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Burning Eyes

Burning eyes are characterized by a burning feeling and irritation of the eyes which may also be accompanied with itching, tearing or discharge from the eyes. It is generally a symptom of another existing condition.


Eye is a visual organ and a highly complex and specialized structure that transmits visual data to the cerebral cortex. The eyeballs and its other structures are situated and protected in round bony hollows called the orbits. The orbit is a space that can be potentially filled with fluid, blood and air due to its proximity to the sinuses and blood vessels. Individuals have their own unique eye feature structured symmetrical in size and position.

Burning eyes may occur with symptoms such as itchiness, dryness or watery. It may also appear bloodshot and may also have discharge. The symptoms of burning eyes may also occur with nasal symptom such as runny nose, post nasal drip, sneezing and congestion. Burning eyes may also occur along with other serious condition that may indicate other health problem and may also need immediate medical attention. These symptoms may include bleeding eyes, blurred or double vision, perception of flashing lights and floating objects or spots.

Burning Eyes Causes

The condition of burning eyes has many possible causes. The most common factor affecting burning eyes is exposure to environment or environmental pollutants. These environmental factors may include:

  1. Exposure to chemical irritants
  2. Dusty wind
  3. Smog and cigarette smoke especially second hand smoke
  4. Extremes of cold and hot air
  5. Bright light exposure or sun exposure

Allergic reaction is also a factor in causing burning eyes and these include:

  1. Pollen
  2. Mold exposure
  3. Shampoo
  4. Household cleaning solvents
  5. Cosmetic products
  6. Pet dander

Burning eyes may also be caused or accompanied by infections and other inflammatory process such as upper respiratory infections or the common cold and flu. Inflammation of the eye surface can also give burning eyes.

Associated Symptoms

The eyes are subject to many conditions which may be primary or secondary to other disorders. The conditions may be preventable and controllable with early detection and treatment.

Red burning eyes

Red burning eyes affects the sclera or the white part of the eye when it becomes dilated and irritated. It is a very uncomfortable condition that is sometimes associated with pain. It is not a serious condition and can be easily treated. The condition of red burning eyes however, may need medical attention if it persists for more than two weeks with associated severe pain, visual disturbance and sensitivity towards bright reflection or lights.

Red burning eyes may occur as a result of extreme dry air, sun exposure, foreign objects, allergy and infection or any other form of trauma that affects the eye. One common cause is coughing which can lead to subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Itchy burning eyes

The eye is a moist surface making it prone to allergies and irritations when it comes into contact with environmental pollution and air. Irritation and allergies can cause itchy burning eye as its reaction. Allergic reaction is the most common cause for itchy burning eyes and it becomes more irritated when rubbed.

Allergic conjunctivitis is the condition of allergic reaction of the eye as it involved the conjunctiva. Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelid that can cause itchy burning eyes. Dry eye can also cause itchiness as it is a condition of deficiency in tears production of the lacrimal glands. Itchy burning eyes are commonly treated with antihistamine to block the release of histamine. Over the counter eye drops containing antihistamine and decongestant can also help relieve itchy burning eye.

Dry burning eyes

Dry eye is the result of insufficiency in producing tears of the lacrimal glands. Tears are essential in keeping the eyes moist and in rinsing away debris and other particles from the environmental factor. The occurrence of dry eye can interfere with the quality of life and can hamper daily activities.

Aging is of the common cause of dry itchy eye as tear production decreases overtime. Environmental conditions such as strong wind, cigarette smoke, dust, air-condition and heat can attribute to dry eye.

Watery burning eyes

Tears protect the eyes from infection by washing eye dust and other particles that may come in contact with the eye. It also provides nourishment and lubrication. It normally drains into the nose through the ducts in the corner of the eyes. But there are some who are suffering from excessive tear production.

Excessive tear production may cause watery burning eye. The common cost of watery burning eye is allergen and irritants. Such allergen may be from pollen and dust while irritants may be from chemical fumes and cigarette smoke.

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