When your eyes become itchy and red, you will do almost anything to relieve the discomfort. But knowing the cause of your itchy eyes can help you find the right treatment and get some relief.
It's critical to understand the distinctions between allergy and infection symptoms, for example, so you don't aggravate your condition.
The seven causes of itchy eyes and some treatment options are listed below.
(Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Consult your eye doctor if you have serious vision difficulties.)
Allergens can cause a reaction when they come into contact with the surface of your skin, and they can do the same when they come into contact with your eyeball. If you get itchy eyes at the same time every year, you may have a seasonal allergy to ragweed or another plant that blooms and releases pollen at specific times of the year.
Other allergic reactions, such as sneezing and nasal congestion, can help you determine whether you have an allergy (not an eye infection).
Histamine, a compound released by cells to defend against allergens, causes allergic symptoms. Histamine causes an inflammatory response, and itchy eyes are among the common signs of histamine at work. Avoiding seasonal allergens is one way to alleviate symptoms. Among the strategies are:
- Keep an eye on local weather forecasts and stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
- During pollen season, keep your windows closed at home and in your car.
- Take more showers and wash your clothes to keep pollen out of your airways.
- When you must be outside, wear a pollen mask.
Over-the-counter antihistamine medications can help control symptoms.
If your symptoms are particularly severe every year, you may benefit from allergy medication prescribed by a doctor. Because these medications can take some time to work, your doctor may advise you to start taking them a few weeks before the start of allergy season.
2. Dry Eye
Tears are a mixture of water, oil, and mucus that keep your eyes moist and refreshed. Your eyes may stop producing enough tears to keep your eyes from becoming dry and itchy for a variety of reasons. Getting older is a common cause. Tear production decreases with age.
Conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can also cause fewer tears. Dry eyes are listed as a possible side effect of some medications. These are some examples:
- medications that lower blood pressure
- birth control pills
Your eyes may also become dry as a result of tears evaporating too quickly. If you've ever spent a long time outside in the wind or in a low-humidity environment, you may have noticed your eyes becoming dryer and itchier. A clogged tear duct or tear gland can cause dry, itchy eyes.
If you suspect you have dry eyes, check in with a doctor right away because it's usually quite simple to find relief. Dry eyes can be treated with over-the-counter artificial tears, which are available as drops. Pay careful attention to the instructions. Consult an eye doctor if you have chronic dry eyes. You may require medicated drops.
3. Something stuck in your eyes.
It goes without saying that having anything stuck in your eye will be terrible. When anything gets into your eye, it triggers the "exquisitely sensitive" neurons in your cornea (the transparent, dome-shaped outer surface of your eye), sending signals to your brain that there's an intruder on the loose. The reaction of your eye might range from discomfort to scratchiness.
As long as you don't see anything embedded in your eye, there are a few things you may attempt to get whatever is trapped in your eye out (if you do see, you should leave it alone and see a doctor ASAP).
Otherwise, wash your hands and dry them before washing your eyes with fresh, clean water. Place the rim of a small, clean drinking glass filled with water or saline solution on the bone just behind your eye socket, then pour the water over your eyeball. Getting in the shower and allowing a soft stream of lukewarm water to touch your forehead while keeping your eyelids open can also assist. There are other devices known as eyecups that are designed specifically for cleaning your eyes. Who would have guessed?
If a little bath for your eyeball does not relieve the scratch, consult your doctor. They should be able to remove whatever is in there or identify if the sensation is caused by a disease like dry eye, which can make it feel like something is trapped in your eye but actually, nothing is there.
4. Eye Makeup Irritatation
Although cosmetics may be a fun way to express yourself, it does have some drawbacks, one of which can have a significant impact on your ocular health: Makeup particles, such as eyeliner, might wind up in your tear film and spread over your eye. These granules are foreign entities in the eye that can irritate or scrape them.
Though this may happen due to a variety of variables, such as the lasting power of your eye makeup, it's most probable if you apply makeup too near to your eyeballs (think: placing eyeliner on your waterline). When you do this, your makeup has almost laughably easy access to your eyes.
Use mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow that you trust to budge as little as possible. Also, be sure to replace your eye makeup as often as the manufacturer recommends—keeping it around for too long may raise your risk of infection if any stray makeup specks get up in your eyes.
6. Improper Contact lens use
Contact lenses are great tiny gadgets that may instantly improve your vision, but they can also make your eyes itchy as hell if not used properly.
Leaving your contact lenses in for too long or forgetting to replace them on a regular basis can irritate your eyes, causing them to become irritated and red.
Remember to remove your contact lenses at night and follow other basic lens care procedures if you wear them. Follow your doctor's instructions on how to care for your lenses and how frequently you should replace them.
Blepharitis, an infection of the eyelids, can cause red and irritated eyes. It happens when the little oil glands at the base of your lashes become clogged. Keeping your eyelids clean might sometimes be enough to alleviate blepharitis symptoms, which may also include watery eyes and puffiness.
Although blepharitis does not generally result in vision loss, it can be a persistent issue that leads to conjunctivitis and other consequences. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may be required to offer comfort and prevent additional complications.
Itchy eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are more significant than others. If you experience regular red, itchy eyes, talk with your doctor about treatment options.