Itchy eyes are caused by some type of allergy. An allergen which is an irritating substance such as dust, pollen and animal dander releases a compound called histamine in the tissues around the eyes and causes redness, itching and swelling of the area.
Eye allergies can be seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergies cause allergic conjunctivitis which is usually common during spring and fall. Seasonal allergies are due to exposure to outdoor allergens such as pollen, grass and weeds. Perennial allergies are caused by mold and dust.
Causes of itchy eyes
- Allergic to contact lens solutions
- Artificial tears used for treating dry eyes
- Makeup and lotions
- Creams and soap
- Dry eye syndrome or Meibomian gland syndrome
- Blepharitis due to bacteria and some microscopic mites living on the eyelids.
- Red bloodshot eyes
- Watery eyes
- Difficulty seeing or blurred vision
- Swollen eyelid
- Congestion, difficulty breathing
- Difficulty opening the eye due to swelling
- Sneezing or runny nose
- Avoid touching or rubbing the affected eyes to prevent the itchiness from becoming worse.
- Apply a cold compress on the itchy eyes. Soak a cloth in ice water, wring out the excess and place over the eyes for at least 20 minutes to lessen the itchiness and swelling in the eyes. Another alternative is to dip a cotton plug in cold milk and rub around the affected eyes or place over the eyelids to lessen the itchiness of the area.
- Rinse the itchy eyes using cold water or splash water into the eyes and open the eyes so the water can flush out any irritants. Place a cold spoon on the eye to lessen the swelling and itching.
- Use an irrigation using distilled and sterile saline solution to flush out allergens from the sinuses. To irrigate the sinuses, fill up a squeeze bottle with the saline solution and tilt the head over the sink and pour the water or saline solution into the nostril and flush it out on the other nostril.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter oral antihistamine or eye drops with to lessen the itchiness of the eyes. For severe pain, take the prescribed steroid eye drops for relief from the pain.
- Apply a prescribed hydrating eye ointment before going to bed for relief of dry and itching eyes.
- Get prescribed allergy vaccination to get the body used to allergens. This will improve the itchiness of the eyes and other symptoms of allergy for the long-term.
- When going out, protect the body by wearing a mask when traveling and cleaning or working in the garden.
- Maintain cleanliness of the body by taking a bath regularly and consistent washing of clothes to get rid of allergens.
- Minimize exposure to pets. Wash hands and clothes after playing with pets. Do not allow pets inside the bedrooms.
- Avoid smoking. Use cooking methods that do not produce smoke and fumes.