The culprit behind itchy eyes may be allergies, or allergic conjunctivitis. There are two types of allergic conjunctivitis. The first is perennial allergic conjunctivitis and is caused by exposure to household allergens in the form of dust, mold, pet hair and dander all year long. Conversely, seasonal allergic conjunctivitis typically only affects people in the spring and fall when exposure to allergens like grass, pollen, trees and flowers are at their peak. There are other eye diseases that can cause itchy eyes, such as dry eyes and diseases of the eyelid and eyelashes.
Typical symptoms include itching, redness and watering of the eyes and eyelids. Patients with itchy eyes can also experience puffiness, dryness, discharge and foreign body sensation in the eyes.
Who is At Risk?
Anyone is at risk of itchy eyes. Common suffers include people with allergies, asthma and persons with occupational and environmental exposures. To reduce certain allergen exposure vacuum regularly, keep your windows shut, run your air conditioner, avoid smoking and pet exposure.
Over the counter oral antihistamines, eye drops and decongestants can be purchased to relieve itchy eyes. You can also speak with a medical provider to have similar medications prescribed. Medical advice can also help ensure that allergic conjunctivitis is the most reasonable diagnosis.
Many prescription drugs will not only relieve itch, they will also treat puffiness, irritation and other common symptoms. If taken at the start of the day they can last 12-24 hours.
When should I see a Doctor for Itchy Eyes?
If over the counter medications don’t do the trick, or symptoms worsen, speak with a medical provider about alternative options and to confirm the diagnosis.