Eye allergies, whether seasonal or year-round, are often the cause of itchy eyes. These allergies can be caused by pollen or pet dander. Irritants such as dust and smoke, or products such as lotions, makeup, or contact lens solutions can also cause symptoms similar to those of eye allergies. An allergist can perform an allergy test to determine the specific allergens that are bothering you.
learn about treating seasonal allergies.
don’t rub your eyes!
The most obvious thing to do may be the most difficult: avoid rubbing your eyes. rubbing already irritated eyes can add more allergens, like pollen and pet dander. constant rubbing of the eyes can even cause a tear in the top layer of the cornea (epithelium), causing pain and potentially leading to infection.
relief itchy eyes
Once allergies are determined to be the cause of your itchy eyes, you and your doctor will work together to find a treatment plan that works best for you. the plan may include:
- avoid and eliminate. protective measures during peak pollen season can go a long way in relieving itchy eyes.
- close windows your car or home and wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to avoid contact with pollen.
- Use a dehumidifier to control possible mold in your home.
- Shower every night to remove accumulated pollen from skin, eyelids, hair, and face. be sure to wash your hands after petting animals.
- change bedding more often.
- Cold compress. If you have a mild case of allergy-related itching, a cold cloth or compress over the eyes may help temporarily relieve discomfort.
- artificial tears. Frequent use of over-the-counter cold lubricating eye drops may relieve symptoms.
- eye drops or oral anti-allergy medications. For many people, allergy relief eye drops or oral medications that contain antihistamines or mast cell stabilizers can relieve symptoms. these can be obtained without a prescription or your doctor can prescribe them.
- allergy immunotherapy. A treatment called sublingual immunotherapy involves daily administration of allergy drops at home. You are treated with the allergens you are sensitized to, and over time you become more tolerant of those allergens.
- keep your eyes lubricated frequently with artificial tears.
- Be sure to rub your contact lenses during cleaning every night. wash the box and change the solution inside every day. do not “fill” with solution. Start with a clean case and clean solution every time you remove your contacts.
- Consult your ophthalmologist to consider a new replacement schedule for your contact lenses if the irritation does not subside. daily disposable contact lenses may also be an option.
If these treatments don’t help, a visit to your ophthalmologist can help determine if something else is causing your allergies. Conditions such as blepharitis, an inflamed eyelid, or dry eye syndrome can also cause eye irritation. require a specific treatment plan for those conditions.
contact lens hygiene
If you wear contact lenses, it’s important to change them as often as prescribed. allergens and bacterial products can stick to soft contact lenses.
Remember that in addition to any treatment you receive, the best way to help prevent an itchy eye from getting worse is to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.