Causes and Home Treatments for Burning Eyes

When one or both of your eyes are "burning," it means they are irritated and stinging. The common dryness and itchy eyes that come with allergies can be relieved with home remedies like eye drops and cool compresses. But burning eyes can be a sign of a serious medical issue that needs attention.
  • Overview
  • Factors That Could Be At Play
  • Assistance and Treatment
  • Predicting When to See a Doctor
Fire in the Eyes

The term "burning eyes" is used to describe a sensation of heat or stinging in the eye(s). It's possible for this symptom to be painful and disruptive, making normal activities like going to work or getting behind the wheel challenging.

Having burning eyes is usually the result of irritation or a deficiency of tear production. It can appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly, or it can linger for weeks or months.

Eyes that are constantly burning can have a variety of causes.

  1. If you suffer from allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or another form of allergy, you may experience itchy, watery eyes when exposed to allergens like mold spores, pollen, and other airborne particles. Burning eyes can also be caused by touching an allergen like dust or pet dander and then touching your eyes.
  2. Eyelid inflammation or irritation, also known as blepharitis, is a common condition. Besides discomfort, blepharitis can cause other signs like red, swollen eyelids and crusting around the eyes.
  3. If your eyes don't produce enough tears or if they evaporate too quickly, you may develop a condition known as "dry eye." Your eyes may sting, burn, itch, or feel gritty if they aren't properly lubricated.
  4. Potential Irritants: Common Household Chemicals Being in their presence can lead to itching and a stinging sensation. It's not uncommon for people to experience irritation in their eyes from things like chlorine, cigarette smoke, the fragrances or preservatives in cosmetics and facial cleansers, and even common household chemicals.
  5. Low relative humidity causes dry skin and hair, and even dries out your eyes. If you feel like your eyes are burning more often when you're inside, it could be because of the air temperature. A chronic dry eye condition is different from seasonal dry eyes. If dry indoor air is the problem, your eyes should feel better in humid weather. The constant irritation and discomfort of dry eyes is known as xerostomia.
  6. Ocular rosacea: a skin condition that can affect the eyes and lead to redness and irritation. Ocular symptoms associated with this condition include: burning, swelling, redness, and a crusty discharge.
  7. Sunburn of the eye, also known as photokeratitis. The exposure of the eyes to UV rays, such as those from the sun or tanning beds, can cause this. Photokeratitis can also be caused by the intense glare of some lasers, lamps, and construction machinery.
  8. Conjunctivitis, or "pink eye," is an inflammation of the clear, thin membrane called the conjunctiva that lines the whites of your eyes and the inside of your eyelids. This condition can be triggered by allergens, viruses, or bacteria. There may be a gritty sensation and redness in addition to crusting on the eyelids or eyelashes if you have pink eye.
  9. To put it simply, a pterygium is an abnormal growth of tissue that forms on the eye's surface. At first, it may feel burning, dry, and gritty. Eventually, a lesion (growth) may form on your eye.
  10. Shingles are a painful rash or blisters caused by the varicella-zoster (chickenpox) virus. Pink eye, characterized by burning, crusting, and redness, can develop if shingles spreads to either eye.
  11. Tear production is reduced in people with Sjögren's syndrome because of the disease. If you don't produce enough tears, your eyes will dry out and feel gritty or burn.

What causes burning eyes can determine how to treat them. A healthcare provider may use these methods to diagnose the problem:

  • Inquire as to the onset and duration of your symptoms.
  • It's important to talk to your family about their health so you can identify any potential genetic issues.
  • Check your vision and your health.

Your doctor may recommend allergy testing if you've been experiencing burning eyes, as allergies and dry eye syndrome are the most common causes. It's best to see a doctor if self-care measures don't alleviate your symptoms.

How can I relieve my burning eyes naturally?

In the absence of a serious medical condition, it is usually possible to alleviate burning eyes at home. The remedies available are as follows:

  • When allergies are treated, the symptoms of allergic pink eye or eye allergies are reduced. Antihistamines can be taken orally to treat multiple types of allergy symptoms, or they can be applied topically in the form of either pills or eye drops to treat eye allergies specifically.
  • Cleaning your eyelids gently with a solution of baby shampoo and water can help reduce crusting caused by blepharitis. Do a complete wash and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • For dry eyes, try using over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears. If you have a preservative allergy, it's important that you either read the ingredients or seek out alternatives that don't contain any.
  • To remove allergens like pollen and dust from your eyes, simply run a warm tap water shower or bath. If you prefer, you can buy a pre-packaged eye wash kit that contains a tiny cup and some sterile saline (salt water).
  • Eye pain from pink eye, photokeratitis, or blepharitis can be alleviated by applying a warm or cool compress made from a clean, wet washcloth for five to ten minutes.

Where can I find relief for my red, itchy eyes?

However, there are times when you simply cannot avoid suffering from painfully red eyes. For instance, avoiding all allergens and viruses can be challenging. Nonetheless, you can lessen the likelihood of experiencing burning eyes if you:

  • To lessen the likelihood of an allergic reaction, you should stay away from anything that might otherwise set off your allergies. Closing windows on high-pollen days and when the wind is blowing is recommended. To lessen the presence of allergens in the air at home, install air filters.
  • Don't rub your eyes because that can cause irritation and spread allergens.
  • Stop using products with heavy scents or fumes, including those used around the house.
  • Wearing goggles while swimming can protect your eyes from water damage and irritation. Take a shower and clean up your face after swimming.
  • Always wash your hands before eating, touching your face, or after using the restroom.
  • Always protect your eyes from the sun by donning a pair of sunglasses or a pair of sports goggles that offer 100 percent UV protection.
  • Wear safety goggles or other appropriate eye protection when operating tools and construction equipment to shield your eyes from flying debris.
  • The spread of pink eye can be halted by not permitting the sharing of eye drops, cosmetics, or towels.

If your eyes are burning, you should investigate the issue as soon as possible; medical attention may be required. If you experience a persistent stinging or burning sensation in your eyes and can't figure out why, you should see a doctor. If you experience any discomfort in your eyes, including:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Visual impairment
  • Rash can appear anywhere on the body or face.
  • Light sensitivity

From the Cleveland Clinic:

Every day, we rely on our eyes, making even minor discomfort a major problem. When your eyes burn or itch, you know they need some TLC. Although this symptom is usually harmless, it should not be disregarded. Red, irritated eyes may be an indication of an underlying medical condition.

Mild itching or redness in the eyes due to allergies, dryness, or allergic pink eye can often be relieved with over-the-counter remedies. However, see a doctor if your vision problems persist beyond two days. Methods of alleviation and treatment of any underlying medical conditions can be discussed between you two.

On January 13, 2023, it was reviewed by a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic.


  • Professional Organization of Eye Physicians and Surgeons of the United States Eyes on Fire (https://www aao org/eye-health/symptoms/burning-eyes) Until January 13, 2023
  • Organization for Research and Treatment of Eye Diseases in the United States Is it Allergies or COVID-19? (https://www aao org/eye-health/tips-prevention/coronavirus-versus-allergies-pink-eye) Until January 13, 2023
  • Ophthalmologists of the American Association Redness of the Eyes, or Ocular Rosacea (https://www aao org/eye-health/diseases/ocular-rosacea-facts) Read on January 13th, 2023
  • The American Association of Ophthalmology Explain Herpes Zoster (Shingles), Please. (https://www aao org/eye-health/diseases/herpes-zoster-shingles) Retrieved January 13, 2023
  • The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Signs of an Eye Allergy (https://acaai org/allergies/allergic-conditions/eye-allergy/) Available as of January 13, 2023.
  • Disease Prevention and Control Centers Avoid contracting and spreading conjunctivitis (pink eye) by taking preventative measures. (https://www cdc gov/conjunctivitis/infographics/protect-yourself html) Until January 13, 2023
  • Insitituto Nazionale per lo Sguardo dell' Blepharitis (https://www nei nih gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/blepharitis) Until January 13, 2023
  • Organization for Research on Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health Syndrome of Sjögren (https://www niams nih gov/health-topics/sjogrens-syndrome) Read on January 13th, 2023

Medical services at Cleveland Clinic are provided on a charitable basis. Banner ads on our site help fund our organization. We do not recommend anything other than Cleveland Clinic services and products. Policy

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