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Why Do My Eyes Burn?

Dry Eye Girl 640×350The brief burning sensation you may feel in your eyes is commonly due to a minor irritation that disappears once your tears wash it out. However, if the burning sensation persists for more than a few hours, it may indicate a severe problem such as Pink Eye (conjunctivitis), Dry Eyes, Blepharitis or an allergic reaction.

The only way to diagnose and treat burning eyes is by visiting your eye doctor. If you feel a persistent burning sensation in your eyes, talk to Dr. Leonard at The Dry Eye Center At Coastal Family Eyecare, who will provide you with the relief you need.

What Eye Conditions Cause Burning Eyes

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is the leading cause of a burning sensation in the eyes. Healthy tears consist of a balance of oil, mucus and water, and when the components are not all there, whether in the right quantities and ratios (as in the case of dry eyes), the eyes become dry and irritated— which can result in a burning sensation.

Pink Eye (Viral or BacterialConjunctivitis)

Pink Eye, also known as viral conjunctivitis, is a highly contagious viral or bacterial infection that can affect either one or both eyes and is spread by coughing or sneezing. The symptoms include watery, burning or itchy eyes.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that causes sore, red eyelids, and crusty debris at the base of the eyelashes. Symptoms include a burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, grittiness, and itchy eyelids.

What Environmental Factors Cause Burning Eyes?

Certain elements can also cause a burning sensation in the eyes, such as allergens, chemicals, perfumes, or getting tiny particles stuck in one’s peepers.

Allergies

Allergens in the air or in your home, such as pet dander or mold, can cause your eyes to itch, tear up, and burn.

Chemicals

Certain chemicals found in household cleaning supplies can cause you to experience a burning sensation. The volatile compounds found in aerosol sprays and disinfectants are not only polluting but also irritating to the eyes.

Fragrances

Certain people that are sensitive to fragrances emanating from perfume, cologne, shampoo, or skin cream, can experience eye irritation, resulting in a burning sensation.

Foreign Particles in Your Eye

When particles get stuck in the eyes, it not only hurts but can also lead to a burning feeling in the eyes.

The Connection Between Burning Eyes and Dry Eyes

woman with close eyes

Tears are necessary for maintaining eye health and for providing clear and comfortable vision. Whenever tiny foreign particles enter the eye, tears form and clean out the eye while keeping the eye moist. However, when tears evaporate too quickly and the eyes become dry, as in the case of Dry Eyes, it can lead to an itchy and burning sensation in the eyes.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Dry Eye Syndrome can be caused by many factors, such as age, genetics, environment, lifestyle, medications, and overall eye health. No matter the factor, the result is the same: your eyes are either not producing enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated, or the tears are not formulated with the correct balance of water, lipids, and mucous to maintain proper lubrication.

What Factors Cause Dry Eyes? 

Age. Dry Eyes tend to occur more frequently in older adults. The majority of those over 65 years of age tend to experience some form of Dry Eyes.

Gender. Women are more likely to develop Dry Eyes due to hormonal changes, whether due to pregnancy, oral contraceptives or menopause.

Medicines. Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and SSRIs, can affect tear production.

Medical conditions. Those with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems can develop symptoms of Dry Eyes. Furthermore, Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), inflammation of the surface of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can lead to Dry Eyes.

Environment. Dry Eyes can result from exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates, which can cause tears to evaporate.

Additional factors. Long-term contact lens use and refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, can reduce tear production and lead to Dry Eyes. Dry Eyes can also occur in those who fail to blink regularly, which typically occurs when staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time.

How Can I Treat or Alleviate Burning Eyes?

If you feel a burning sensation in your eyes, talk to your eye doctor as soon as possible. Dr. Leonard will carefully diagnose and detect the cause of your discomfort, and if you are diagnosed with Dry Eyes, Dr. Leonard might recommend medicated eye drops or artificial tears to alleviate the burning sensation and ensure that your eyes remain moisturized all day long. In more severe cases, steroid drops may be prescribed for quick, short-term relief.

If the eye doctor determines that you have Pink Eye or Blepharitis, anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed. These drops can provide major relief as they target the source of the issue quickly and effectively.

If allergies are the culprit, we can help with that, too. Antihistamines and decongestants can alleviate your symptoms and minimize or even eliminate the burning sensation.

Want your healthy eyes back? Contact The Dry Eye Center At Coastal Family Eyecare and say goodbye to burning eyes for good.

We help patients from in and around Pensacola,  Orange Beach, Tallahassee, and Mobile, throughout FL, enjoy great vision and comfort again.



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Dear Patients,

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent calls during this challenging time.

We are officially closing our offices effective at 3:00pm today, March 20 th and tentatively plan to reopen on April 1 st . We are rescheduling all routine visits and are available by phone to triage ocular emergencies.

Our phone lines will be open:

Monday the 23 rd and 30 th : 10:00am to 5:00pm

Tuesday-Friday (24 th -27 th and the 31 st ): 9:00am to 3:00pm

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination we will tentatively reschedule you starting April 1 st

2) If you are running out of a medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.

3) If you have an issue which cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a Telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.

4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call 1-850-455-0120 andwait for instructions at the end of the message.

Dr. Leonard or Dr. Charbonneau will discuss your condition by phone and make the best treatment decision for you on a one on one basis.

5) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.

https://bit.ly/2WxWYIe and https://bit.ly/33FBlXZ

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health we remain at your service,

Dr. Clare L Leonard

Dr. Mary Charbonneau