Here's What's Really Causing Your Burning Eyes

If you've ever been sleep-deprived, you've probably experienced that uncomfortable burning sensation as you struggle to keep your eyes open. The idea that our eyes can "burn" seems contradictory, considering the fact that our eyes are moist in nature. What does it really mean when our eyes are burning and what's the cause of this odd sensation?

Burning eyes can occur for a number of reasons, ranging from health conditions to environmental circumstances. According to the ophthalmology practice CCT Eyes, a bacterial or viral infection, such as conjunctivitis, may be responsible for your burning eyes, as well as autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, or certain skin conditions such as ocular rosacea. However, experts explain that burning eyes are more often than not a result of mild external factors that are generally not cause for concern.

What are some of these external conditions and what can we do to relieve the discomfort?

How to relieve burning sensations in the eyes

Some day-to-day factors that may be contributing to your burning eyes include irritants such as cigarette smoke or chlorine from a pool, allergies, makeup products, or simply a case of dry eyes (via Mount Sinai). CCT Eyes explains that in some cases, larger irritants that have made direct contact with the eye, such as sand or dirt, can also evoke a burning sensation and lead to a case of dry eyes.

Perhaps less commonly known is that our eyes can also suffer from sunburn just as our skin can. Referred to in the medical community as photokeratitis, sunburn of the eyes can lead to burning sensations along with sensitivity to light, watery eyes, pain, or optical illusions such as blurry rings around light sources (via Medical News Today).

In order to relieve the burning in your eyes, experts at Medical News Today suggest a number of solutions we can implement on our own, including avoiding any known irritants, taking periodic breaks from computer screens, utilizing a warm compress on the eyes, and wearing protective sunglasses when outdoors, as well as the use of eye drops to ease physical discomfort. However, CCT Eyes advises that if the burning sensation is ongoing, particularly if linked to a medical condition, be sure to consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.