Burning eyes

Burning eyes or burning eyes describes an unpleasant, aching sensation in the eyes, which often occurs in conjunction with itching and increased tearing.

Due to its moist surface, the eye is particularly susceptible to allergies and inflammations because it is continuously exposed to air and polluting substances.


Causes of burning eyes

Burning eyes can be caused by certain environmental influences, including:

  • Dry air
  • Direct sunlight
  • Wind
  • Air conditioning
  • Heating


  • Dust
  • Mould
  • Hair of pets
  • Pollen – especially in windy weather
  • Smog
  • Tobacco or cigarette smoke
  • Industrial dust

Burning eyes can also have the following causes:

  • Excessively long wearing of contact lenses
  • Long working on the PC
  • Too little sleep, especially in summer when the days are longer and you usually go to bed later
  • Persistent crying
  • Long reading
  • Bright artificial or dazzling light
  • Overstrain of the eyes in dim light

Chemical causes of burning eyes
The burning sensation in the eyes can be caused by the concentration of chemical substances, such as:

  • Solvents in household cleaners
  • Make-up – always remove make-up before going to bed
  • Moisturizers
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Irritants contained in the onion
  • Sea water – for long swims
  • Chili – if you have chili on your fingers and touch your eyes, you have to rinse it with milk to relieve the burning sensation
  • Chlorine in the swimming pool

Diseases that cause
burning eyes 
Burning eyes can be caused by infections and inflammatory processes, here are some examples:

  • Allergies
  • Herpes on the eye
  • Viral conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis)
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Eyelid inflammation (blepharitis)
  • Wegener granulomatosis
  • Rosacea (benign chronic dermatitis)
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Inflammation of the middle skin of the eye (uveitis and iritis)
  • Corneal inflammation (keratitis)
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Upper respiratory tract infections, such as a common cold or flu

There are defects of the eyes and eyelids that provoke burning eyes, these include:

  • Refractive errors: astigmatism, farsightedness (hypermetropia), presbyopia
  • Keratoconus
  • Corneal ulcer

Factors that trigger allergic eye reactions

Allergens are substances that can cause an allergic reaction of the eyes.
In the fresh air, grasses, trees and pollen are among the most common representatives.
Anyone who is allergic to these allergens suffers from seasonal conjunctivitis – this is the most common form of allergy to the eyes.

Attention: The cereals we eat belong to the grass family (Gramineae).
Eating these cereals (rice, wheat, spelt, millet, barley, etc.) can cause a reaction in allergic people.

Pet dander, mites and mold are the most common allergens in enclosed spaces.
These substances are found inside the buildings and can cause reactions throughout the year, which can manifest itself in permanent, allergic conjunctivitis.

Diesel exhaust, cigarette smoke and perfumes can inflame the eyes.
These substances are irritants that can cause non-allergic symptoms or increase allergic reactions.

Causes of an eye allergy Like hay fever and rash, eye allergies also develop when the immune system is hypersensitive to harmless things.

An allergic reaction can occur every time an allergen comes into contact with the eyes.
The allergen causes the release of histamine and other substances or chemical products in the eye by white blood cells called mast cells (mastocytes).
As a result, the blood vessels in the eyes swell, the eyes are reddened, itchy and watery.

Can eye allergies affect vision?

Eye allergies, especially allergic conjunctivitis, can be very annoying and interfere with everyday activities, but usually they do not harm the eyes.
Eye drops, creams and cosmetics can cause allergic reactions of the eyes.

Serious causes of burning eyes

Sometimes burning eyes is an expression of various serious or dangerous diseases and must be examined immediately in the emergency room. These include:

  1. periorbital cellulitis (infection of the eyelids or other soft tissues around the eye),
  2. uveitis and iritis (inflammation of the eye structures).

What complications can eye burning cause?

If the eyes burn frequently, this may be an indication of an allergy or infection of the eyes. After the cause has been diagnosed, it is important to follow the doctor’s treatment plan to rule out the possible complications of infection.

Therapy for burning eyes

Avoiding the triggering substances and environments can already bring great relief.
Tear replacement fluid (4 to 6 times daily) can also relieve symptoms.
Over-the-counter eye drops that do not contain artificial tear fluid can worsen symptoms; be careful with over-the-counter products.
The doctor may prescribe antihistamines (tablets, eye drops, ointments) that have a beneficial effect in the treatment of burning eyes.

If thick, greenish secretions leak from the eye, a doctor must be consulted immediately.

In the case of accompanying symptoms such as sensitivity to light (photophobia), severe eye pain or loss of vision, burning may indicate a serious problem.

Natural remedies for burning eyes

Burning and itchy eyes are in most cases caused by irritating substances and environmental influences.
Home remedies can be used very effectively to relieve symptoms.
Simple home remedies can be very effective in relieving symptoms:

  • Place a humidifier at home or at work if dry air is a possible cause.
    Open windows to promote the circulation of fresh air in the rooms.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke. Those who smoke themselves can take this as an opportunity to free themselves from the vice.
    Passive smoking can be very irritating to the eyes.
    If you live with a smoker, you should persuade him/her to smoke outside.
  • Contact lens wearers should remove the lenses at home and replace them with glasses to prevent dry eyes.
    In addition, an appropriate storage of the contact lenses is important.
  • When drying hair, the eyes can also be dried unintentionally.
    To avoid this, tear replacement fluid can be used before drying the hair.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can cause dry eyes.
    To keep the eyes moist and to prevent irritation, should be drunk with moderation.
  • If the symptoms are particularly severe when waking up, try replacing the tear replacement fluid with oily eye drops.
    Both products are available in the pharmacy without a prescription. Oil can cloud the view, so use the drops only before going to bed.
  • Place cold compresses on the eyes (10 minutes) to relieve eyelid swelling and itching.

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