Itchy eyes – causes and treatment

Itchy eyes are extremely uncomfortable and are often accompanied by other symptoms such as redness or burning. The temptation to rub your eyes in order to relieve the itching is very big, but should really be avoided. It is better to find the cause of the itchy eyes. Only then can the causes be avoided and the symptoms treated. Quite often, dry eyes are the cause but it could also be allergies or infections that trigger the itching. In addition to that, dry eyes can encourage the development of inflammation or allergic reactions, which in turn lead to a burning and itching sensation.

Allergies are often the cause of itchy eyes.
Allergies are often the cause of itchy eyes.

Allergies, infections or dry eyes: different causes of itchy eyes

There are various possibilities for the cause of itchy eyes which are expressed through different symptoms. Treatment is always based on the cause of the symptoms and should be individually adapted.

Dry eyes

The tear film lubricates the surface of the eye and protects it from germs, foreign bodies and mechanical irritation. If the eye produces too little lacrimal fluid, the lubricating film can break up. The cornea is then unprotected and subject to all influences and irritants present in the environment. Various symptoms of dry eyes then occur, including itching. This comes about through the irritation of the sensitive nerve endings in the eye. The body tries to improve the lubrication of the cornea through itching, by animating the eyelids to blink more.

Dry eyes should definitely be treated in order to prevent serious after-effects. Viscous, lubricating eye drops such as  HYLO-COMOD® are ideally suited to this.

Allergies

Hay fever, house dust mites or animal hair allergies are usually often responsible for itchy eyes. In particular with hay fever ,the symptoms normally occur in both eyes at the same time because the pollen irritates them equally. In the case of animal hair allergies, the itching can occur in one eye only, for example when one single hair or a flake of skin from the animal gets into the eye. Allergies are normally accompanied by other, typical symptoms: skin rash, a runny nose or a burning sensation in the throat often accompany an allergy.

 

Allergies should be treated comprehensively because of the varied symptoms which can affect different organs. A doctor can help to find the right antihistamines or cortisol preparations. The symptoms can also be relieved by physical means with the aid of suitable eye drops such as HYLO®-PROTECT.

Infections

When the eyes become inflamed due to a bacterial or viral infection, this can produce itching or pain. Usually, other symptoms also occur such as a build-up of pus or reddening of the conjunctiva or eyelid margin. These infections normally only occur on one eye but can also spread to the other eye.

 

The treatment of inflammation of the eye is heavily dependent on the pathogen and the place of the infection (cornea, conjunctiva, eyelid margin). If bacteria are the cause of the infection, it makes sense to use eye drops containing antibiotics. For viral infections, it is possible to use antivirals which inhibit the reproductsion of viruses. An eye doctor should be consulted immediately if the eye is infected. More on eye inflammation.

Foreign bodies

If you can recognise harmless, small foreign bodies with the naked eye, you can try to remove them yourself. To do this, you gently pull forwards the upper or lower eyelid and try carefully to remove the foreign body with a wiping motion from the outermost edge of the eye towards the nose. This is normally possible with a clean handkerchief or a clean finger. If there is any doubt, leave the removal to a specialist, especially if the foreign body has sharp corners, like splinters of glass.

 

The following applies to all symptoms of itchy eyes: do not scratch or rub the eyes Quite often that just makes the itching worse. You also risk rubbing sharp foreign bodies deeper into the cornea or transferring germs which were previously on your hands or on the skin of your face into the eye.