Most people experience itchy eyes at some point in their life. It’s a common ailment that can be attributed to several different factors and is usually easy to treat. Here are five of the most common reasons why you might be suffering from itchy eyes.
Allergies If you have allergies, your eyes can become red, itchy and watery when exposed to allergens such as pollen, mould, dust or pet dander. Consequently, your doctor or optometrist may prescribe eye drops or nasal sprays that contain antihistamines to help reduce inflammation and ease any discomfort.
Dry eye Dry eye disease is a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough tears. Dry eye syndrome is more common in people over the age of 50 and affects more women than men. Furthermore, conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to dry, itchy eyes. You can help alleviate any discomfort by using over-the-counter eye drops called artificial tears. However, if you have chronic dry eyes, you may need a prescription for medicated drops from your optometrist.
Eye strain Staring at a computer screen or driving for long periods of time can strain your eyes and cause them to feel itchy and tired. If you’re working in front of a computer, use the 20/20/20 rule — look up from your screen every 20 minutes and focus on something approximately 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. If your eyes are strained from driving, you should pull over and rest or switch drivers. These techniques will help give your eyes the time they need to relax, refocus and reset.
Contact lenses Keeping your contact lenses in for too long and not replacing them regularly can irritate your eyes, making them itchy and red. You can prevent sensitivity by taking your contact lenses out at night and following your optometrist’s advice on how to clean, disinfect and store them properly.
Blepharitis Blepharitis is a condition that causes your eyelids to become itchy and inflamed. This happens when the small oil glands at the base of your eyelashes get clogged. Blepharitis doesn’t typically affect your eyesight, but it can be a chronic problem that leads to pink eye and other complications. Your optometrist may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory eye drops to provide relief.
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