If you are suffering from itchy eyes, you are not alone. Having itchy eyes is a very common problem. The scientific name of the itchy eyes is ocular pruritis, usually caused by dry eye syndrome or some eye allergy.
Knowing this problem’s cause will help you utilize the most effective remedy. For example, if your itchy eyes are due to an allergy, getting rid of the trigger causing the allergic reaction would be the most effective way to manage the itchy eye.
What Causes Itchy Eyes?
Allergy is the most common cause of itchy eyes; it can be triggered by dust, pollen, animal fur, makeup, mites, or eyedrops. While this can be frustrating, it is also a concern that needs to be addressed. Some of the specific causes of itchy eyes include:
- Allergic conditions include vernal keratoconjunctivitis (swelling of the eye surface), allergic conjunctivitis, and atopic keratoconjunctivitis (swelling on the eye surface due to a genetic condition).
- Contact lens issues
- Pink eye
- Eye infection
- Chronic dry eye syndrome
- Eye irritation due to exposure of eyes to chemicals like cigarette smoke and gases
- Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).
- Eczema (swelling and roughness of the skin) around the eyes
While these underlying causes are mainly common, these concerns can grow serious if left untreated for a prolonged time and can potentially cause damage to your eyes.
Common Symptoms of Itchy Eyes
Besides itchiness and dryness, other symptoms may include:
- Redness and irritation
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Mucus-like substance around the eyes
- Swollen eyes and eyelids
Home Remedies for Itchy Eyes
Home remedies can manage several things. Here is what you can try:
- Try Warm or Cold Compress
When dealing with a mild case of allergic itching, use a cold or warm cloth or compress over the eyes to ease the discomfort of the itching. You can also try splashing cold water on the eyes.
- Wash your Eyes
If your eyes are itching due to dirt or dust particles, you can remove them from your eyes by using warm or cold water. It is also important to wash your eyelashes gently, as they are close to your eyes and can cause irritation if you are not careful. One study has linked eyelashes to ocular disorders like dry and itchy eyes, so ensure you keep your eyes and surrounding area clean.
- Use Eye Drops or Medications
Turning to medication is always a wise way to eliminate eye disease. Over-the-counter eye drops can help ease itchiness, hydrate your eyes, and target redness. However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter pills or eye drops. Your doctor may prescribe medications that will target the cause of the root.
Protective Measures for Itchy Eyes
You can follow these protective measures to get relief from itchy eyes and avoid exposure to external particles that can be harmful to your eyes:
- Don’t let the air blow directly into your eyes
- Wear sunglasses when going outside to avoid contact with allergens such as pollen
- Avoid rubbing your eyes, as it can damage the top layer of your eye, leading to pain, redness, and infection.
- You must wash your hands after patting animals to avoid transferring allergens to the eye
- Maintain the hygiene of your contact lenses to protect your eyes from allergens and bacteria
- Keep your eyes lubricated frequently with artificial tears.
- Try to shower at night to remove the dust particles and pollen from your eyelids, hair, eyelashes, skin, and face to avoid eye irritation.
- Consult an eye care specialist if you face continuous eye problems.
Sometimes, over-the-counter treatments do not ease itching. Some people might require medical treatments, including:
- Oral and topical antibiotics to combat bacterial infections like bacterial conjunctivitis
- Allergy shots for people afflicted by severe allergies
- Artificial tears to lubricate eyes
- Steroid eye drops for blepharitis and allergies
- Antihistamines to help control allergic reactions that lead to itchiness in the eyes
- Mast-cell stabilizers for allergies
- Medications that affect the immune system to treat blepharitis
When to Seek Medical Attention?
You should seek immediate medical help if you are experiencing these eye problems given below:
- Severe symptoms
- Inability to open eyes
- Blurry vision
- Swelling or redness in eyes
- Eye pain
- A difference in the size of your pupils
- A thick discharge from the eyes
- Discomfort while looking at bright lights
Itchy eyes are a common problem that mainly occurs due to allergic reactions and sometimes due to dry eye syndrome. The best way to get relief from itchy eyes is to eliminate the allergen that causes itchiness. You can quickly eliminate the itchiness with the help of home remedies such as using hot or cold compresses, washing your eyes with water, etc.
However, if these home remedies don’t work, it is important to seek immediate help from your eye doctor. They will help you to plan the treatment that will work best for you.