Burning eyes can result from dry eyes, blepharitis, an allergy, sunburn, and other conditions. Some causes of eyes burning may respond to home remedies, while others may need medical treatment.

Due to the range of possible causes, anyone experiencing burning eyes should contact a doctor as early as possible. The cause and severity of this symptom will determine the treatment options.

Read on to learn more about what causes burning eyes, treatment options, and more.

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People may refer to stinging or irritation of the eyes as burning eyes. There are numerous possible causes.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes can occur when the tear ducts do not produce either enough tears or tears that do not work correctly. Dry eyes tend to occur more often in people assigned female at birth and people over the age of 65 years.

In addition to a burning sensation, symptoms of dry eyes can include:

  • pain
  • eye redness
  • a gritty sensation as though something is in the eye
  • blurred vision
  • sensitivity to light

Learn about natural remedies for dry eyes.


Flaky, dandruff-like itchy skin at the base of the eyelids characterizes blepharitis. It refers to inflammation of the eyelids.

Additional symptoms include eye redness and swelling.

Learn about the link between blepharitis and dry eyes.

Eye allergies

Also known as allergic conjunctivitis, eye allergies occur when irritating substances get into the eye. The body responds to these substances by producing histamines, which can cause burning eyes.


Common triggers of eye allergies can occur in the house, elsewhere indoors, or outside. They can include:

  • dust
  • pollen
  • mold spores
  • smoke
  • perfume
  • pet dander

Other possible symptoms of eye allergies include:

  • redness
  • tearing
  • swelling
  • itching of the eyes
  • sensitivity to light

Learn about dry eyes due to allergies.

Eye sunburn

Overexposure to the UV light from the sun’s rays can cause eye sunburn, which is also known as photokeratitis.

In addition to burning eyes, the symptoms of photokeratitis may include:

  • light sensitivity
  • pain
  • a gritty feeling
  • watering
  • halos around lights
  • headaches

Ocular rosacea

Ocular rosacea is a condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. It can affect people who have rosacea, a skin condition that causes flushing on the face.

Additional symptoms of ocular rosacea may include:

  • pain
  • light sensitivity
  • red or bloodshot eyes
  • itching
  • the feeling of something being in the eye

Pterygium and pinguecula

A pinguecula is a growth of fleshy tissue on the white part of the eye (conjunctiva). A pterygium is a growth that can develop on the clear part of the eye (cornea).

They usually occur on the part of the eye nearest to the nose, though they can also appear on the outer portion of the eye. Experts believe that they result from a combination of dry eyes and UV light. Dust exposure and chronic irritation can also play a role.

In addition to a burning sensation and the appearance of a growth, they can also cause itchiness and swelling of the eyes.

The treatment options for burning eyes will depend on the underlying cause. For example, if burning eyes occur due to blepharitis, a doctor may recommend antibiotic eye drops to treat bacterial overgrowth.

Some home remedies and over-the-counter treatments may also help manage burning eyes. Examples include:

  • making a warm compress by soaking a clean, soft washcloth in warm water and then placing it over the eyes
  • cleaning the eyelids with an eyelid cleanser, which may be beneficial for blepharitis
  • applying lubricating eye drops to improve eye comfort
  • using antihistamine eye drops or tablets to reduce the effects of allergic reactions in the eyes
  • taking steps to avoid known irritants or allergens
  • taking supplements such as omega-3 fatty acid supplements at a doctor’s advice, as they may help reduce the effects of dry eyes and can be especially useful for people with ocular rosacea
  • drinking plenty of water throughout the day to help keep the eyes moist and reduce dryness
  • taking regular breaks from using a computer screen to help reduce eye dryness and irritation
  • wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV light and further irritation

Identifying the underlying cause of burning eyes is important. People experiencing burning eyes should contact a doctor as soon as possible.

The doctor may start the diagnostic procedure by taking a medical history and asking the person about their symptoms. They will likely ask:

  • when the symptoms started
  • what makes them worse or better
  • whether the person has a history of any other eye-related conditions

The doctor may also review the medications the person is taking. Some medications, such as decongestants, may contribute to burning eyes.

The doctor will also examine the eyes for signs of irregularities, dryness, and damage. They may use a microscope or other specialized equipment to view the eyes more clearly and closely.

Eye doctors may also apply drops to the eyes that allow them to observe the flow of tears and moisture levels in the eyes.

The following are commonly asked questions about burning eyes.

Do your eyes feel like they are burning with COVID-19?

In some cases, COVID-19 may cause dry eyes and eye soreness.

Learn about the possible link between COVID-19 and dry eyes.

How do you get rid of a burning sensation in your eyes?

People can try cleaning their eyelids with a warm compress, using over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops, and taking breaks from screens to manage burning eyes. It may also be necessary to treat an underlying cause.

What causes burning eyes and fatigue?

Possible causes of burning eyes and fatigue include conjunctivitis, blepharitis, dry eyes, allergies, and sun exposure. It is important to receive an accurate diagnosis for burning eyes, so that a person can begin any necessary medical treatments.

What helps tired, burning eyes?

Resting the eyes and reducing screen time can help tired, burning eyes. OTC eye drops may also help.

Possible causes of burning eyes include dry eyes, blepharitis, eye allergies, eye sunburn, ocular rosacea, and pterygium.

A person may require medical treatment to address the underlying cause of burning eyes. They may also wish to try home remedies, such as washing the eyelids with lukewarm water, using OTC eye drops, staying hydrated, and avoiding any known irritants or allergens.

It is important to contact a doctor if a person experiences burning eyes. The doctor will ask questions about symptoms and perform an examination of the eyes to help determine the cause.