Why Do My Eyes Burn When I Cry?

Why Do My Eyes Burn When I Cry

Crying is an entirely human response to various emotions, and it’s something most of us have experienced. Yet, amid the cascade of tears and emotional release, there’s a common conundrum that often leaves people perplexed: “Why do my eyes burn when I cry?”

This phenomenon affects many individuals, causing momentary panic as they grapple with the unfamiliar sensation.

In this discussion, we’ll delve into the fascinating science behind this occurrence, shedding light on why our eyes might seem to ignite when tears begin to flow, ultimately demystifying a curiosity shared by many.

Is it normal for eyes to sting when crying?

Yes, it’s entirely normal for eyes to sting when crying. When tears flow, they’re not just composed of water but also contain oils, mucous, and antibodies. These components can sometimes irritate the eyes, leading to a stinging or burning sensation.

Additionally, crying often prompts an increase in blood flow to the eye area, which can cause the eyes to feel warmer and potentially exacerbate the stinging feeling. This sensation is typically temporary and subsides as tears are wiped away or when the crying episode ends.

However, if the stinging sensation persists or is accompanied by severe discomfort, it’s advisable to consult with an eye care professional for a thorough evaluation.

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Why do my eyes burn when I cry?

Here are some of the reasons your eyes may burn when you cry:

  • Composition of Tears: Tears are not just plain water; they contain oils, mucous, and antibodies. When you cry, these components can sometimes irritate the sensitive tissues of the eye, leading to a burning sensation.
  • Increased Blood Flow: Crying often leads to an increase in blood flow to the eye area. This heightened circulation can cause the eyes to feel warmer and contribute to the burning sensation.
  • Emotional Stress: Emotional crying can trigger physiological responses, including changes in breathing patterns. These changes can alter the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, which might affect the eyes and contribute to the burning feeling.
  • Rubbing Eyes: People often rub their eyes when they cry, unintentionally introducing additional irritation from their hands or fingers.
  • Dilation of Blood Vessels: Crying can cause blood vessels in the eye to dilate, increasing blood flow and potentially intensifying the burning sensation.
  • Dehydration: If you’re dehydrated, your tears may have a higher salt concentration, which can irritate the eyes and lead to a stinging sensation when crying.

While the burning sensation during crying is usually temporary and harmless, persistent discomfort or other eye symptoms should prompt a consultation with an eye care professional to rule out any underlying issues.

Also, read: Why are My Cat’s Eyes Watering? Causes and Treatments

How to stop your eyes from burning when you cry

You can take several steps to alleviate the burning sensation in your eyes when you cry:

  • Use Artificial Tears: Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears can help soothe dry or irritated eyes caused by crying. These drops can provide immediate relief by adding moisture to the eyes.
  • Blink Regularly: Blinking helps distribute your natural tears more evenly across the eye’s surface. It can prevent dryness and reduce irritation.
  • Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: While it may be instinctual, rubbing your eyes can introduce more irritation. Try to resist the urge to rub and instead use a clean tissue or cloth to gently dab away tears.
  • Cool Compress: Applying a cool, damp washcloth or eye mask over closed eyes can help reduce redness and soothe burning sensations.
  • Hydrate: Drinking water can help maintain tear composition and reduce irritation. Staying hydrated is essential for overall eye health.
  • Practice Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help reduce emotional stress, which may exacerbate the burning sensation.
  • Protect Your Eyes: If crying episodes are frequent, consider wearing wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes from environmental factors like wind, dust, or pollen.
  • Consult an Eye Care Professional: If the burning sensation persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consult an eye care professional for a thorough evaluation to rule out any underlying eye conditions.

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Why does it hurt when I cry?

Crying can cause discomfort due to increased blood flow, the composition of tears, and emotional stress, leading to a burning or stinging sensation.

Why do I cry so easily?

Crying easily can be influenced by various factors, including emotional sensitivity, stress, hormonal changes, and individual differences in coping mechanisms.

Why do my tears burn my eyes in the morning?

Tears may burn your eyes in the morning due to reduced blinking during sleep, leading to tear stagnation and increased salt concentration, which can cause temporary discomfort upon waking.


The burning sensation experienced when crying is a natural response to the composition of tears and increased blood flow to the eyes. While temporary and usually harmless, it can be uncomfortable. Taking simple steps such as using artificial tears, blinking regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques can help alleviate this sensation and keep your eyes comfortable during emotional moments.



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