Reasons your eyeballs feel like they are on fire

Burning eyes are not a pleasant feeling as the sensation can often be accompanied by other symptoms including eye pain, itching, discharge or watery eyes. Burning eyes can have several possible causes, ranging from the simple to the complex and frequently, burning eyes are caused by unavoidable environmental influences, such as strong winds or high pollen counts but similar sensations can be symptoms of a more serious eye problem that requires medical attention.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Parikshit Gogate, Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology at Dr DY Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, revealed, “The eye has a natural moisturizing and cleansing mechanism. This gets disturbed when the eyes are used excessively, leading to a condition called as dry eye. It’s usually common after people turn 40 or 50 years but is being increasingly seen in younger age group however, the good news is that most of the causes of burning eyes are mild and won’t affect your eyes much but if the burning sensation doesn’t go away, it could be a serious problem worth the doctor’s attention.”

He listed the causes of dry eyes as:

1. Hot and dry weather – It may lead to eye allergies and dry eye syndrome

2. Dusty conditions – The wet layer of tears that coats your eye, your tear film, can become encrusted with tiny, solid particles from smoke, dust, and air pollution.

3. Staring at screens for long time – Brightness or glare that reflects from our screens leads to eye strain

4. Air Pollution – Pollutants are a major contributor to dry eyes and eye allergies.

5. Dry air in air crafts, places with de-humidifiers

6. Use of anti allergic agents, beta blockers commonly used for heart diseases, hypertension, other medication.

7. Rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions.

Dr Shazia Shafi, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, explained, “Eye allergies, also called “allergic conjunctivitis,” occur when irritating substances get into the eye. Also, your eyes may burn due to many different reasons including the weather, allergens, and even diseases.” She shared that some of the most common causes of the eye allergies include:

1. Blepharitis – Blepharitis is an eye condition in which the eyelids get inflamed or infected as a result of irritants, bacteria, or even parasites. With this condition, your eyelids will be swollen with the eyes being dry and itchy and with a burning feeling. The base of the eyes will have some greasy discharge in the form of oily flakes.

2. Dry eye – Dry eye disease is an eye condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. It occurs also when your eyes do not make the right type of tears or tear film.

3. Allergies – Eye allergies that can trigger eye burns include pollen, mites, smoke, and dust. Besides eye discomfort, you may also experience other allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, cough, and a sore throat.

4. Snow blindness – Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun may cause sunburn to your eyes. It may also lead to eye burns, redness, sensitivity to light, headaches, blurred vision, and temporary vision loss.

5. Ocular rosacea – Ocular rosacea is a common condition that causes inflammation around the eyes, and eye burning, itching, and redness. A blocked eyelid gland or eyelash mites can lead to Ocular rosacea. This condition can occur in people with rosacea of the skin, and in those who do not.

6. Conjunctivitis – Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin layer of clear tissue covering the white part of the eye. This disease is generally caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

7. Eye fatigue – If your eyes burn after looking at a digital screen, you could be eye strain. Other symptoms which may include are double vision, watery eyes, dry eyes, and sensitivity to light.

Even if none of these additional symptoms occur, you should contact your eye doctor if your eyes continue to burn for more than a few days. If you feel like your eyes are generating heat which leads to discomfort, frequent blinking, rubbing of eyes or blurred vision, do visit your nearby Ophthalmologist to get immediate help. When diagnosed and treated in time, your eyes will start feeling better and longtime damage can be prevented.

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