Why do my eyes itch?

Ocular itchiness is most commonly associated with allergies.  Allergies represent an over-reaction from one’s immune system caused from an otherwise harmless particle–like dust or pollen. Specifically, when dust or pollen comes into contact with “mast cells” (immune cells), they release chemicals that promote inflammation-which directly lead to symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.

Along with annoying itch, patients commonly experience tearing, sensitivity to light, a foreign body sensation (feeling like there’s ‘something’ in the eye), swollen eyelids and a ‘red eye’ appearance to the whites of the eye. This can often mimic “pink eye,” which is usually caused by a virus.  Fortunately, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious, unlike viral infections of the eye.

Common first-steps to improve symptoms involve avoiding known allergens, as well as cold compresses applied to (closed!) eyelids and over-the-counter teardrops.  A common non-prescription anti-allergy drop is Alaway or Zaditor.  Both drops have the same active ingredient and help to calm down inflammation.  Night-time showering/bathing helps to ensure hair and skin do not harbor irritating allergens throughout the night, leading to morning irritation. Eye rubbing may momentarily provide relief; however, this mechanical irritation increases allergic inflammation.

When conservative measures fail, allergy skin testing helps to identify the root case of one’s allergy grief.  Prescription eye drops like Pazeo or Lotemax may also be employed to decrease inflammation and help your eyes to feel better quickly.

At Advanced Eye Care, we offer allergy testing in addition to addressing itchy eyes.  There’s no need to tolerate itchy, scratchy, uncomfortable eyes.  Let us help your eyes to feel their very best!

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