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Itchy Eyes: Common Causes and Effective Solutions

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What is the main cause of itchy eyes? If you are experiencing persistent or severe eye itchiness, it’s important to consult an eye care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Determining the cause of your itchy eyes might only be possible through in-person examination but some reasons for itchy eyes include:

  • Allergies: Allergic reactions to pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, or other allergens can lead to itchy eyes. This is often accompanied by other allergy symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, or watery eyes. OTC antihistamine eye drops, such as Pataday, may provide relief from allergic symptoms. Stronger prescription options are available for more severe cases.
  • Dry Eyes: Insufficient tear production or poor tear quality can cause dryness, irritation, and itching in the eyes. This can be exacerbated by factors like dry indoor air, prolonged screen time, or contact lens use. Dry eyes are a multifactorial disease and often require a multiple-step treatment. Optase Intense Dry Eye drops are a preservative-free artificial tear that can improve mild symptoms. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Radiofrequency (RF) are non-medicated, non-invasive procedures that can also reduce dry eye symptoms.
  • Eye Infections: Infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye) can lead to itching, along with other symptoms such as redness, discharge, and sensitivity to light. Infections can often be confused with allergies and usually require an eye doctor appointment to correctly diagnose and treat.
  • Eye Strain: Prolonged periods of reading, screen exposure, or performing detailed or close-up work can strain the eye muscles and lead to discomfort and itching.
  • Contact Lenses: Dirty or improperly fitting contact lenses can cause irritation and itching in the eyes. It’s essential to follow proper lens care and wear them as directed by your eye care professional.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to smoke, wind, or air pollution can irritate the eyes and make them itchy.
  • Medications: Some medications, especially those with dry eye as a side effect, can lead to eye itchiness.
  • Blepharitis: This is a condition where the eyelids become inflamed and may lead to itching, redness, and crusting along the eyelid margins. Hypochlorous spray has become a go-to treatment for blepharitis with fantastic results. Schedule an appointment today to see if this is appropriate for your itchy eyes.
  • Foreign Bodies: If a foreign object, such as an eyelash or speck of dust, gets into your eye, it can cause itching and discomfort.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: In some cases, systemic health issues like autoimmune diseases or thyroid disorders can manifest with eye symptoms, including itchiness. Even the medications to treat systemic conditions can cause itchy eyes. With proper treatment we can usually manage the ocular side effects of these medications, so that you are comfortable while receiving necessary treatments.

To determine the cause of your itchy eyes and receive appropriate treatment, it’s best to consult with an eye care professional.

Park Slope Eye and Optical Boutique has a team of licensed professionals ready to talk about your eye needs. We will perform a thorough examination and recommend the right course of action based on our findings.

Written by Dr. Kirk Kaupke, OD.

More Articles By Dr. Kirk Kaupke, OD.

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