No matter how well you take care of your eyes, you’ll probably deal with common eye problems and irritations at some point. It’s not uncommon to wake up with red or itchy eyes or have days where your eyes just feel irritated. These issues can be increasingly common if you use a computer for work most days or during high allergy season.
Here’s a list of pretty common irritants that will lead to dry, itching, irritated eyes and what to do about it.
Allergies: Pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust are common culprits. Most folks experience some seasonal eye-watering and itchiness during allergy season, or when they’ve been exposed to an irritant. Taking a daily over-the-counter medication can help keep allergies down during peak season. Make sure to start taking one for a few days if you’re feeling your allergies creep up. You can also purchase over-the-counter eye drops that help with allergies, too.
Lack of sleep: When you miss out on enough shut-eye, you can see pretty negative effects. Not getting enough rest can lead to redness at the very least, dryness, and general irritability of your eyes. Of course, getting more sleep helps, but if you can’t do that, try a cool compress on your eyes for a few minutes or a moisturizing eye drop!
Skincare products: Did your sunscreen or moisturizer run into your eyes? Did you forget to take off mascara before bed? Most over-the-counter products are safety tested and won’t cause lasting damage, but still can cause irritation. Make sure to remove all makeup before bed to prevent irritation and if you get any skincare product in your eyes, simply flush eyes with cool water for a few minutes.
Rubbing your eyes: When you rub your eyes or touch them without washing your hands first, you can introduce irritating germs. Try not to rub your eyes, when you can. If you do need to, make sure to wash your hands first! You can also use a warm or cool compress to soothe irritated eyes.
Computer use: Staring at the computer (or any electronics) for a prolonged time can cause eye strain. To avoid this, make sure you’re taking periodic breaks from your computer. We sometimes call this the 20-20-20 rule. Every twenty minutes take twenty seconds to look at something at least twenty feet in the distance.
Dry air: We live in a dry climate. Dryness and dust in the air can cause irritation, as well. Moisturizing eye drops can help. Generally, you can use these two or three times a day to keep your eyes moist. It can also be helpful to sleep with a humidifier or keep it running during the day.
But also know that if you have any questions, you should always feel free to call an eye doctor. A good one will have someone in reception that is knowledgeable enough to let you know when you need to come in. However, if you’re experiencing pain or changes in vision with the above symptoms, that’s when you know to call to schedule an appointment. Your doctor should usually be able to get you in on the same day to see what’s going on and help you find the right answers.
Have questions about your vision, how to prevent eye damage, or need to talk through an issue? Please reach out to us at Utah Eye Centers! We can help you to examine your options. We look forward to meeting with you!