When your eyes become itchy and red, you’ll do just about anything to relieve the irritation. But knowing the cause of your itchy eyes can help you find the right treatment and get some relief.
Your eyes are vulnerable to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections — all of which can bring on itchy eyes.
One of the more common eye infections is conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye because the white part of the infected eye turns pink. It’s very contagious and often accompanied by drainage from the affected eye.
Another possible eye infection is called uveitis, an inflammation of the iris — the part of your eye with color. Uveitis can cause eye pain and an extreme sensitivity to light.
Both types of infections should be evaluated and treated by a doctor. Antibiotics may be used to treat conjunctivitis. Steroids also may be necessary. Anti-inflammatory eye drops may be enough to treat uveitis
2 Dry eye
Tears, which are a combination of water, oil, and mucus, keep your eyes moist and refreshed. For various reasons, your eyes may stop producing enough tears to keep your eyes from getting dry and itchy. One common cause is simply getting older. As you age, tear production tends to wane.
Likewise, conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to fewer tears.
Staring at a computer screen for a long time, or trying to read in a poorly lit area, can strain your eyes, causing them to feel itchy and tired. Driving for a long time, especially at night or on a bright, sunny day, can strain your eyes, too.
Eyestrain can also develop if you’re forcing yourself to keep your eyes open and remain awake when you’re tired. For some people, indoor heat or air conditioning can lead to strained, itchy, and irritated eyes.
The best treatment is to simply rest your eyes periodically. If driving is putting a strain on your eyes, pull over and close your eyes.
Itching caused by an allergy can be helped with antihistamine or anti-inflammatory eye drops. It can help to use artificial tears (eye drops designed to lubricate dry eyes) to wash away any allergens on the surface of your eye. Sometimes you may need to take an oral antihistamine.