My eyeballs are burning!!!


Well, I have been an AllNurses "addict" for a while now, but I never posted a thread (I enjoyed reading everybody elses instead.) So here it goes!!

Working in a hospital causes my eyes to become very irritated. I have worn contacts for almost 10 years and I still haven't been able to control how agitated they get. I use rewetting drops at home and that usually helps, but nothing works while I am at work. Now that I have been working night-turn it is even worse! By 4 AM I want to tear them out of my head!!! The cold weather here in Pittsburgh (-10 degrees:crying2: this week) have caused the heaters to crank up and patients asking me if I am ok because my eyes are so red and they think I am crying!:cry: Does anybody else out there have this problem? If so, do you have any tips or tricks? I even took desperate measures and pulled out my glasses tonight and wore them to work (My family doesn't even see me in my glasses) but that didn't even help either since I guess I am so used to wearing the contacts!!

Any advice is appreciated!! Thankssssssssss!!:D

Specializes in ER. Has 4 years experience.

Since it only happens at the hospital and happens whether you have contacts in or glasses on you apparently have some type of allergy to something at work. You need to see an opthamologist and get an RX for an allergy eye gtt. There are some good ones that you only have to use QD rather than several times a day.


1 Article; 463 Posts

Specializes in MSP, Informatics. Has 17 years experience.

I was unable to wear my contacts at work. Night shift, 12 hrs... I could go about 6 hrs and had to take them out. Tried drops etc. didn't work. For a while I would take them out and soak them for an hour. Then put them back in. But I was more worried about infection. What was causing the irritation, and was it getting under my contacts. So I wore my glasses to work.

MiaLyse, APRN

855 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatry. Has 20 years experience.

I can't offer any help as I have the same problem. I think it's the lighting that hurts

my eyes so much. ugh I hope you find something that helps.


151 Posts

I couldn't wear my contacts to work either. I thought the problem was the A/C making the air so dry, plus its recirculated so that makes it dry as well.

Most of the staff I work with has a hard time with contacts at work so I truely do think the air is much drier.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

It is not only happening to nurses. My daughter's contacts bother her at work also. She is an IT person who spends the whole day at a computer. She has to wear glasses at work, nothing else seems to help. Sometimes she will spend 8 hours at the computer working from home and that does not cause a problem. So it is something about work.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

I've had the dry itchy problem in every hospital in which I've worked. There are two things I think are responsible. One is the dryness of the air. Two is the glue holding the carpeting down and/or the carpet fibers themselves. I noticed my eye problems increased after we got new carpeting. I use saline drops, quite often, actually. They help some.

wonderbee, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,212 Posts

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

Certain kinds of lighting really effect the quality of my eyesight when wearing contacts. Overhead hospital lighting can be harsh. Also don't discount the heavy use of the furnace at this time of year. The air is so dry. I don't think rewetting drops really do the job of permeating the lens to the surface of the eye. As others have said, you should consult your eye specialist if you suspect infection.

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I wear contacts, but I almost always wear glasses at work. I feel that glasses offer a little protection if there was a splash and they also make me look more conventional and intelligent.

HM2VikingRN, RN

4,700 Posts

See your eye doctor....

One thing I was wondering about? What type of contacts are you wearing? Are you following the care schedule carefully? If they have protein buildups etc that could cause irritation/infection. (This thread may be walking close to the medical advice rule.)


1 Article; 463 Posts

Specializes in MSP, Informatics. Has 17 years experience.
I feel that glasses offer a little protection if there was a splash and they also make me look more conventional and intelligent.

I was going to say that....but then I thought people may still be eating breakfast, and didn't want to get a visual of the splash of whatever in the face. Glasses did save me from that one time!

medicrnohio, RN

508 Posts

Specializes in Tele, Home Health, MICU, CTICU, LTC.

I experience the burning eyes at work and have experienced this at every one of my hospital jobs. Some days are better than others. Sometimes it does not hit me at work, but when I'm on my way home from work. It's really hard to drive a car when your eyes are burning and watering. I have tried the gel drops and they are somewhat helpful. I will probably ask my eye doctor about it next time I make a visit.

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