3 Causes of Burning Eyes and When You Should See a Doctor

causes of burning eyes

Burning eyes can be caused by a variety of things, but not all of them are harmless like too little sleep. Keep reading to learn when you should get checked.

Have you ever stared at a screen for too long, then felt your eyes dry out and sting when you finally looked away? Or gone up to get something from the attic, and rubbed your eyes the entire way down? If so, you’re familiar with the effects of burning eyes, and the discomfort they bring.

While we know that certain triggers like dust can cause this sensation, there are other reasons you may experience it as well. Today, we’re taking a look at a few causes that might be attributed to the burn you feel. We’ll also discuss how long you should wait before seeking medical attention.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

Causes of Burning Eyes

1. Environmental Conditions

causes of burning eyes from sun and wind

While dust is one of the most common eye irritants present in your environment, it’s far from the only one. Your eyes might also burn on an especially windy day or a very sunny one, adding to the importance of sunglasses.

In keeping with extreme weather conditions, also take caution on a very cold day. When you walk out into the cold, the moist top layer of your cornea can dry out, causing your eyes to burn and water.

Apart from these occurrences, you may also get burning eyes in the presence of smoke or other airborne substances such as hairspray, perfume, pet dander, or pollen. Even swimming in a chlorinated pool can cause your eyes to burn, so don’t forget your goggles!

2. Dry Eye and Other Conditions

causes of burning eyes

One of the more serious underlying causes of burning eyes is a condition known as dry eye. Your eyes need tears to lubricate them and keep them nourished. As you blink, they protect your eye, help remove foreign matter, and keep your vision clear.

When your eyes fail to produce enough quality tears to perform this function, they can easily dry out, burn, and become scratchy. Dry eye is especially common in older adults, though it can affect anyone.

If you suspect your burning eyes are due to dry eye versus short-term exposure to an irritating substance, don’t hesitate to contact your eye care professional, who can provide treatment.  This visit can also determine if you’re experiencing symptoms of an eye-related illness, such as Conjunctivitis, Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation), or Sjogren’s Syndrome, so it’s important to schedule it as soon as possible.

3. Strained Eyes

burning eyes caused by looking at the computer

Sometimes, your eyes become strained if you sit and look at your computer or television, or read a book, for too long without looking up. When this happens, your eyes can burn. You might also feel pain and itchiness around your eyes and experience fatigue and blurred vision.

While long-term exposure to the light from digital screens could permanently damage your retinas, eye strain is usually only temporary.

To prevent it, try to look up every 20 minutes or so and blink your eyes slowly about 10 times. As you do so, you’ll re-moisten your eyes. Remember to keep your work area well-lit and sit at least arm’s distance from your screen to prevent reoccurrence.

Do You Have Burning Eyes? We Can Help!

Whether you’re seeking relief from an eye condition, need prescription glasses, or want top-quality contacts lenses, connecting with an eyecare professional is key.

Avant-Garde Optometry in Frisco, TX is dedicated to providing our clients with the care and attention their eyes deserve. From stylish designer frames to in-depth evaluations, we offer it all.

Contact us today to learn more and see the difference!

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