Causes of Burning Eyes
Burning eyes is a common symptom when you are feeling tired or exhausted. It is usually accompanied by an itchy or gritty sensation. Burning eyes can be caused by a variety of issues such as a lack of moisture in the air, the natural aging process, or an underlying medical condition.
In this article, we will discuss the potential causes of burning eyes in more detail:
Dehydration is a common cause of burning eyes, and it occurs when the fluids that lubricate the eyes aren’t replaced quickly enough. Dehydration can be caused by not drinking enough water, exposure to dry weather, heavy sweating and crying. When the body is dehydrated, the tear glands are unable to produce sufficient amounts of the tears needed for proper lubrication. This causes a burning sensation in the eyes and may lead to blurred vision or sensitivity to light.
If you experience this symptom along with other signs of dehydration such as
- dry mouth
it is important to increase your water intake and rest until you feel better.
Allergies can be a common cause of burning or itching eyes. Anything from make-up to pollen, smoke, pet dander and air pollutants can cause symptoms including redness, dryness and itchiness. Sometimes these allergies are seasonal and others are perennial.
Allergy diagnosis is best done by a qualified doctor who will likely prescribe eye drops to provide relief of the burning symptoms caused by allergies. In some cases, over-the-counter medication may help alleviate the discomfort of the burning sensation in your eyes.
Exposure to irritants
Burning eyes can be caused by exposure to irritants such as smoke, dust, and pollen. These irritants can cause the conjunctiva (the outer membrane of the eye) to become inflamed, leading to a burning sensation. Other causes may include infection, allergies, dry eyes, chemical exposure, and hormonal changes. Additionally, overusing contact lenses may cause the eyes to become dry and irritated, resulting in burning and itchiness.
In these cases, over-the-counter artificial tears can provide temporary relief until further medical attention is necessary.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome (DES), also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition in which the eyes either do not produce enough tears, or the quality of tears are poor, leading to insufficient lubrication and moisture to keep the eyes healthy. As a result, eyes can become dry and/or irritated. Burning or stinging is often associated with this condition. Other symptoms include blurry vision, redness of the eyes, light sensitivity, scratching and irritation of the lids or eyeballs.
DES can sometimes be caused by underlying medical conditions such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and auto-immune disorders; however in other cases it may have an unknown origin.
Lifestyle factors like reduced blinking (while working on a computer), environmental conditions such as air conditioning or smoke exposure, contact lens wear or contact lens solutions can also contribute to DES. Overuse of preservative eye drops may also cause burning due to irritation from preservative chemicals in the drops.
Solutions for treating dry eye syndrome are available over-the-counter and/or by prescription. Depending on your individual needs, you may need to use artificial tears regularly throughout the day for relief from burning sensations that come from inadequate tear production; certain spring allergens could also be a culprit for causing burning sensations when seasonally triggered. Lifestyle modifications that reduces direct air exposure on your eyes – such as humidifiers – can help with this symptom as well.
Symptoms of Burning Eyes
Burning eyes can be an unpleasant experience to have, and can make you feel tired and fatigued. Burning eyes can be caused by a few different things such as dry eyes, irritants in the air, or even hormonal changes.
Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of burning eyes, so you can better understand what is causing the discomfort.
Eye redness or irritation is extremely common and usually just a temporary symptom of tiredness, dry eyes, allergies, or an infection. Red eyes often turn white again once the underlying cause has been treated. However, if your eyes are persistently red it could be caused by an eye disease and should be diagnosed and monitored closely by your doctor.
Common symptoms of red eyes include:
- Watery eyes
- Stinging or burning in your eye
- Itching and inflammation around your eye
- An aching sensation that radiates from your eye to the surrounding area
- A feeling of pressure behind your eye
- Blurred vision
- Excessive tearing or dryness around the eyelid area
- People with red eyes may also feel light sensitive and find it difficult to stay awake in bright environments.
If you notice any persistent changes in the color of your eye you should consult with your doctor to make sure it’s not caused by an infection or inflammation such as conjunctivitis (pink eye).
When tiredness is the cause of burning eyes, itching is usually present. It might be accompanied by a feeling of dryness as well. This often occurs as the result of a lack of proper moisture on the surface of the eye or in a person’s tears, which can usually be compensated for with artificial tears or moisturizers.
In order to soothe irritated eyes, it is important to find relief quickly. As well as artificial tears and moisturizers, cool compresses can help reduce irritation; however, it is important not to rub your eyes too vigorously when suffering from this symptom. Itching and burning could become worse if further irritated by rubbing previously affected areas.
Burning eyes is a very common symptom, but it can be difficult to pinpoint the underlying cause. Burning eyes could be due to dehydration, allergies, eye infections or exposure to irritants. Other possible causes include insufficient sleep, inadequate nutrition and a Vitamin A deficiency. The burning sensation can range from uncomfortable to unbearable and might accompany other symptoms such as blurred vision, redness in the eyes, excessive tearing or dryness. If you are experiencing burning eyes for more than a few days and are not sure why, it is important to consult with an ophthalmologist.
In the meantime, there are some simple strategies that you can try to help alleviate the burning sensation:
- Consume an adequate amount of water each day – Water helps keep your body hydrated which can help with the burning sensation.
- Apply cold compresses – Place cold compresses on your closed lids for 15 minutes at a time; this will help reduce any swelling and inflammation of the eyelid area.
- Take breaks from using your digital devices – Staring at bright screens for extended periods of time can cause eyestrain which can lead to burning sensations in the eye area. Take regular breaks away from screens and give your eyes a rest!
Eye burning can be a symptom of excessive fatigue. It is important to get to the root cause of what is causing your eyes to burn. There are multiple treatments available to help alleviate your symptoms, depending on the underlying cause.
From home remedies to medical treatments, let’s look at the options available to help your eye burning when you are tired:
Artificial tears are one of the most common treatments for dry eye syndrome. These products, which come in a variety of forms, help to replenish the tears that your eye is unable to produce naturally. Artificial tears can be used frequently throughout the day – often as needed – to reduce symptoms such as discomfort and itching. They are available without a prescription and come in a variety of base ingredients, so it is important to consult with your doctor in order to determine which type may be most beneficial for you.
Not all brands are created equally – some offer additional benefits such as a longer-lasting solution or protection against environmental elements like wind and dust. Popular options include preservative-free artificial tears, which provide relief without introducing additional preservatives or ingredients. Other products may also contain ingredients such as eyelash conditioners or omega fatty acids that can help sooth and nourish the eye surface.
Depending on your individual needs, there are several possible treatments available for dry eyes including:
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications
- Punctal plugs
- Dietary supplements
- Other medical procedures
If your eyes burn when you’re tired, it’s possible that allergies are the cause. The most common type of allergens are pollen, dust mites and animal dander.
Allergy medications such as antihistamines can help reduce symptoms of allergies, including burning in the eyes. Antihistamines can be taken orally, typically in pill form; or topically, via eye drops containing antihistamines such as ketotifen or olopatadine. In some cases, allergy shots may be effective in reducing allergy symptoms if you cannot take oral medications or find relief with eye drops.
It’s important to speak to a doctor before starting any medication. They will be able to assess your condition and decide which treatment is best for you.
Eye drops are a common form of treatment for burning sensations in the eyes. Over-the-counter (OTC) artificial tears usually provide relief, but if your eye irritation is caused by allergies, you should use a non-drowsy OTC antihistamine eye drop formulated to address itching and red eyes. These drops will reduce or eliminate inflammation caused by the reaction to an allergen.
If none of these options work for you, your doctor may suggest other medications such as corticosteroid eye drops or mast cell stabilizer eye drops. Corticosteroids are often prescribed when an underlying medical condition like arthritis or lupus is causing eye irritation and mast cell stabilizers may be used for long-term relief from severe allergy symptoms. If you have an infection of the surface of your eye, such as conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to clear it up.
Finally, if eyestrain is causing your burning sensations, consulting an optometrist may result in suggestions such as:
- Prism lenses in glasses to alleviate double vision that can contribute to this feeling.
- Computer glasses designed specifically for screen users who spend long periods looking at illuminated screens which can cause a burning sensation in the eyes over time due to eyestrain and muscle strain.
If you experience asthma symptoms, it’s important to identify and avoid any environmental factors that may be causing or aggravating them. Common triggers include air pollution, strong odors, smoke, dust mites, mold and pollen. If your asthma is triggered by one of these sources, taking steps to limit your exposure can help reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Some tips for avoiding irritants include:
- Keeping windows closed during high-pollen season
- Using a dehumidifier in damp climates
- Vacuuming regularly to reduce dust particles in carpets and furniture
- Installing high-efficiency air filters in any central air conditioning systems
- Minimizing outdoor activity when levels of pollution are high
- Refraining from smoking inside
Having burning eyes when you are feeling tired can be a symptom of dry eye, eye strain from staring at screens, or allergies. Whatever the cause of the burning sensation, there are some simple tips you can use to prevent it.
Let’s look at some of the most effective ways to prevent burning eyes when feeling tired:
Drinking plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest and most effective ways to counter eye burn caused by fatigue. The American Optometric Association recommends drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Not only does dehydration reduce the amount of oxygen in your body, but it also reduces the amount of moisture in your eyes, leading to symptoms associated with eye dryness such as burning, stinging or gritty sensations.
Keeping yourself hydrated can help reduce these symptoms and keep your eyes feeling more comfortable throughout the day.
To prevent eye burning from allergies and other irritants, it’s important to take the necessary measures to avoid them. Here are some tips to keep your eyes healthy and prevent them from burning:
- Reduce dust in the home. Frequent cleaning with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner can help reduce the concentration of potential allergens in your environment.
- Keep pets out of bedrooms and off upholstered furniture that may harbor pet dander.
- Clean air filters regularly. Allergens such as mold spores and dust mites can build up on air filters, so regular cleaning or replacement is essential for keeping allergies under control.
- Wear protective eyewear when outdoors, such as sunglasses with 99 percent UV protection; high-quality polarized lenses reduce glare, which can cause eye fatigue and irritation.
- Be careful with makeup around your eyes; look for hypoallergenic products free of fragrances and dyes which are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
- Wash hands frequently, particularly before touching your face or eyes during allergy season; this will reduce the risk of transferring allergens from surfaces onto sensitive parts of the body–namely the eyes!
Wearing sunglasses when outdoors is an important step in relieving and preventing eye strain due to fatigue. Many people overlook the fact that sunlight can cause eye strain as well, especially on bright days and even during overcast days. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or reflections off of surfaces like snow can then cause additional pain or reduced vision. Wearing wraparound UV-400 glasses will help to reduce glare and protect your eyes from too much bright light.
Additionally, while indoors, using translucent window shades can also work to reduce direct sunlight as well as monitor screen reflection. It’s also important to remember that sunglasses should still be worn on cloudy days, since this is when the majority of UV radiation is transmitted toward Earth.
Making sure you wear the proper protection for outdoor activities will help prevent long-term damage to your eyesight.
Taking breaks from screens
Taking breaks from screens is one of the best ways to prevent eye strain. Whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, taking a break helps the eyes recharge and relax. The amount of time and frequency are different for everyone, but here are some tips to help reduce eye strain:
- Take a 10-15 minute break every two hours when using digital devices. During this break, look away from your device and focus on something in the distance. This gives your eyes time to relax and rest.
- Adjust your monitor brightness so that it is more similar to the room’s light conditions. This will help reduce any glare reflecting off the screen.
- Adjust your screen resolution so that words on text documents appear clear and sharp. Soft or blurry images can cause extra eye fatigue because focusing is more difficult for longer amounts of time.
- When possible, position yourself so that windows are not directly in view or facing you as natural light can create glare on monitors which causes eye fatigue over time.
Taking breaks from screens is just one way to reduce eye strain caused by after long days of looking at digital devices; if needed, speak with an optometrist about other lifestyle changes or specialized computer vision eyewear that may help with symptoms of digital eyestrain caused by increased computer use in daily life activities.
When to See a Doctor
At some point in our lives, we have all experienced our eyes burning when we are tired. Depending on the intensity of the burning sensation, it can be a sign that something more serious may be going on. It is important to be aware of this and to know when it is time to see a doctor.
Let’s discuss why and when it is important to visit a medical professional:
Persistent burning sensation
If your burning eyes occur frequently and last longer than a few hours, it may be a sign of an underlying problem with your eyes or general health. It is important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist to diagnose any medical issues with your eyes and get the right treatment.
If your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable, you may have dry eye syndrome. This occurs when the tear ducts don’t produce enough moisture, leaving the eyes feeling dry, itchy and sometimes resulting in pain or soreness. You may also experience crusting in the corner of the eyes as well as sensitivity to light. An eye doctor can diagnose your condition and offer treatment options such as artificial tears, punctal plugs or other medications to relieve symptoms.
If you have redness in addition to a burning sensation, it could be caused by inflammation due to an infection or allergies. In this case, you should see an eye doctor for diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your optometrist can also screen for signs of more serious conditions such as glaucoma that could lead to permanent vision damage if left untreated.
In some cases, burning eyes may be caused by fatigue or stress levels that disrupt tear production and reduce lubrication on the surface of your eyes. If this appears to be the case, try getting adequate rest as well as managing stress levels through relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation before seeking medical help from an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
If your symptoms of burning, stinging, or redness in the eyes don’t improve or become more severe after a few days, it’s important to see a doctor. Additionally, if you develop other vision problems like blurred vision or increased sensitivity to light, seek prompt medical attention. You should also see a doctor if you experience pain in one or both eyes that does not go away.
It’s important to note that eye discomfort can often be caused by other underlying medical conditions. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, the doctor may refer you to an ophthalmologist for further examination and tests. The ophthalmologist may use eye drops to dilate the pupil so they can get a better view of the interior of the eye for further evaluation and diagnosis.
It is also essential to report any recent psychological or emotional stress you may have been experiencing as such stress can cause mental fatigue which leads to physical fatigue – this could be at play with your particular situation and should not be overlooked!
Changes in your vision can be indicators of a greater underlying health concern and should not be ignored. If you have burning, itching or unusual sensations in your eyes, or they look red or watery, it is important to visit your eye doctor. Common causes of eye discomfort include allergies, a foreign object in the eye, dry eyes and inflammation caused by an infection.
If you experience any blurriness or changes in color vision as well as pain when looking at light, abnormal floaters that won’t go away or flashing lights, you should make an appointment with an eye doctor right away. You may also need to see a doctor if you have any difficulty focusing on near or far objects or if one of your eyes appears to wander inward.
Many times, these symptoms can be the result of something minor like fatigue from working too much looking at computer screens but it is always best to err on the side of caution. Infections and inflammation caused by bacteria and virus will not get better over time – it’s essential to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to limit damage to your vision.