Burning in the eye


Many people suffer from burning eyes. These complaints are not uncommon, particularly due to the increasing work on the computer and the now very widespread use of contact lenses.


In most cases this is simply an overstrain of the eyes and a lack of tear secretion - the dry eye syndrome. In addition to the burning sensation itself, other typical symptoms such as a foreign body sensation in the eye, itching around the eye and reddening of the conjunctiva can occur.

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  • itchy eyes
  • reddened eyes

From a medical point of view, this is to be considered harmless. Nevertheless, a burning sensation in the eye can also be caused by serious illnesses such as conjunctivitis. Treatment is urgently needed in this case.


Burning eyes can theoretically have many causes. Among the most important are Inflammation of the eye or its environment, such as the Conjunctivitis (Conjunctivites). This can be infectious as well as allergic or irritative, i.e. caused by irritating substances.

Infectious conjunctivitisn can be caused by viruses as well as bacteria and are generally contagious. Allergic conjunctivitis, on the other hand, is very common and is mostly triggered by pollen, but in some cases also by drugs or cosmetics. Chlorine gases and formaldehyde, for example, but also more common substances such as smoke of any form, can be named as irritating substances on the eye.

  • Treatment of conjunctivitis
  • Is conjunctivitis contagious?

Also Inflammation of the eyelid (Blepharitis) can cause burning eyes. They can also have infections as a background, or they can simply be due to a secretion disorder of the glands of the eyelids.

Another common cause of burning eyes is insufficient wetting of them with Tear fluid, which also brings about inflammatory processes in the eye. This is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry eye syndrome) and is on the one hand an accompanying symptom of certain systemic diseases, but on the other hand it is also associated with long work on computer screens. In this context it should also be mentioned that even a simple overexertion of the eyes can lead to a burning sensation. Another typical cause of eye burning is Injuries to the surface of the eye (see also: Injuries to the eye).

Rarer causes, however, are Inflammation of the dermis (Scleritis) or the cornea (Keratites), as well as growths of the conjunctiva, which are called wing skin (Pterygium) are designated. Also skin diseases like that psoriasis (Psoriasis) or the Herpes zosterwhich when the eyes are affected as Ophthalmic herpes (Herpes of the eye) are associated with a burning sensation.

Burning eyes when wearing contact lenses

The invention of contact lenses represents a great enrichment for many people affected by farsightedness or far-sightedness. In contrast to glasses, they not only offer a clearer field of vision, but also do not change vision, as is the case when wearing glasses (glasses Correcting myopia, for example, reduces what is seen). In contrast to glasses, however, contact lenses are also more complex to care for and potentially pose risks to the health of the eye.
For the lenses to function properly, it is important that they float with low friction on the tear film, which is responsible, among other things, for supplying the cornea with nutrients. If this is not the case, wearing the contact lens can damage the cornea and conjunctiva. The possible consequences range from dry eyes (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca) about the Conjunctivitis (Conjunctivitis), up to the sprouting of vessels into the normally vascular-free cornea and thus a gradual loss of vision.

Burning eyes from wearing contact lenses are a first indication that a Irritation of the surface of the eye from the lens takes place.

However, the negative consequences of wearing contact lenses can be greatly reduced with the help of simple measures. This primarily includes that Adhering to the care instructions regarding contact lenses. Above all, these should not be worn longer than intended and should be cleaned daily to prevent colonization with bacteria. Furthermore, contact lenses can be individually adapted to the eye by appropriately trained specialists, i.e. ophthalmologists or opticians, so that complications can largely be avoided.

You can find additional information here

  • Contact lens intolerance
  • Contact lens side effects

Burning eyes after catacaract surgery

Cataract operations are generally considered to be very low-complication and quick interventions that are associated with few side effects. It is all the more worrying for many patients when they experience a burning sensation in their eyes postoperatively. In fact, however, this is not uncommon and solely due to the Wound healing process of the conjunctiva in which incisions are made as part of the cataract operation in order to be able to insert the artificial lens. Apart from that, the burning sensation can be accompanied by other typical symptoms. These include a foreign body sensation, as well as itching, red eyes and sometimes increased tears. This complex of symptoms is commonly referred to as "dry eye syndrome". The best way to promote wound healing and counteract the symptoms is to consistently cover the surface of the eye with artificial tear fluid in the form of eye drop to wet. In the beginning it may be necessary to do this every hour. Gradually, the symptoms will decrease more and more in most cases.

Information on catacaract surgery can be found here Cataract surgery

Burning eyes in front of the screen

An experience that probably everyone has already had these days: Working long hours in front of a computer screen is exhausting, especially for the eyes. The consequence can sore or burning eyes be. As a rule, these are caused by insufficient wetting of the cornea and conjunctiva with tear fluid, which has the function of preventing the eyelids from rubbing on the surface of the eye. In technical terms, this is known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. People who spend a lot of time in front of the screen tend to do this more easily.
Countering keratoconjunctivitis sicca due to long work at the computer is not necessarily easy. It is primarily recommended regular, reasonably long breaks to be able to protect the eyes at least for a short time. That being said, you can eye dropwhich ensure the formation of an artificial tear film, provide relief and reduce symptoms.


Burning eyes typically does not appear as an isolated symptom, but is accompanied by various, mostly rather unspecific symptoms. Common symptoms that occur simultaneously are a Sensation of pressure or foreign body, as well as a Feeling of dryness in the affected eye.
Burning eyes can often be seen as their symptoms, as they are often reddened (even if it is only due to constant rubbing of the fingers by the person concerned). Of this Redness Both the eyelids and the conjunctiva can be affected.
Another characteristic symptom that is associated with burning eyes is a Itching of the eyelid rims. In some cases, patients stop in the morning after they wake up Gluing the eyelashes together which is caused by a secretion produced at night. This secretion can have different consistencies depending on its origin and can be either watery, slimy or purulent.
Also can Dandruff Form on the lids or the lash line. In some cases it can also Eyesight impaired be. Blurred or blurred vision can also occur, although not typically. As a result of Eye pain it can also too a headache come.

Burning eyes and blurred vision

As described above, a burning eye can be associated with a variety of other symptoms. In some cases, this also includes influencing vision, for example in the form of blurred vision. It should be noted, however, that blurred vision is not a key symptom of the above-mentioned causes and clinical pictures that cause stinging of the eyes.
Rather, in most cases it is on one insufficient wetting of the surface of the eye with tear fluid which is necessary to ensure perfect bundling of the light rays on the retina. Dry eyes therefore lead to a weak scattering of the light rays and thus to blurred vision. With this knowledge it is often easy to at least acutely counteract burning of the eyes and blurred vision by eye drop be used. However, if the symptoms persist for several days or even increase in intensity, a visit to an ophthalmologist or at least your family doctor is urgently recommended, if only because dry eyes can promote conjunctivitis.

Burning and watery eyes

Just as burning eyes can be associated with a dry surface of the eye, an accompanying symptom can also be increased tearing. If the flow of tears is so strong that the tear fluid runs out over the edges of the eyelids, from Epiphora spoken.
The salty tear fluid performs a number of different tasks. First and foremost, it ensures a low-friction blinking of the eye and thus protects the cornea from damage that would lead to a disruption of the refraction of light and thus to a deterioration in vision.
In addition, the tear fluid contains various proteins such as antibodies and enzymes, which one antibacterial and antiviral function fulfill. An excessive production of tear fluid can be the cause in one Irritation or infection of the eye and thus represent an attempt by the body to flush out foreign bodies or fight off infections. This correlation fits in well with the symptom of burning eyes.
Another background for watery eyes is one impaired tear drainage via the tear and nose duct. In all likelihood, however, this would not be accompanied by any stinging of the eyes.
From this, possible causes for the symptom combination of tears and burning eyes can ultimately be deduced. Paradoxically, dry eyes are a very likely cause impaired composition of the tear fluid lead to the fact that it cannot adequately fulfill its function. It is also possible that the eyes may tear as a result of overexertion. Likewise, infections of the eye, such as conjunctivitis, can trigger excessive tear production. In any case, prolonged tearing and burning of the eyes should be taken seriously and clarified by a doctor.

Burning eyes and headache

Headaches and burning eyes are a very unspecific combination of symptoms. This is particularly the case because pain in the head and neck area, including eye pain, very often results in headaches. Often, however, these two symptoms occur in one Eye strain on.
This can on the one hand by a uncorrected poor eyesight like nearsightedness, farsightedness or presbyopia, on the other hand also simply through long periods of work in front of the computer screen be conditional. Long work at the PC without taking appropriate breaks also favors keratoconjunctivitis sicca, which is characterized by burning sensation in the eyes due to insufficient tear production. This can also cause the symptom combination mentioned.
Also can a latent squint (Heterophoria) lead to the two symptoms in the course of a day. In fact, squinting is not uncommon to some extent. From birth, the brain usually adjusts to the shifted visual axes. Nevertheless, squinting can occur, especially in children (see also: Squinting in children), burning eyes, headaches, and other symptoms such as watery eyes and blurred vision and should therefore be treated.
As a rule, the combination of headaches and burning eyes is therefore harmless. However, it is important here to precisely delimit the pain character of the eyes. If severe eye pain and headache (especially in the forehead area) appear very suddenly, this could be an acute angle block that urgently needs treatment, i.e. a Glaucoma attack in glaucoma, act. Burning pain is rather untypical with this clinical picture. Other typical signs of this disease are vegetative symptoms such as nausea and nausea, visual disturbances such as blurred vision and reddening of the affected eye. Furthermore, a rock-hard consistency of the eye is noticeable when touched. If the symptoms mentioned above are present, it is urgently advisable to go to an emergency room in order to avoid a severe course of the disease.

Burning eyes without redness

Eye drops often help with burning eyes - even if they are not reddened.

Even if burning of the eyes is often accompanied by reddening of the same, this does not always have to be the case. However, by excluding reddening of the eyes, the possible suspected diagnoses can be narrowed down. Conjunctivitis, for example, is typically associated with severe reddening of the eyes. If there is no reddening, however, very likely causes of burning eyes are keraton conjunctivitis sicca, the dry eye syndrome to which burning eyes can be attributed in many cases. This can be remedied by using eye drops (see also: Euphrasia eye drops), which form an artificial tear film, can help. However, a medical evaluation is definitely recommended if the symptoms persist for several days, intensify or additional symptoms occur. In this case, a more serious disease that requires treatment must be assumed.

Burning eyes when closing the lid

Burning of the eyes, especially when closing them, cannot necessarily be differentiated from permanent burning and does not necessarily contribute to the exclusion from the suspected diagnoses mentioned above. The fact that the eyes burn more when the eyelids are closed should instead be viewed in such a way that one becomes clear increased irritation of the conjunctiva from rubbing the eyelid on this arises. The most likely diagnosis here remains dry eye syndrome (keratonic conjunctivitis sicca). This clinical picture can have various causes, such as long work in front of a computer monitor. Typical accompanying symptoms are a foreign body sensation in the eye, as well as itching of the eye area and, if more severe, red eyes. Acute symptom relief can be achieved through the use of eye drops in particular.