Having itchy eyes is incredibly uncomfortable. The natural reaction we all have to itchy, watery eyes to is to rub and scratch them and hope by doing those things it will make the itch go away. In reality, however, this causes much harm by adding to the irritation and even spreading germs, which can lead to an infection as well as damage to your eyes.
So, when you do have an eye itch, what causes it and how can you relieve the discomfort you are experiencing? The following are the most common causes of the eye itch as well as solutions for each one.
Most often, itchy eyes are caused by food, animal or environmental allergies. Medical professionals encourage patients to be aware of any triggers that may cause the allergy. If you are unsure, consult your doctor.
2. Dry eye
Dry eye is a condition where a person does not have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. If left untreated, it can cause burning, itchy or stinging eyes, intermittent blurring of vision and watery eyes. Eye professionals typically recommend artificial tears. They also caution patients to avoid redness-reducing drops because they can dry out your eye. As always, however, consult your eye doctor for the best treatment for your eyes.
3. Something in your eye
A piece of sand from the beach or a speck of dust can be all it takes to make your eyes itchy all over. Instead of rubbing or scratching your eye, wash it out with water or artificial tears.
4. Pink eye
If eye itchiness is paired with a pink or red color, discharge coming from the eye or any of the other symptoms, contact an eye doctor. You may also need a dose of antibiotics, depending on what’s causing the pink eye. In the meantime, don’t touch your eye — pink eye is super contagious and you can easily spread it to your other eye or another person.
5. Contact lens
If you wear contacts daily, you may experience itchy eyes from time to time, especially if you are wearing them too long. If you wear your contacts too long, you may develop dry eye. Allergies can also make your eyes even itchier while wearing contacts. The best thing to do in these situations is to avoid wearing your contacts for more than 10-12 hours and to take out your contacts and wear glasses instead if your eyes are too itchy.
6. Digital eye strain
Thanks to the advances in technology today, we are all spending more time in front of a screen than ever before. This constant exposure can cause your eyes to be strained over time and create stress, which can then lead to itchiness. To manage eye strain, use the trusty 20-20-20 rule: Look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes of digital device use.
7. Irritating products
Some chemicals or ingredients in personal care products can irritate and itch your skin, which can also cause your eyes to get itchy. Be aware of any lotions, shaving creams, oils, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, perfumes/colognes, face wash or air fresheners, that may be causing irritation or itchiness on your skin or eyes. If any of these products are causing a problem, stop using it and throw it away.
Each of the seven things above can cause your eyes to itch. The best thing you can do is to be on the lookout for anything that may be itching or bothering your eyes in some way. If you have any questions about itchy eyes, contact us and schedule an appointment with one of our trusted eye doctors today.