Burning Eyes

Dr. Ajay Mohan (AIIMS)MBBS

November 29, 2018

March 06, 2020

Burning Eyes
Burning Eyes

What is burning eyes?

Burning eyes are experienced as an itching, stinging or burning sensation in the eye. This often occurs along with a watery discharge from the eyes. Blepharitis, dry eye, conjunctivitis and eye allergies are some of the common causes of burning eyes.

What are its main associated signs and symptoms?

Common symptoms seen along with burning eyes include:

Specific symptoms depending on the underlying disease:

  • Blepharitis: It is an inflammation of the eyelid wherein the base of the eyelash shows oily, dandruff-like flakes with presence of stye (presence of red, swollen, lump near eyelid margin)
  • Dry eyes: It is characterised by stinging and irritating sensation in the eye; redness of the eye; formation of mucus layers in or around the eye; sensation of something being stuck in the eye
  • Eye allergy or conjunctivitis: Allergies and inflammation of the conjunctiva lead to sore, swollen and itchy eyes; teary eyes; itchy, stuffy nose and sneezing

What are the main causes of burning eyes?

Common causes of Burning Eyes include:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Dysfunction of the tear glands and ducts
  • Irritating substances like dust, pollen may enter the eye and cause allergy
  • Sunburn associated with overexposure to ultraviolet light

Uncommon causes of Burning Eyes:

  • Exposure to smoke, wind or very dry climate
  • Long-term use of contact lenses
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders and lupus
  • Certain drugs like sleeping pills, heartburn medicines

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosing the underlying disease is vital in order to treat burning eyes. The doctor takes a thorough medical history, specifically noting down any exposure to allergens or irritating, infective agents.

Physical examination along with the help of a slit microscope is done to examine swelling and redness. Tear flow and consistency of tears are also examined.

Treatment for burning eyes depends on the underlying condition. They include:

  •  Antibiotics in case of infection.
  • Artificial tears or decongestant eye drops and warm compresses in order to relieve sore and swollen eyes.
  • In a case of allergy, the doctor will advise staying away from the particular allergen.

Self-care includes the following:

  • Maintaining good hygiene is of utmost importance.
  • Antibiotic sprays and shampoo, baby shampoo can be used to wash your eyelashes, hair and scalp.
  • Use of sunglasses to avoid exposure to sunlight in case of sunburn.
  • Saline eye drops are essential in removing allergens after exposure to dust or any other irritants.
  • Drinking plenty of water and having fish oil supplements help in keeping the eye moist.


  1. American academy of ophthalmology. Burning Eyes. California, United States. [internet].
  2. Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Eye burning - itching and discharge. South Florida; U.S. state
  3. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology [Internet]. Milwaukee (WI); Eye Allergy
  4. American academy of ophthalmology. What Is Dry Eye?. California, United States. [internet].
  5. American academy of ophthalmology. What Are Eye Allergies?. California, United States. [internet].
  6. American academy of ophthalmology. What Is Blepharitis?. California, United States. [internet].

Medicines for Burning Eyes

Medicines listed below are available for Burning Eyes. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.