Font Size: Increase | Decrease

Itchy Eyes

Itchy eyes are most commonly associated with eye allergies. The difficulty with eye allergies is that the intuitive response used to relieve them, rubbing your eyes actually makes the symptoms worse. Itchy eyes are caused when the blood vessels in the eye release histamine, a chemical signal in the body, in response to a perceived threat to the immune system. Histamine alerts the body that a particular section is under attack and that assistance is needed. The problem is that in the case of eye allergies this alert is unnecessary and caused in response to a harmless substance.

Eye allergies generally affect one out five Americans and irritate the patient in either chronic (year round) or acute (seasonal- generally associated with spring and summer months) phases. In order to best combat your itchy eyes you should try and determine what type of allergies you are suffering from. This means visiting your doctor for an allergy test. By determining what is causing the irritation of your eyes you can be better equipped to decide which preventative measures are going to work best for you. Below are some tips taken from Eye Health Web for preventing or hopefully at least reducing reactions to the most common types of allergies.

Cleanliness leads to less possibility of pet dander, dust and pollen from being in the air in your home. Make sure to vaccum on a strict schedule especially in corners and under furniture where dust tends to accumulate. Also keeping pets out of the bedroom (as difficult as they may be) can go a long way and lead to less areas that have to be constantly cleaned. Buying an air purifier or keeping an AC unit running with windows and doors closed can ensure that as clean air as possible is circulating n your home. It is also important to avoid smoking indoors as this can cause further irritation to the eyes. Since it is impossible to remain indoors 24/7 there are several steps you can take before venturing outside that can ensure less severe reactions from your eyes. Try to avoid going outside in the early morning as this is the time of day that there is the most pollen in the air. Avoid air drying clothes outside as this can cause allergens to attach to your clothing and making relief very difficult for you to achieve. If you are a gardener consider wearing a face mask, avoid touching your eyes and make sure you take a shower upon returning inside your home.

Even the most meticulous of people cannot avoid exposure all together and the following treatment should provide relief. Taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl or Claritin can often prevent the histamines from causing itchy eyes. If your symptoms also include burning, redness or even excessive tearing you may consider taking a decongestant as well. You could also attempt to use over the counter eye drops, which generally provide relief for 4-6 hours. Eye Health Net further recommended that severe symptoms be treated with prescription allergy medications. Those allergy medicines available with prescription provide relief to children as young as toddlers and have a combination of ingredients that will cover the entire spectrum of allergy symptoms. Consult your doctor to determine which treatment would work best for you.

Find Cataracts Doctors

Enter your zip code to find cataracts doctors near you.

Ask a Doctor

Answers to Your Medical Questions from Local Doctors

Ask a Doctor
  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous