Itchy Eye Treatments

Woman using eye drops
What can you do for red itchy eyes?. Image Source / Getty Images

Are you suffering from itchy eyes and looking for treatment options? Itchy eyes are a common symptom of allergies. They also can occur occasionally if you have a cold or other illness. Here, we look at some of the most common causes and treatments for itchy eyes.

Are your eyes itchy and watery?

These symptoms are most common with allergies (and sometimes colds) and typically do not include redness of the eyeball itself.

Treatment options for itchy eyes related to allergies include:

Are your (or your child’s) eyes red, itchy and have thick colored discharge coming out?

These symptoms are most common with conjunctivitis, or pinkeye. This is a very contagious illness that can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Treatments for itchy eyes related to pinkeye include:

  • Avoid touching your eye and wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading the infection.
  • Warm compresses to relieve discomfort
  • Warm moist cloth to remove any discharge. Remember to wipe away from the eye, being careful not to rub the discharge further into the eye.
  • Adults can try over-the-counter drops. Children should see a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.
  • If your healthcare provider determines that the infection is bacterial, antibiotic eye drops may be needed to clear it up. These drops are only available by prescription.

    Do you have itching or pain and redness or swelling around just one eye?

    This could indicate a potentially serious infection called periorbital or orbital cellulitis. This requires immediate evaluation by a doctor as it can lead to the infection entering the brain. Periorbital cellulitis is most common in children under the age of 6, but can occur at any age.

    If you think you or child may have it, contact your healthcare provider right away.

    Is There a Bump On Your Eyelid?

    Most of the time these bumps on the eyelid are caused by infected hair follicles called styes. Anyone can get a stye. They occur when bacteria get into the hair follicle of an eyelash causing a localized infection. They typically resolve on their own but using warm compresses (such as a warm washcloth) can help speed up the process and give you some relief from the discomfort. 

    What If It's Something Else?

    If your eyes are itching but none of the above treatments help, contact your health care provider. An evaluation by a medical professional can help determine what is causing your itching and she will be able to help you decide which treatment option is best for you.

    If you decide to try over the counter anti-itch eye drops, do not use them for more than 2 to 3 days without consulting your health care provider. Prolonged use can cause further eye problems and more itching.

    Itchy eyes are an annoyance that can end up being a bigger problem.

    If you don't find relief with any of these remedies, be sure to seek an individual professional opinion to get to the root of the problem and find the treatment that is right for you. 

    Sources:

    ”Eye Problems.” Familydoctor.org American Academy of Family Physicians 2009. 26 Mar 09.

    ”Periorbital Cellulitis.” Medical Encyclopedia 12 Nov 07. National Institutes of Health. 26 Mar 09.

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