30 June, 2020
Itchy eyes: Causes and Cures – Tips to relieve it
Itchy eyes is one of the most frequent complaints, especially in spring, although it can appear at any time of the year. Almost everybody suffers from it at some point and it can be caused by different factors, such as allergies, dry eyes or eyestrain, among others. In general, itching is not an isolated symptom, but is usually accompanied by others, such as red eye, tearing, inflammation, etc. Itchy eyes: Causes and Cures, we give you some tips to releive it!
At L’Atelier Óptica we are visual health professionals and we provide useful and verified information to our patients to help them take care of their eyes.
In this post, we want to give you some guidelines so that, in case your eyes itch, you can have an idea of what is causing it, but it is always very important that you seek the advise of a professional.
Causes of itchy eyes.
As we have mentioned, the causes of itchy eyes can be very diverse. These are just some of the most frequent ones:
It can be related to environmental reasons, hormonal changes, use of contact lenses, systemic diseases, certain medications, etc. Its treatment may vary depending on the cause, so it is important that you go to a professional that wil indicate which one is the most suitable for you. It can be recommended the use of artificial tears, eyelid hygiene guidelines, make a change on your contact lenses …
Allergies can be seasonal or perennial, depending on the nature of the allergen that causes it. To relieve symptoms, the best thing to do (apart from avoiding the allergen) is to wash your eyes, the application of artificial tears or the use of antihistamines. It is very important to avoid rubbing your eyes, since this habit not only does not help, but can worsen the symptoms.
Some chemicals (such as soaps, shampoos, oils, chlorine …) can produce itching when in contact with our eyes. When the irritation is mild, we can alleviate it by rinsing our eyes with water, cleaning them with sterile wipes or hydrating them with artificial tears. However, when it occurs due to the contact with more aggressive substances, it is very important that, after rinsing the eyes abundantly, we go to the emergency room so that a professional can tell us if there are more serious injuries. This is very important when, after washing our eyes, the irritation does not disappear after a few minutes.
When the eye itching is related to an infection caused by microorganisms, other symptoms are usually associated, such as mucous secretions (which during sleep can generate blemishes or the feeling of stuck eyelids), inflammation, pain, sensitivity to light… The infection may only affect one eye, but they are highly contagious, so it is crucial to take precautions not to spread the infection to the other eye or to other people. In these cases, you should go to a professional so that they can prescribe the most appropriate treatment, since it usually requires the use of specific medications.
In this case, the itching usually appears after spending a long time working with a screen at a close distance or driving. When we are focused on an activity our blinking frequency decreases therefore, symptoms derived from dry eyes can appear. Furthermore, working at close distances requires accommodative overstraining, which can also cause this symptomatology. If you want more information on how to avoid it, we recommend that you take a look at the article that we published on this topic.
Tips to relieve the itch.
As we mentioned before, the treatment to eliminate itchy eyes is different depending on what is causing it. However, here are some general guidelines that can help you alleviate it:
- Clean the area: good hygiene of the eye area, including the eyelids, will always help to ease the itching. You can use warm water, sterile wipes or saline.
- Hydrate the eyes: instilling a few drops of artificial tear can help relieve the eye itch and reduce dryness.
- Remove your contact lenses. This is important because allergens and different microorganisms can be attached to their surface. For this reason it is important that you remove them as soon as possible and consult your optician before using them again.
- Apply cold: you can do it by placing a cold mask or, if you do not have one, with spoons cooled in the fridge. This will refresh the area producing momentary relief and reducing inflammation.
- Let your eyes rest: close your eyes and cover them with the palms of your hands without applying any pressure for a few minutes. Then open them slowly to avoid glares.
- But the most important thing is that you DO NOT RUB YOUR EYES! This gesture willworsen the symptoms, since it favors the release of histamine increasing the itching. Also it can aggravate the irritation if your hands are dry or if they are dirty. And it increases the probability of contagion if there is an infection. Finaly it can cause eye injuries if there is any particle in it.
Occasionally, these tips can be used to deal with itching, but the most important thing is to know what the cause is in order to solve it more effectively and safely. For this reason, it is important that if you suffer from itchy eyes repeatedly, make an appointment with a specialist who can advise and guide you on the best treatment.