Can an Irritated Eyelid Cause Ocular Burns and Itch?

Are you suffering from itching and burning eyes? The condition is relatively common, especially during hay fever season. But did you know that the cause of ocular burning and itching does not directly happen in the cornea or conjunctiva? In some cases, the irritation begins in the lid of the eye. The irritating sensation is often caused by bacteria-related conditions that can progress beyond simple itching, leading to the painful burning of the eye.

Condition #1: Ocular Allergy

If you experience symptoms of eye and lid itching, redness, swelling, mucoid discharge, and eyelid matting in the mornings, you are likely to have an ocular allergy. The condition is associated with pollen allergies, resulting in nasal congestion and eye burning and itching. In most cases, oral antihistamines can relieve both nasal and ocular symptoms. Although over-the-counter eye drops are extensively available, prescription eye antihistamines may prove more effective.

The eyes are prone to developing allergic reactions to makeup or skincare products applied on or near the lid. In the case of this, it is best to reach for products that claim to be hypoallergenic and organic. Other causes of an ocular allergy include eye medications, antibiotics, glaucoma eye drops, and contact lens solutions.

Condition #2: Blepharitis

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Blepharitis (blef-uh-rye-tis) is inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis usually involves the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow and affect both eyelids.”

This condition is a prevalent cause of ocular itching, burning, and generalized irritation. Other telltale signs of blepharitis include a foreign body sensation, tearing, mucoid discharge, and temporary blurred vision.

Blepharitis develops when bacteria excessively grow at the edge of the eyelid. Moist surfaces are breeding grounds for bacteria, and the margin of the eyelid (upper and lower lash line) is a consistently moist surface colonized by bacteria. People tend to avoid cleaning the area closest to the eye, which allows unicellular microorganisms to thrive at the base of the eyelashes and further aggravate the problem.

To prevent and treat the occurrence of blepharitis, it is highly suggested to clean the eyelid on a regular basis. Placing a warm towel over the area can help loosen up incrustations and oil secretions that bind bacteria together and obstruct gland openings.

Condition #3: Phlyctenulosis

Phlyctenulosis (flick-ten-u-low-sis) is a complication related to blepharitis, wherein bacteria at the edge of the eyelids release toxins that spread into the tear film and irritate the eyes. Symptoms include ocular redness, itching, burning, tearing, and a sensation that something is in the eye when blinking.

This condition is very responsive to steroid eye medication. Similar to blepharitis, preventive measures include the daily cleansing of the eyelid to avoid a hypersensitivity reaction.


An eye irritation rarely pinpoints the eyelid as a cause, but these three conditions prove how important it is to practice ocular hygiene. If you are suffering from recurring symptoms of an eye infection, allow Arizona Retinal Specialists to conduct examinations and recommend the necessary treatments to correct the problem. Call us today at 623-474-3937 (EYES).

NOTICE TO USERS is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on