What Causes a Burning Sensation in Your Eyes?

A man who feels burning sensation in his eyes


Do your eyes sting? Itchiness and a sensation as if your eyes are on fire could be a real discomfort to encounter. There could be an array of reasons leading to a burning eye. For instance, foreign substances cause a stinging sensation in the organ. While human eyes are great at keeping bay from foreign substances, unavoidable conditions pop up wherein chemicals break into the eyes causing discomfort. Think about it – can you stop cleansing your hair using shampoo? Well, chemicals from the same shampoo could drip into your eyes causing discomfort. Many times, the causes are easily reckoned and are harmless. On the contrary, some causes indicate threatening consequences.

Frankly, burning eyes are unlikely to be an emergency. It could be an aftermath of environmental factors like augmented pollen count and strong wind. Problems could stem up as symptoms of pink eye. It might be an offshoot of allergies, stressed vision, fatigue and dry eye. What’s crucial is to stick to the right treatment options.

What are the causes of burning eyes?

Little did you know that wearing contact lenses for a prolonged time could amp up the sense of burning in the eye. Of course, environmental irritants do exist, aggravating the condition by large. From smog and mold to dust, pet dander and pollen, these pollutants fly around everywhere. Provided below is a list of possible causes.

  • If you’ve been in front of a screen for way too long, it leads to vision stress that might cause a burning sensation in the eyes.
  • Hopping into swimming pools that are loaded with chlorine.
  • Having foreign substances inside the eye.
  • Extreme climatic conditions where it could be too hot, dry, cold or windy.
  • Common cold.

Strain in the eyes is a very popular cause of burning eyes. Nowadays, our lives revolve around screens. Be it computers, televisions or smartphones, every work demands a one-on-one with screens. Sometimes reading a book for extended hours could cast an awful spell on the eyes. These activities do impact the eyes, causing strain beyond imagination. It does pave way for problems like myopia or nearsightedness, astigmatism and hyperopia or farsightedness. Too much exposure to harsh sunlight could also strain the eyes by large.

When it is allergies that come into play, one of the prominent symptoms show up in the eyes. It causes severe irritation in the organ. Well, that’s not it. Sneezing and burning eyes become the order of the day. When allergens attack the eye, it is known as allergic conjunctivitis. These allergens could include anything from dust to pet hair and pollen.

Developing a sense of sting in the eye could also be an aftermath of the injury. Membranes in the eyelids work wonders in protecting our eyes from foreign substances. However, the membranes are not infallible. Strong ultraviolet rays do penetrate along-with outside debris. This causes abrasion on the layers. Trauma in the eye paves way for serious consequences like subconjunctival hemorrhage. This is the condition wherein blood vessels in the organ burst and rupture and bleeding are very much visible. Chemicals at times can impose injury beyond imagination. These chemicals might be present in soaps, deodorants, insecticides, pool water replete with chlorine, perfumes and many other things.

While something getting in the eye can cause it to burn, it could also pop up as symptoms of serious eye conditions. Let’s quickly go through the disorders wherein burning eye is a common syndrome.

  1. Ocular Rosacea – Describing it as an inflammatory condition, casting an ugly impact on the face, chest, eyes, and skin is appropriate. In the early stages of the disorder, one might be spotted with a ‘ruddy’ skin, topped with red skin lesions that are bumpy. Eventually, the skin thickens too. The eyes are impacted as well. You put up with itchiness and redness but most importantly, the eyes literally sting.
  2. Pink Eye This sort of an infection is very popular and has been encountered by all and sundry. Conjunctivitis, where the membrane of the eye is affected causing inflammation, redness, dense discharge, watering and pain. Itching also tops the list of symptoms paired with an excruciating burning sensation. Depending on the sources, pink eye is most contagious. However, if it caused due to allergens, it is not very contagious.
  3. Blepharitis Formation of yellow crust on the eyelids are symptoms, common in both pink eye and blepharitis. This is a condition marked by inflammation of eyelid margin. Learning about the causes of the disorder could be worth it. Bacterial infection, fungal infection, dry eyes, an infection caused by parasites like Demodex eyelash mites and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or (MGD) steps up as the potential causes of Blepharitis. Stinging eyes, itchy lids, grittiness are the common symptoms.


Most of the eye irritants are found in almost every household products. Staying clear of it is almost impossible. However, you can always wash your eyes and hands for better sanitation. If something needs to be applied on the skin, read the label and check for the ingredients used in it. Avoid applying it around the eyes. For other serious causes of burning, drop by a doctor and get the condition diagnosed before the symptoms worsen.