Ever felt like you just pressed a chili pepper to your eye? Burning eyes are horribly unpleasant, sting, can make your eyes water, and overall give the impression that you’ve been having a little too much fun. 😉
There are a few different reasons you might suffer from burning, red eyes, but you don’t need to panic. Usually with a few simple home remedies you can reduce eye pain and go back to shooting zombies with precision.
Causes of burning eyes
There are several factors that can lead to a burning sensation in the eyes, including:
- 🌵 Dry eye disease: The number one cause of burning eyes! Eyes are naturally moist organs and produce tears regularly. Without this, you can suffer from dry eye, which has symptoms such as itchiness, discomfort and a burning sensation.
- 🤧 Allergies: Hayfever sufferers everywhere will be quite familiar with burning eyes. It’s usually accompanied by a healthy dose of sneezing, tears, and your friends staying further away.
- 👁️ Irritation: This is usually caused by the presence of something unfamiliar in your eye. An eyelash, piece of hair, the blood of your fallen enemies…
- 🩺Eye pathologies: Infections and diseases like keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye’(inflammation of the conjunctiva, the inner membrane of the eyelids), blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid), ocular rosacea (chronic surface disease of the eyes, often linked to cutaneous rosacea).
- 🧐Unsuitable contact lens: Ill-fitting contact lenses or ones that are poorly maintained can affect the overall health of the eye, leading to burning. In other words, stay hygienic!
- 💨 Pollution or dry air: If air is too dry, or heavily polluted it can cause no end of eye issues, including itching or a burning sensation.
- 👀 Eye fatigue: Causes of eye fatigue are everywhere! A prominent cause of digital eye strain in particular is blue light from screens and LED lights. Luckily, wearing the right protection can help negate this and other unpleasant symptoms, like burning.
If burning eyes alone weren’t enough, they can often be accompanied by itching, runny eyes, blurred vision, and excessive tearing. These symptoms and eye pain can all be part of dry eye syndrome or factors in burning eyes.
Home remedies for immediate relief from burning eyes
Luckily you don’t need to run screaming straight to the hospital. There are natural remedies at home you can try first as part of your eye care routine. Of course, if symptoms do persist then please consult an ophthalmologist… but not running and screaming. It usually puts them off.
These remedies are effective for both dry and burning eyes:
⚪️Apply hot, cold, or infused compresses
To combat dry or burning eyes, there’s nothing more soothing than a compress. You’ll most likely already have the stuff you need to make one at home too:
- 🧊Cold compress: Cold helps reduce inflammation and irritation of the eye by activating its microcirculation. Take a clean cloth, soak it, wring it out, then leave it across your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.
- 🔥 Hot compress: If you hate the cold, you can always turn to a hot compress instead. Just make sure you understand the difference between hot and boiling. Your eyes are already burning, let’s not add to it. Hot compresses relax the muscles and can also help to unclog blocked tear ducts.
- 🌹 With cornflower water, rose water, castor oil: These natural products, used in moderation across the eyes can help relieve symptoms and soothe aches.
- ☕️With herbal tea bags: Again, please let the tea bag cool before attaching it to your face. Choose a tea that’s good for the eyes and you can enjoy a nice cuppa at the same time.
- 🥒 Cucumber slices: They’re not just for spa ads. Thanks to its high-water content, cucumber has moisturizing properties that soothe eye irritation. Place a slice over each eyelid and sit back and relax for around 10 minutes.
🫖 Hot drinks for burning eyes: Infusions work!
If you’re partial to a herbal tea, then you’ll already have what you need in the cupboard for this. Some herbal teas have soothing properties that can help burning eyes. Roman chamomile, or eyebright, for example are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic! If you’re not feeling too adventurous, green tea is also a great choice as its high in anti-oxidants to soothe burning eyes.
Check out more herbal tea solutions for soothing eyes here.
Massaging your eyes is a simple and relieving technique. Just don’t poke yourself in the eye, that won’t help anything.
We recommend these 3 different types of eye massage:
- ⭕️ Circular eye massage: Use your index, middle and ring fingers delicately placed on the closed eyelids.
- 🔺 The 3-point massage: Use your thumbs and middle fingers on each side of the bridge of the nose and your index fingers between the eyebrows; like someone’s just told you Abby’s too buff in The Last of Us Part II.
- 🤨 Massage under the brow bone: The ultimate eye massage! Make circular movements by exerting progressive pressure with your thumbs in the hollow formed between the underside of your eyebrows and the bridge of your nose for 10 seconds, palms slightly upwards. Not necessarily the most comfortable, but it is super effective.
⏱️Breaks and blinking
It sounds silly, but as burning eyes are often caused by a lack of lubrication, simply blinking more can often soothe the pain and rehydrate your eyes.
It’s also important to take regular breaks, particularly in front of screens. This rests inflamed eyes and soothes irritation. Plus, next time you fall asleep at work you can just tell your boss you were resting your burning eyes.
Try the 20-20-20 method, you take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to stare at an object 20 feet away (or 6 meters).
Maybe not a complete home remedy as you will need to purchase these, but eye drops are an important step in the journey to soothe your burning eyes. Try a physiological serum or a pharmacist recommended eye drop to help moisten eyes and remove any impurities that could be causing irritation.
If you’re like Rachel in Friends and need 5 people to pin you down to put them in, don’t worry. We’ve got a guide for the best way to administer eye drops (hint: it doesn’t involve calling your closest buddies).
👨⚕️If none of the above works, consult an eye doctor!
Home remedies might work, but if the problem is deeper and persistent then you absolutely need to consult an eye doctor and check in on your eye health.
We’re not doctors, and neither is Google. Talk to your healthcare professional, who can look at your eyes, determine the cause and provide effective solutions for long-term eye issues.
You only have one set.
💡Note: These tips are also effective for other eye issues including itchy eyes, dry eyes and excessive tearing. Don’t forget to give them a try and help avoid eye problems and burning!
Bonus tips for preventing burning eyes
Prevention is better than cure. Often, implementing healthy habits before the problem arises helps negate it in the long run.
Try these preventative measures to stop yourself from becoming a victim of burning eyes:
👓 Try glasses for effective protection against screens and blue light
Symptoms of a dry or burning eye can often be traced back to eye fatigue.
The number one cause of eye fatigue is screens. So, preventing eye fatigue can also help prevent burning eyes. Simple.
This occurs because of the blue light from screens, which can cause multiple other issues including harming your sleep quality and affect a long-term eye disease like AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration).
The best way to protect your eyes from blue light is with a pair of anti-blue light glasses! These block blue light with the best filtration on the market to prevent eye fatigue.
💤Get good quality sleep
Sometimes easier said than done. But your eyes get tired too and they also need rest. Incidentally, blue light blocking glasses can also help you here as they ensure the blue light isn’t affecting your melatonin production; helping you get to sleep earlier.
🚰Good hydration and a good diet
A healthy lifestyle improves all parts of your body, including your eyes. Good hydration (we recommend 2 liters of water a day) prevents dry eyes. A good diet (with plenty of nutrients and omega-3) is essential to keeping your eyes in tip top shape.
We’ve written an ultimate guide on the good foods to keep up your energy and keep you gaming for longer.
Why are my eyes burning? Final thoughts
If your eyes are burning it can usually be for one of a few reasons:
- Dry eyes
- An eye infection or eye disease (conjunctivitis, keratitis, blepharitis, ocular rosacea etc.)
If a symptom persists then always consult an eye doctor and get an eye exam ASAP. But you can try some natural remedies first. Compresses (hot, cold, or infused), herbal teas, and eye massage can help to calm and soothe those burning eyeballs.
Lastly, prevention is better than cure! Don’t forget to try a pair of blue light blocking glasses and reexamine your diet to see if there are any changes you could make.