There are many possible causes of itchy eyes. Underlying problems that could cause itchy eyes include:
Allergies: Foreign substances like makeup, pollen, and dander that come in contact with the eye can cause itchiness.
Eyestrain: Tired eyes that have been staring at the screen or driving for too long can also feel itchy.
Atopic dermatitis: This is a type of eczema that causes red, itchy skin accompanied with dry eyes.
Dry eye: When the eyes do not get enough lubrication and moisture, the eyes tend to feel itchy.
Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye, this is a highly contagious infection that causes red and itchy eyes.
Some medications: Some antihistamines and blood pressure medications can cause dry eyes which can make the eyes itch.
A humidifier that provides enough moisture to the environment can help aid to dry and itchy eyes. Apart from this, there are more home remedies to try to help treat and prevent itchy eyes especially at night, such as:
Avoiding allergens. Sleeping with the windows closed, keeping pets out of the bedroom, and dusting regularly can help keep out possible allergens like dust mites, pollens, and fur.
Applying warm and cool compresses. Swollen and itchy eyes caused by allergies can be relieved with warm or cold compress.
Keeping the eye area clean. Makeup, chemicals, and dirt can cause itchy eyes. Cleaning the eye area especially at night can prevent bacteria from building up. Flushing any irritants with water and removing makeup are some of the practices you should be including on your night routine.
For people who wear contact lenses, it is best to discontinue use until the itching stops. Changing the type of contact lens can help prevent future eye irritation. Eye drops and following the 20-20-20 rule are the primary remedies to itchy eyes.
If none of the remedies help with the itchiness, antibiotics and antihistamines are commonly prescribed to treat itchy eyes. Medical treatments are often the last resort to itchy eyes that do not go away.
Some people may require medical treatments such as:
- artificial tears to provide enough lubrication
- oral and topical antibiotics for bacterial conjunctivitis
- antihistamines to manage allergic reactions
For people with severe itchy eye symptoms, doctors may prescribe stronger medications such as steroid eye drops for blepharitis, mast cell stabilizers, and allergy shots.
To successfully prevent itchy eyes, it is important to know the factors that trigger them. It helps to keep a journal of potential triggers to figure out what to avoid.