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Alternative Names Return to topItching - burning eyes; Burning eyes
Definition Return to top
Eye burning with discharge is burning, itching, or drainage from the eye of any substance other than tears.
Considerations Return to top
Sometimes burning and itching eyes are due to environmental pollutants. If secondhand cigarette smoke is annoying, say so. If an industrial plant in the area is polluting, contact the EPA for solutions.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Apply cool compresses to soothe itching.
If the eyelids have crusts, gently soften them with warm compresses. Gently washing the eyelids with baby shampoo on a cotton applicator can help remove crusts.
Artificial tears used 4-6 times a day can also relieve symptoms. Avoid over-the-counter eyedrops other than artificial tears because they will eventually make symptoms worse.
Itching and burning due to allergy or chemicals can be very uncomfortable. Attempt to determine the cause of the allergy, such as a pet, seasonal pollen, or irritating cosmetics.
Refrigerated artificial tears can be very soothing. Antihistamine drops, available from your health care provider, can be helpful.
Pink eye or viral conjunctivitis causes a red or bloodshot eye and excessive tearing. If you suspect pink eye, remember to wash your hands often, and avoid touching the unaffected eye. The infection will run its course in about 10 days.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is not common, but if you have eye discharge that is white, yellow, or greenish, contact your health care provider.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Contact your health care provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider will get a medical history and will perform a physical examination.
Medical history questions may include:
The physical examination may include a check of your:
Your doctor may prescribe antihistamines in the form of eye drops or ointments. Cortisone-like eye ointments are not often prescribed. These medications will reduce many types of inflammation, but can worsen certain infections, such as herpes.
After seeing your health care provider:
If your symptoms do not improve or they worsen in 1-2 weeks, contact your health care professional. You might need additional treatments.Update Date: 11/13/2007 Updated by: Manju Subramanian, M.D., Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery, Boston University Eye Associates, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.