Dry eyes are a common reason for burning eyes. If there is insufficient lacrimal fluid and the film of moisture on the surface of the eye breaks up, the eyes become irritated. Alongside burning eyes, there could also be redness, swelling or foreign body sensation in the eyes. The symptoms can often be reduced with simple remedies and changes in habits. Lubricating eye drops, sufficient sleep and fresh air can alleviate the accompanying symptoms of burning eyes.
How burning eyes come about
People who swim underwater with their eyes open in chlorinated water, slice an onion or stand directly in the smoke at a barbecue know the feeling of burning eyes. In these situations, there is a short-term irritation of the surface of the eye, caused by external irritants. The burning sensation serves as a warning in order to protect the eye from harmful substances. Allergy sufferers, especially those who suffer from hay fever, know only too well the painful feeling of burning eyes. Substances which are otherwise harmless, like pollen, cause irritation of the eyes.
But many people suffer frequently or very often from burning eyes – dry eyes are usually the cause then. The tear film, which is constantly produced by our lacrimal glands, covers and protects the surface of our eyes from environmental factors, drying-out and friction. If the eye is lacking lacrimal fluid, the tear film could rupture. Areas which are not lubricated appear which then react extremely sensitively and are irritated by such things as the rubbing produced when we blink. The consequences are a burning sensation as well as itching, redness or swelling.
Try the following to help with burning eyes
If dry eyes are the cause of burning eyes, then you should address the cause directly. For this, there are various lubricating eye drops available as well as eye ointments: people who only occasionally suffer from burning, dry eyes can simply apply artificial tears when the situation arises and thereby support their own tear film. In the case of severe problems, intensive lubricating eye drops can be used regularly throughout the day. For severely irritated eyes, the application of eye ointments before going to sleep is a good option. These can additionally facilitate the regeneration of the eyes during the night.
Simple ways to prevent burning eyes
This is how you can avoid dry and burning eyes:
Treat your eyes to regular breaks – in the office, or while reading or watching television! Instead of looking at the monitor, look out of the window and into the distance now and again, close your eyes for several seconds and also try to blink regularly when concentrating on tasks.
Protect your eyes from draughts. They increase the dryness of your eyes and can encourage conjunctivitis.
If problems persist, you should visit an eye doctor in order to find the cause of the symptoms. It could be that your eyes are overworked due to deteriorating eyesight and that is why they burn.
Fresh air is good for your eyes! Regularly ventilate your working area and home and forego switching on the air conditioning. A walk outdoors often works wonders.
Get a good night’s sleep, because tiredness also affects your eyes. If your eyes are tired and overstrained because of a lack of sleep, they have to exert themselves more. Burning eyes can be a consequence.
Avoid irritants such as smoke and chlorine, or also cosmetics which are applied near to your eyes. These can also be an extra burden on your eyes and cause or reinforce burning eyes.
If you show symptoms of burning eyes, make sure that you drink enough. Our diet also has an impact on the health of our eyes. A varied and vitamin-rich diet helps supply the eyes with important nutrients such as omega fatty acids, vitamins B6 and B12 as well as zinc.
If you wear contact lenses and have problems with dry and burning eyes, you should go without them for a few days and go back to wearing glasses. Make sure that you do not use the lenses longer than prescribed and that you clean them as instructed. Sometimes, it helps to change to a different cleaning solution or another lens manufacturer. Consult your eye doctor to get advice on this matter.