Itchy Eyes

Itchy eyes are a common problem almost everyone has encountered, whether it is a momentary nuisance or a discomfort that can last for a long time. There are different causes of itchy eyes. The itching can occur alone, or it can be accompanied by other discomforts, such as redness of the eyes and swelling or itching of the eyelids.

Itchy Eyes
Causes and symptoms of itchy eyes

Causes and symptoms of itchy eyes

When the ocular surface is exposed to allergens, an allergic reaction occurs. It activates the release of histamine, which causes itching, watery eyes and red eyes. In such cases, you should avoid rubbing your itchy eyes because it can lead to an even greater release of histamine and worsening of symptoms. In addition, rubbing can damage the ocular surface, which can cause additional problems.

People who wear contact lenses may experience reactions to solutions for preserving and cleaning lenses. They can cause itching, redness and inflammation. Such allergic reactions occur due to a particular preservative present in the solution. However, itchy eyes most often occur as a symptom of allergies or allergic conjunctivitis.

Itchy eyes and allergies

Itchy eyes and allergies

If your allergy symptoms appear or intensify with the arrival of spring, it is most likely a pollen allergy. Accompanying symptoms, in addition to itchy eyes, can include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and swollen eyelids. The condition that then affects your eyes is called allergic conjunctivitis.

We can distinguish between seasonal and annual conjunctivitis. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is mainly present in the spring and autumn months, and is caused by allergens such as pollen, grass and weeds. Unlike seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, annual allergic conjunctivitis is present throughout the year, and its causative agents are mould, dust or animal hair to which we are continuously exposed. Itching and watery eyes occur as a result of allergic inflammation of the conjunctiva.

itchy eyes as a result of other diseases or conditions

Even though allergies are the main cause of eye irritation and discomfort, itchy eyes can also occur as a result of other diseases or conditions, such as:

  • dry eyes
  • ageing
  • prolonged use of screens
  • extremely dry air
  • wearing contact lenses
  • blepharitis or inflammation of the eyelids
  • conjunctivitis or inflammation of the conjunctiva.

The primary recommendation in the fight against allergies is to avoid contact with allergens as much as possible. This is often not possible to achieve, but there are guidelines that can help protect against allergies. They include monitoring the concentration of pollen in the air, wearing sunglasses, regularly and thoroughly washing your hands and changing your clothes, and taking anti-allergy medication as advised.

Itchy eyes in children

Itchy eyes in children

In addition to adults, itchy eyes can also occur in children, which often causes concern for parents. However, they are usually treated quickly and successfully, so there is nothing to worry about. When it comes to allergic conjunctivitis in children, you can see a clear discharge from the eye, which may or may not be mucous. It is accompanied by itching and the need to rub the eyes, but it is not contagious. To start treatment, the child should be taken to a pediatrician who will prescribe allergy therapy to alleviate symptoms as quickly as possible. If the pediatrician cannot determine the condition with certainty, they will send the child for an ophthalmic examination.

How to treat itchy eyes in allergies

How to treat itchy eyes in allergies

In order to treat allergic conjunctivitis, the allergy must be treated first. It is possible that sometimes it disappears by itself if the allergen is removed. Itchy eyes caused by an allergic reaction can be treated in several ways. This includes:

  • treatment with antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers
  • treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs
  • using drops for dry eye

Treatment with antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers and treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs is carried out solely under the supervision and instructions of an ophthalmologist specialist. Such types of treatment include certain specificities and side effects that may occur when using medications, so it is extremely important to take them in consultation with an ophthalmologist. If itching and watery eyes are the result of dry eye, a good solution is to use over-the-counter drops for dry eye.

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