What are itching eyes, exactly? 

Itchy eyes, commonly known as ocular pruritis, are a frequent affliction. An allergy or a disease known as dry eye syndrome are the most common causes of itchy eyes. You may also have itchy eyelids, commonly at the base of the eyelashes, as well as swollen eyes and/or eyelids.

What causes itchiness in the eyes? 

An allergy is the most prevalent cause of irritated eyes. Exposure to pollen, animal fur, mould, dust mites, make-up, or eye drops can cause itchy eyes. The body responds by releasing histamine, which causes the blood vessels in the eyes to expand and irritate the nerve endings, causing the eyes to moisten. Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the eyes become red as a result of an allergy (also called pink eye or red eye). 

Allergic conjunctivitis is more common during specific periods of the year, but it can occur at any time. Runny nose, itchy throat, and sneezing are other symptoms. 

Itchy eyes can be caused by a variety of allergies. Atopic keratoconjunctivitis, for example, is an allergic reaction to a specific chemical that causes inflammation of the eye’s surface. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) is another disorder that causes inflammation in the eye’s surface membrane. This is more common in young males. 

Itching can also occur if you have eczema, a kind of dermatitis, around your eyes. 

Itchy eyes can also be caused by:

  dry eye syndrome — when you do not produce enough of the right kind of tears to keep the surface of your eye moist and comfortable

  an object or chemical in your eye

  blepharitis — inflammation of the eyelids, often caused by an infection

  an infection caused by contact lenses

  a reaction to a medicines, such as birth control pills, antihistamines, painkillers or antidepressants

When should I see my doctor?

See a doctor if:

  your symptoms aren’t getting better

  you have thick discharge from your eyes

  your eyes are stuck together

  you can’t keep your eye open

  your vision is changed or blurred

  you have something in your eye

  you can see a halo around lights

  it hurts to look at bright lights

  your pupils are different sizes

  your eyes are swollen

  you are in pain

What is the treatment for itchy eyes? 

To determine the reason of your irritated eyes, consult your pharmacist or optometrist. 

Antihistamine or anti-inflammatory eye drops can relieve itching caused by allergies. Artificial tears (eye drops meant to lubricate dry eyes) can assist wash away any allergens on your eye’s surface. An oral antihistamine may be required at times. 

If something gets into your eye, try washing it out with warm water or a saline solution. If that doesn’t work, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Is it possible to avoid itchy eyes? 

If your itching is due to an allergy, find out what you’re allergic to and avoid it. Your doctor can assist you and may refer you to an immunologist or allergist if a more thorough examination is required. House dust mites and cat fur, for example, are common triggers. You could also consult your doctor to see if adjusting your medications would help you avoid itchy eyes.

Hope it helps!