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Why do my eyes burn?

The reduction of oil in the tear film results in quicker evaporation of tears, which leads to the formation of dry spots on our eyes. These dry spots can cause burning sensations, among other symptoms.


Some of the causes of burning or stinging eyes includes:

Decreased Blinking: A healthy adult roughly blinks 15 to 20 times per minute. When you are performing activities such as watching TV or using a computer, tablet, or smart phone, you can find that you may only blink up to one third as often. Tears spread over your eyes when you blink, therefore blinking less will lead to dryer eyes.

Environment: Chronic dry eye can be caused by several environmental factors. The first is dry air, this is very common in Alberta where the weather tends to be very dry. Dry conditions cause tears to evaporate faster than normal, leading to dry eyes. Exposure to bright sun or windy conditions will cause your tears to evaporate like puddles. Also, over-exposure to smoke can cause your eyes to dry out. Being in a situation where there is active air flow such as driving a car with the heat or air conditioning, at work with forced air vents circulating air or at home with the air blowing without a humidifier. These are all examples of how the environment affects our eyes. 

Meibomian Gland Disease (MGD): Tears are made up of three parts: oil, water, and mucous. The meibomian glands create the lipid (oil) layer of the tear film, a blockage in these glands causes unstable evaporation between blinks, which then results in inflammation causing the discomfort of burning or stinging.


Age: As we age, our bodies function less and less efficiently. One of the results of this is that the glands that produce tears do not function as well as they used to, leading to a lower quality or quantity of tears.

Medications: Certain medications can affect your body’s natural tear production. Even over the counter pharmaceuticals can cause dry eye syndrome.

If you are suffering from a burning or stinging sensation in your eyes contact one of our

Calgary optometrists who can properly assess your symptoms and provide you with a suitable treatment plan.

A burning or stinging sensation in the eyes is the most common symptom of Dry Eye Syndrome, other conditions that can cause this could be Blepharitis or Pink Eye. A visit to one of our Calgary eye doctors is the best way to find the root of your discomfort.

Stinging/Burning Eyes