Itchy Eyes: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment in Denver
Having dry, itchy eyes can make it difficult to enjoy life’s special moments. The experienced doctors at Advanced ENT & Allergy Center can help determine why you have itchy eyes and develop a personalized treatment plan. Find lasting relief from itchy, dry eyes with our specialists today.
What Causes Dry, Itchy Eyes?
The medical term for itchy eyes is ocular pruritus (proo-RIE-tus). It can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as red eyes, dry eyes, or inflammation and itching of the eyelids. Itchy, dry eyes can be caused by several different factors. Some of the most common causes of eye itchiness include:
- Chronic dry eye
- Contact lenses
- A foreign irritant, such as sand or an eyelash
- Hay fever
- Pink eye
- Eye infection
If your eyes are itching due to allergies, this is caused by one primary neurotransmitter – histamine. Histamine is the chemical that is released by our bodies when an allergen is present, and it causes most allergy symptoms including sneezing, a runny nose, itchy skin, and even coughing or asthma issues. It can even lead to a stuffy nose and dry or itchy eyes year-round, depending on the allergen(s) your body is sensitive to.
The doctors at Advanced ENT & Allergy Center are experts at determining the source of your itchy eyes. Schedule a consultation with our specialists today to cure your itchy eyes for good.
Dry Eyes Due to Allergies
Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are the most common reason for continued itchy eyes in Colorado. When your eyes are exposed to an allergy or irritant, the body releases a compound called histamine in the tissues around the eyes, and throughout the body. This chemical release results in the itching, redness, tearing and swelling that frustrate so many people.
Some of the allergies that can cause itchy eyes are:
- Pet dander
- Mold and other indoor allergens
- Chemicals such as cleaners or detergents
If your itchy eyes are caused by allergies, other symptoms may also occur:
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Other Causes of Itchy Eyes
Irritants are another common cause of itchy eyes. Typically if your dry, itchy eyes are caused by a specific irritant or foreign object in the eye, symptoms will only be temporary and will subside once your eyes are no longer in contact with the irritant. Whether it’s an eyelash, a piece of dirt, a pet hair or another small object, the body’s response to the unfamiliar irritant is often swelling, watering, and itching to try and flush out the item.
Contact lenses that do not fit correctly or bother your eyes can also cause irritation and swelling in the eyes, even sometimes leading to bumps on the inside of your eyelids. This irritation can make your eyes sensitive, dry, itchy and red even after you are no longer wearing your contacts.
How to Treat Dry, Itchy Eyes
Do NOT Rub Your Eyes
It is important to avoid rubbing or itching your eyes as much as possible when you experience any discomfort. Rubbing your eyes forcefully can be extremely damaging to them, especially if the cause of your itchiness is a foreign object in your eye. Rubbing may cause you to accidentally scratch the cornea of the eye which can lead to serious issues.
Allergies are frequently the underlying cause of constant itchy eyes, so treating your allergies can help eliminate your symptoms. It is important to be tested for allergies to determine your exact triggers, and then work with an ENT doctor to determine the best allergy treatment. Oral antihistamine pills may help relieve itchy eye symptoms in the short term by blocking the histamine chemical, but these can be expensive and frustrating to take constantly. We frequently recommend sublingual immunotherapy or allergy drops to our patients to help stop itchy eyes, sneezing and other allergy symptoms. These simple, customized drops are used daily at home to treat your allergies and keep new allergies from developing.
One of the best ways to keep from sneezing from exposure to irritants is to avoid things that trigger this reaction. You can make some simple changes in your home to reduce irritants, like using fragrance free detergents and body products, or cutting and cleaning a pet’s hair more frequently. Changing the filters in your filtration system frequently may also help prevent irritants like smoke and pollen from entering and lingering in the home. If you wear contact lenses, you may want to see your eye doctor to determine if the type of lenses you wear are irritating your eyes.
Use Eye Drops
Symptoms like itchy eyes and dry eyes, and red eyes can often be alleviated with over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears. However, these drops only help reduce symptoms temporarily, instead of dealing with the source of allergies. This means you may need to continue using eye drops for a long time, sometimes even at an increasing rate in order to control symptoms, and some of them can actually dry out and damage your eyes and tear ducts if overused. We recommend using eye drops to relieve symptoms in conjunction with prescription allergy drops or medications to eliminate allergy symptoms long term.
Apply a Cold Compress
Closing your eyes and placing a clean, cold, damp washcloth over your eyes can also help alleviate the symptoms of itchy eyes. This reduces inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in and around the eyes which reduces itching. A cold compress won’t address your allergies long term, but can be soothing to the eyes and can be repeated as many times as needed.
Find Relief From Itchy Eyes At Last
Get help from the expert doctors at Advanced ENT & Allergy Center to find lasting relief from itchy eyes. Our specialists have helped Colorado residents get rid of their dry, red, itchy eye symptoms for decades. Make an appointment today to stop itchy irritation and start seeing with happy, healthy eyes.