Red, Itchy Eyes | Causes And Ways To Find Relief | Eye Love Cares

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Just like any other part of the body, eyes also develop complications at times. For instance, red itchy eyes can totally deny you peace and change your normal outlook. There are many reasons that could be behind eye complications related to dry, itchy, or red eyes. You will learn more about what causes dry eyes in this article.

Related: Itchy Eyelashes

1. Allergens and red, itchy eyes

red itchy eyesThere are diverse causes of red itchy eyes. Allergens cause your eyes to react when they come into contact with your eyes. For instance, chemicals, pollen, food, pet hair, and many more make your eyes start itching. When you experience these symptoms, you should consult your doctor for diagnosis.

Venturing into eye allergies

Allergies are commonly associated with sneezing, itching skin, and swelling. In addition, itchy eyes can also be the result of an allergic reaction. When you realize that the itching in your eyes is caused by allergens, you should try to avoid them if possible. Some of the remedies that you can use include eye drops and other medications, such as antihistamines.

Triggers of eye allergies and red, itchy eyes

Allergic conjunctivitis is a reaction to certain allergens, but it is not harmful. Allergens release histamine which your eyes react to by swelling, itching, and tearing. Consequently, your eyes’ blood vessels get inflamed and itchy. Some of the common allergens include:

  • Perfumes, makeup, and their chemicals
  • Pollens from different kinds of plants, which causes seasonal allergic conjunctivitis
  • Contact lenses, which can cause giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • Pet dander, indoor allergens, and dust, which cause perennial allergies – all year round

Some of the allergic symptoms

Your eyes may react to allergens immediately or they can take between two to four days. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Red and irritated eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Red, swollen, itchy eyes
  • Pain, soreness, and burning
  • Watery and excessively tearing eyes
  • Inflamed eyelids
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy and running nose

Eye allergy treatment

It is not hard to deal with eye allergies because they have common treatment with nasal allergies. Therefore, they share the same kind of medications. You can usually treat allergies with pills and eye drops that you purchase over the counter.

2. Eye drops and antihistamine pills

red itchy eyesAllergens produce histamine that your eyes react to. When you take antihistamines, they help you to curb this. Therefore, allergy eye drops or pills block histamine to give you relief from itchy and teary eyes. However, some of the oral medications cause drowsiness and they include:

  • Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)
  • Alavert, Claritin (loratadine)
  • Benadryl (diphendydramine)

The eye drops work most effectively for watery and itchy, red eyes. You can put them into your eyes up to twice a day. Some of the prescribed antihistamines include:

  • Emadine (emedastine difumarate)
  • Optivar (azelastine hydrochloride)
  • Livostin (levocabastine)
  • Patanol (olopatadine)

Some of the over the counter antihistamines include:

  • Zerviate (cetirizine ophthalmic)
  • Zaditor, Claritin Eye, and Refresh Eye Itch Relief (ketotifen fumarate)

More kinds of eye drops

There are some eye drops that cannot work effectively if you use them after the occurrence of the symptoms. They are designed to prevent the symptoms of what causes dry eyes by working proactively. Moreover, they also take longer before they start working but their effect lasts longer. They need a prescription, and they are usually used together with antihistamines. They include:

  • Alocril (nedocromil sodium)
  • Crolom (Cromolyn)
  • Alamast (Pemirolast)
  • Alomide (Iodoxamide)

Acuvail or Acular (Ketorolac) is another effective eyedrop that you can use to curb allergies. It eliminates the allergic reaction in about one hour. However, at first it causes a stinging or a burning effect in dry, red, itchy eyes, which is common for eyes that are inflamed.

Lotemax and Alrex (Ioteprednol) are steroid eye drops that treat long lasting and severe eye allergies. However, they are only used for a short time because their side effects can be very serious. If the symptoms persist, your physician can recommend allergy shots. These shots work by increasing the allergens gradually and eventually you get used to it.

Other methods that you can use to reduce symptoms

  • Remove your contact lenses and wear your glasses instead
  • Use a wet washcloth or wash your eyes with cold water
  • Do NOT rub your eyes, regardless of how much they itch
  • Wear protective eye glasses when you go outdoors
  • Lubricate red, itchy eyes using artificial tears to flush out allergens

However, if you develop other complications like blurred vision, dry, red, itchy eyes, and pain, you should see your physician.

3. Dry eye and itching

red itchy eyesHealthy eyes are well lubricated by tears. The normal amount of tears is enough: not too little and not too much to make the eyes watery. However, sometimes you can develop dry eyes, and they can trouble you due to their complications. Tears comprise the following:

  • Mucus that helps to spread the tears evenly
  • Water to moisturize the eye
  • Oils for lubrication
  • Proteins and antibodies that protect the eyes from infections

Related: Dry Eye Treatment

All these tears components are produced by special glands that are located around your eye. Therefore, when you have dry eyes, it means that your tear system is out of order and something is amiss somewhere. Some symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Gritty feeling
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling of an object in your eye

Ironically, sometimes dryness wells up too many tears in your eyes. It is a confusing symptom that is called reflex tearing. Despite the fact that there are tears in your eyes, it happens because the tears do not moisturize your red, itchy eyes. Consequently, you get irritated and a signal is sent to your brain for more lubrication.

However, these excessive tears do not lubricate your eyes because they are mainly water and not of good quality. Therefore, they do not serve the purpose that normal tears do because their composition is inadequate.

What causes dry eyes?

Dry eyes are caused by lack of balance in the composition of your tears. Moreover, even physical factors like your heater, air conditioner, and other home appliances can be what causes dry eyes. Others include:

  • Diseases that affect your tear production like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and collagen vascular disease
  • Aging and menopause
  • Eyelid problems that prevent them from closing properly
  • Side effects of antihistamines and other medications

Treating dry eyes and red, swollen, itchy eyes

There are diverse methods of treating dry eyes. However, you should follow your eye doctor’s instructions on the best treatment plan for you. This may include:

  • Temporary punctal occlusion
  • Lipiflow
  • Cyclosporine (Restasis or Cequa)
  • Artificial ointment and tear drops is the most common method of treating dryness. If you have chronic dryness, you should use the eye drops even when your eyes feel fine, to maintain good lubrication.
  • Punctal occlusion by cautery and nondissolving punctual plugs
  • Lifitegrast  drops (Xiidra) are necessary to kick start tear production for the day, and they are taken twice daily.
  • Use of steroid eye drops and adding omega-3 to your diet.

4. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

red itchy eyesThis condition is also known as pink eye and it is a viral inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is a highly contagious condition, and it is very common in children. However, it is not serious and it doesn’t tamper with your vision much. You should adhere to what your doctor recommends to prevent it from spreading.

Causes of other conjunctivitis

Some of the common causes of conjunctivitis include:

  • Bacteria, parasites, amoeba, and fungi
  • Reaction to eyedrops
  • Irritants like smoke, pool chlorine, dirt, and shampoos
  • Allergic reactions

Symptoms of conjunctivitis

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • White, clear, or yellow discharge from the eyes
  • Swollen conjunctiva
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Blurred vision and burning eyes

Treating conjunctivitis and dry, red, itchy eyes

The specific method that will be used to treat conjunctivitis depends with the cause.

  • Bacteria – if the infection is caused by bacteria, you should take antibiotics like ointments, eye drops, or pills prescribed by your doctor. 
  • Viruses – the common cold virus is also one of the main causes of pink eye. However, it is just mild and goes away on its own. This will not go on for more than one week, and it is resistant to antibiotics.
  • Irritants – if the issue is caused by an irritant, you should wash your eyes out with water for about 5 minutes, and your red eyes should go away within a few hours. However, if the redness was caused by a chemical burn, you should rinse the eyes with water and then visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.
  • Allergy – when allergy is treated, the issue should also go away within a short time. Antihistamines in the form of oral medications and eye drops are used to curb this situation.

How to relieve conjunctivitis symptoms

Every eye condition, whether it is serious or mild, has adverse effects. You will always want it to be cured so that you can be relieved. There are some things that you should be cautious with, and keeping your eyelids and lashes clean is often a great first step to prevention.

  • Observe hygiene by keeping your eyes clean – you should get rid of any discharge from your eyes by washing it away whenever it emerges. Use a hypochlorous acid cleanser twice per day, such as Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser.
  • Limit eye drops – the use of eye drops should not go for over a week without a physician’s prescription.
  • Protect your eyes from irritants and dirt.
  • Do not rub your infected eye. You should use a soft material like cotton to wipe them if needed, and always wash your hands.
  • Change your pillowcase on a daily basis until you are fully cured.
  • Do not put on contact lenses or makeup, and never share them with other people.

If your child is infected by pink eye, they should not go to school, and adults should not go to work to avoid spreading it to their coworkers. However, it is not serious at all and it even goes away on its own after completing its course.

5. Atopic dermatitis and red, itchy eyes

Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema and it is characterized by itchy rashes on your body. This condition is more common in children who are under 5 years, but it can also attack everybody else at any age. The symptoms may fade away and then resurface later on.

Symptoms

The itching and rash may spread all over the body. Infants usually have crusted, red, and scaly lesions on their cheeks, arms, legs, and scalp. The condition is very itchy for both children and adults. Symptoms include:

  • Skin creasing under the eye
  • Cracked and painful skin
  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Darkening of the skin around the eyes

Causes

The main cause of this condition is not yet known, but it is hereditary. It usually runs in families, therefore, if your parents or grandparents had it, you are more likely to suffer from it too. Some other diseases like asthma, allergies, and hay fever are probable predisposing factors to eczema. Cold temperatures and pollution are also likely to trigger eczema but, fortunately, it is not contagious.

Treatment of eczema and itchy, red eyes

Unfortunately, eczema is incurable, but you can manage it by getting rid of the factors that trigger it.

  • Take care of your skin – this is done by keeping your skin moisturized. You can use thick, hydrating creams or ointments. You should apply them on your body when you come out of the shower when your skin is still wet. Also, avoid too hot or too long showers because they can worsen dryness.
  • Treat symptoms – if you have various symptoms, the doctor can recommend a steroid cream, ointment, or other medication.
    • Antibiotics in some cases
    • Light therapy
    • Antihistamines to curb itching at night
    • Dupilumab (Dupixent) – injected after two weeks
    • Crisaborole (Eucrisa) – an ordinary ointment that is topically applied twice daily
  • Avoid triggers – try to avoid the factors that trigger your skin problems. It could be soap, animal dander, dust, pollen, dairy, gluten, etc.

6. Contact lenses and red, itchy eyes

red itchy eyesIf you don’t take care of your contact lenses, they can also bring complications like red eyes. They start by irritating your cornea if they are contaminated. Eventually they can cause dryness in your eyes. You should avoid wearing them when you have red, irritated eyes and instead wear your glasses during this time.

Solution for red, swollen, itchy eyes

You should clean, disinfect, handle, and store your contact lenses in a safe and hygienic place. Moreover, you should also replace them according to how your doctor recommends, which may be daily (for daily disposables) to every few months (for specialty lenses). However, if your eyes are dry, you should ask your doctor whether you can try out a new kind of contact lens. Sometimes, switching contact lens brands or your solution can make a big difference.

7. Blepharitis and red, itchy eyes

red itchy eyesBlepharitis is caused by inflammation of the oil glands that are found in your eyelids. Consequently, this causes dry, red, itchy eyes and they may result from:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • A clogged oil gland
  • Allergies
  • Excessive growth of bacteria in your skin

Top Related Article – Blepharitis Home Treatment

Symptoms

Blepharitis causes your eyelids to be itchy, a bit inflamed, and red. The base of the eyelashes may look scaly and you might also experience the following:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Dry eyes
  • Feeling a foreign object in your eye
  • Crusty eye lashes
  • A burning sensation
  • Inflamed and red eyelids or eyes
  • Blurry vision

Treatment of dry, red, itchy eyes

Blepharitis has no cure, but it can be controlled. You should just be careful with your eyelids to ensure that they will always remain clean and free from germs. Blepharitis should not be overlooked or left to remain untreated.

How to clean your eyes and eyelids when you have blepharitis:

Prevention

Blepharitis can be prevented by doing the following:

  • Do not use eyeliner behind the eyelashes, or on the waterline.
  • Remove all your makeup before going to bed with an oil-based cleanser such as Heyedrate Eye Makeup Remover Oil.
  • Maintain cleanliness of your eyelids with Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser.
  • You can totally avoid using makeup to avoid contaminating the already affected eyelids.
  • When you resume wearing makeup again, discard your old makeup and ensure that you’re replacing your liquid makeup at least every 3 months.

8. Eyestrain and red, itchy eyes

Eyestrain can come as the result of staring at a computer screen for too long. If you work with a computer or watch videos on it, after some time you will likely feel that your eyes are no longer working well. You could feel burning, tired, sore eyes. It is common and there is nothing harmful or worth causing you any alarm, but there are ways to prevent it from happening.

Eye problems

  • Eye discomfort
  • Double vision
  • Headaches

Causes of red, itchy eyes

Apart from glaring at a computer screen, there are some other activities that can make you to develop dry eyes and eye fatigue including:

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Driving

Furthermore, even staying in brightly lit places or dimly lit places can cause you eye fatigue. This is a common problem that causes 10 million eye patients to visit their physicians annually. Normally, people blink about 18 times in a minute, but when they are on their computers, they only blink about 9 times in a minute.

Therefore, the eyes are less refreshed by these blinks, and this predisposes them to fatigue. Moreover, your eyes could also become red and have a burning feeling.

Symptoms of eyestrain and red, itchy eyes

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Trouble focusing
  • Irritated and sore eyes
  • Double and blurred vision

You can use home remedies such as these:

  • Use artificial tears to soothe red, itchy eyes while working on a computer
  • Wet a washcloth with warm water and apply it on your closed eyes, or use a warm compress eye mask during the day for relief
  • Use an air cleaner to filter out dust, and a humidifier in your house to moisturize and humidify the air in your house
  • Wear a pair of Blue Light Blocking Glasses while working on a screen, in order to decreae glare and strain

However, if your red, swollen, itchy eyes are accompanied by pain, you should visit your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

9. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

MGD is a common condition that most people do not even realize that they have. It comes up after malfunctioning of the oil glands that are found in your eyelids, whose role is to help make tears. They produce oil that is called meibum. The role of meibum is to prevent the water in the tears from drying so that your eyes can remain well lubricated.

When the quantity of oil in the tears is minimal or not there at all, it brings complications to the eyes such as dryness and irritation.

Causes

Age is one of the main predisposing factors of this condition. As you continue aging, the number of meibomian glands continues decreasing. Ethnicity is also another factor that predisposes you to developing this condition. Asians are three times more likely to develop it than Europeans. Other causes include:

  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Eye diseases such as blepharitis and dry eye
  • Triglycerides and high cholesterol
  • Bacterial infections
  • Damaged or inflamed cornea or eyelid
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, Sjogrens’s syndrome, lupus

Other causes include medications like:

  • Drugs that lower androgen levels
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Anti-aging creams, acne medications, and retinoids

Symptoms

  • Blurred vision (sometimes)
  • Burning sensation in your eyes
  • Itching
  • Dry, red, itchy eyes
  • Feeling a foreign object in your eye
  • Red and inflamed eyelids

Home remedies

You can apply a warm compress eye mask to your eyes twice daily. After that you should do a light and gentle finger massage on that part of the eyelid. You can also clean the eyelids with a hypochlorous acid cleanser, such as that from Heyedrate.

Medical treatment

If the MDG is serious and cannot be solved by home remedies, you can visit your physician for diagnosis and treatment. Some of the medications that you may get there include:

  • Cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra)
  • Antibiotics to cure any infection
  • Steroids to curb inflammation
  • Lubricants

10. Drugs and medications

red itchy eyesThere are various kinds of drugs that you can buy over the counter, or be prescribed  by a doctor. However, when you take them, they may cause complications like dry, red, itchy eyes.

What causes dry eyes?

Some of these drugs include:

  • Acne medicine (Accutane)
  • Parkinson’s disease medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping pills
  • Antihistamines
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Hypertension medicine
  • Pain killers

Products that will relieve itchy, red eyes

  • Heyedrate Lid & Lash Cleanser – This is an amazing cleanser for different conditions like rosacea, blepharitis, MGD, dry eyes, eye irritation, styes etc. It is amazing in fighting bacteria, and it is absolutely organic.
  • Similasan Dry Eye Drops – This product is purposely designed and manufactured for watery, burning, and red, itchy eyes. It is friendly to your eyes and is a solution to most common eye problems and stresses.
  • Heyedrate Triglyceride Omega 3 – this fish oil is good for your irritated and dry, itchy eyes. It is taken orally; it is small and easy to swallow. With it, absolute relief, comfort, and better vision are guaranteed.
  • Bausch + Lomb Eye Drops – it gives you fast relief from irritation, burning, and irritation. It lubricates, protects the lipid layer, and protects your eye against tear loss.

Conclusion

These are some of the causes of red, swollen, itchy eyes. Most of these eye problems can be solved by using the aforementioned products. You just have to buy one and try it for yourself. In case any eye complication arises, you will be adequately prepared and armed to be on the safe side.  As always with red eyes, make sure to visit your eye doctor for a proper diagnosis.

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