Symptoms of itchy eyes sometimes
can be alleviated with over-the-counter artificial tears or allergy eye drops.
But in many cases, prescription eye drops or oral medications may be needed to
provide relief. Some medications also may help you become less prone to attacks
of itchy eyes in the future, especially if symptoms are due to seasonal
Applying a clean, cold, damp
washcloth over your closed eyes also may help alleviate the severity of itchy
The most effective itchy eye
treatments are those that directly address the cause. For example, if your
symptoms are associated with a dry eye condition, an allergy drop will be less
effective for you than it will be for someone whose itchy eyes are due to
seasonal allergies. For this reason, consulting with your eye doctor can be
very helpful to determine the most effective remedy for itchy eyes.
Several different types of
medications may help relieve ocular itching, but only your doctor will know
which treatment or combination of treatments is most suitable for your
particular needs. In some cases, itchy eyes can be cured with artificial tears
or allergy drops. But in others, you may also need an antibiotic, an
anti-inflammatory medication and/or special eyelid cleansing products.
Above all, though it's tempting,
don't rub itchy eyes. Rubbing releases more histamines that make the itching
worse. It's also possible to cause a corneal abrasion by
rubbing your eyes too vigorously or introduce bacteria to your eyes that can
lead to an eye infection
Almost everyone experiences itchy
eyes from time to time. There are many causes of itchy eyes, and the problem
often is accompanied by itchy eyelids — especially at the base of the eyelashes
— and red eyes or swollen eyelids.
The medical term for itchy eyes is ocular pruritus
Most of the time, itchy
eyes are caused by some type of allergy. An irritating substance (called an
allergen) — such as pollen, dust and animal dander — causes the release of
compounds called histamines in the tissues around the eyes, which results in
itching, redness and swelling.
Eye allergies come in lots of
shapes and sizes and can be seasonal or perennial.
Seasonal allergies cause what's
known as allergic conjunctivitis. It's most common in the spring and fall and
is caused by high pollen counts and exposure to outdoor allergens like grass
Perennial allergies, on the other
hand, are present all year long and are caused by things like mold and dust.
In some cases, a product you're
using can cause allergy-related itchy eyes. For example, some people develop
allergies to their contact lens
solutions. Other products with ingredients that
may cause your eyes to itch include: artificial tears used to treat dry eyes;
makeup; and lotions, creams and soaps.
But allergies aren't the only cause
of itchy eyes. If (in addition to itching) your eyes are burning,
the cause may be dry eye syndrome or meibomian gland
dysfunction, not allergies.
Similarly, if your eyelids are red
and inflamed, you may have a condition called blepharitis,
which is caused by bacteria and in some cases by microscopic mites that live on
If you wear contact lenses,
itchy eyes can make lens wear very uncomfortable. Sometimes, if you are wearing
your contacts too long or don't replace them frequently enough, this too can
cause itchy eyes.
Because the causes for itchy eyes
are so varied, if your symptoms are lasting, getting worse, or don't subside
when allergy season winds down, make an appointment with your eye doctor.
Our eye care specialists give you the thorough
eye care to a diverse clientele with professional support for various eye health
matters such as dry eye, glaucoma, and many others.