Table of contents:
- 1. Eye allergy
- 2. Dry eye syndrome
- 3. Eye stress
- 4. Eyelid inflammation
- 5. Wearing contact lenses
- 6. Conjunctivitis
Itchy eyes are, in most cases, a sign of an allergy to dust, smoke, pollen or pet dander, which come into contact with the eyes and cause the body to produce histamine, a substance that causes inflammation at the site, resulting in symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling.
However, itching can also indicate the development of an eye infection or even problems with the functioning of the glands that hold moisture in the eye. Therefore, whenever itching appears that takes more than 3 days to relieve, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist to identify the correct cause and start treatment with the most appropriate eye drops.
1. Eye allergy
The appearance of itchy eyes is almost always a symptom of an allergy, whether caused by food or by environmental factors such as dust, hair or smoke, and in these cases it is known as allergic conjunctivitis. Allergy is usually easily recognized because itching often occurs after contact with a specific substance, so the best way to prevent itching is to stay away from the allergen that is causing it.
This type of eye change is more frequent in spring and summer, as these are times of the year when there is a higher concentration of allergens in the air, and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as excessive tear production, redness and sensation of sand in the eye, for example.
What to do: Avoid being in contact with substances known to be allergic and apply moisturizing eye drops to the eye to reduce discomfort and relieve irritation. See more ways to treat allergic conjunctivitis.
2. Dry eye syndrome
Another of the most common causes of itchy eyes is dry eye syndrome, in which there is a decrease in the production of tears, causing the eye to become more irritated and resulting in symptoms such as redness and intense itching.
Dry eye is more common in elderly people, due to the natural aging of the body, but it can also happen in people who work in very dry environments, with air conditioning or in front of the computer. In addition, it can also appear in those who incorrectly use contact lenses or use some medication such as antiallergic or contraceptive pills.
What to do: The best way to combat dry eye symptoms is to use artificial tears during the day to keep your eye hydrated. However, you can also place warm water compresses over your eyes, as well as try to avoid using air conditioning and take breaks when working in front of the computer.See more tips to get rid of dry eyes.
3. Eye stress
Ocular stress is increasingly one of the main causes of eye problems, especially the appearance of itching. This happens due to the excessive effort caused by the computer screen and cell phone, which are increasingly present in everyday life, causing eye strain. This type of tiredness can also lead to the development of frequent headache, difficulty concentrating and general tiredness.
What to do: it is important to take regular breaks from using your computer or cell phone, taking the opportunity to walk and rest your eyes. A good tip is to look at an object that is more than 6 meters away for 40 seconds every 40 minutes.
4. Eyelid inflammation
When you have an eye problem that causes inflammation of the eyelid, such as a stye or blepharitis, it is common for the eye to not be able to maintain proper hydration, allowing its surface to become dry and irritated, resulting in itchiness, in addition to redness, eye swelling and burning.
What to do: One way to relieve eyelid inflammation and reduce symptoms is to place a warm water compress over the eye for 2 to 3 minutes and keep the clean eye and no blemishes. However, if the symptoms do not improve, you should go to the ophthalmologist to assess the need to start using an antibiotic eyedrop, for example. Learn more about what can cause and how to treat eyelid inflammation.
5. Wearing contact lenses
Wearing contact lenses for more than 8 hours a day can contribute to the appearance of dry eye and, consequently, to the development of itchy eye. In addition, improper hygiene of the lenses, especially in the case of monthly lenses, can also facilitate the accumulation of bacteria, which end up infecting the eye and causing signs such as redness, itching and the formation of crusts, for example.
What to do: avoid wearing contact lenses for longer than the manufacturer's instructions, as well as using lubricating eye drops.Proper contact lens hygiene should also be maintained, including when placing them in the eye. See how to properly care for your contact lenses.
In addition to causing intense redness of the eye, itch and burning, conjunctivitis can also cause the appearance of itching. Conjunctivitis normally needs to be treated with the use of antibiotics (when of bacterial origin) in the form of eye drops and, therefore, an ophthalmologist should be consulted.
What to do: if there is suspicion of conjunctivitis, go immediately to the ophthalmologist to start the appropriate treatment, as well as to avoid contagion of conjunctivitis. It is important to avoid scratching your eyes with your hands, wash your hands frequently and avoid sharing personal objects such as glasses or makeup, for example. See 7 other things you can and cannot do in case of conjunctivitis.