As it gets warmer out and you spend more time outdoors exposed to pollen, you might notice an increase in the number of times you suffer from an itchy eye socket. It may be easy to brush off that annoyance as seasonal allergies, but if you’re dealing with something else, it can cause more issues.
It’s crucial to have an eye doctor check your eyes if you are experiencing any prolonged or unusual irritation. However, there are some things you can look out for to help you determine if your scratchy eyes are because of allergies or something more serious.
How Can I Tell if My Itchy Eyes Are From Allergies?
Seasonal allergies affect people differently, but some of the most common and frequent symptoms are itchy eyes and a stuffy, runny nose because your body produces histamine to fight against the allergy. Histamine causes an inflammatory response in your body, which leads to itchy eyes or a runny nose.
People with allergies can expect their eyes to get itchy around the same time every year if they suffer from seasonal pollen allergies. Or, if they are allergic to something specific, like pet dander, they know that being around an animal will give them a reaction.
Typically, if you can expect that exposure to pollen, pet dander, or some other irritant will cause your eyes to become red and itchy, you are likely dealing with allergies. But if your eyes continue to be itchy after you’re away from a known irritant, you may have another eye issue.
How Can I Tell If My Itchy Eye Socket Is from Something Other Than Allergies?
Allergy-related eye irritations and eye infections are two different things that require separate treatments. With allergies, you will typically have watery tears and no eye discharge. If your eyes feel itchy, but you are experiencing thick, milky, yellow, or otherwise discolored discharge, you are likely dealing with something that isn’t just allergies. If this is the case, it would be best to have an eye doctor look at your eyes and help you get the relief you need through antibiotics or special drops only available with a prescription.
What Are Some Common Eye Issues That Lead to Itchy Eyes?
Common eye issues that may cause itchiness include:
- Dry Eye – Some people struggle with tear underproduction, which can cause dry, itchy eyes. Decreased tear production may be as simple as a part of getting older, but it can also signal other issues, like diabetes.
- Irritants in the Air – Things like smoke, perfumes, or pollen can all cause itchy, dry eyes. If you are exposed to any of these airborne irritants and have itchy eyes after, the irritation is likely temporary.
- Eye Infections – If you are experiencing discharge or intense itchiness that won’t go away with over-the-counter remedies, an eye infection or virus may be the issue. These should not be ignored and need medical attention quickly. Pink eye is a common eye issue that results in itchy eyes and noticeable discharge.
- Eye Strain – Many activities can lead to eye strain. Reading in a dark room, working on a computer all day, or even driving for an extended period can be difficult on your eyes, leading to irritation and itchiness.
- Misusing Contact Lenses – Contact lenses are a powerful tool for your vision, but they can lead to eye irritation and infections if used incorrectly. It’s essential to use your contacts how they are intended to be used and remember to take them out and clean or replace them as directed.
Can I Treat Itchy Eyes at Home?
If you have itchy eyes and are unsure of the cause, it’s best to have them checked by a professional because some eye issues can lead to vision loss or blindness. Allergy medication can help with itchy eyes caused by pollen or mold, but it will not help with eye infections.
How Can I Soothe an Itchy Eye Socket?
You can do several things to soothe your eyes and avoid irritating them further. If your eyes are itchy, you might feel compelled to rub them or scratch them. However, it is best if you do not, as you can worsen it or even spread an infection! Instead, use a cold compress to soothe skin irritation or over-the-counter eye drops to help soothe the eyeballs themselves. If you wear makeup, remove it or stop using it until the itching subsides and your eyes feel normal again. Sometimes, prescription eye drops might be necessary to heal your eyes and soothe the itchiness.
For some people suffering from allergic, itchy eyes, allergy medication can offer relief. Over-the-counter options and prescription allergy medications are available to those suffering from more severe cases. Speak with your primary care doctor about options for your allergy medication needs!
Should I replace my eye makeup after i have itchy eyes?
Eye makeup must be changed frequently, especially if you’ve had an eye infection or other issue that caused eye itchiness. Never use eye makeup that you previously used around the time that you had an eye issue, and replace mascaras and eyeliners frequently to prevent eye issues from happening. Mascara and eyeliner are perfect places for bacteria to grow and fester, so replacing them often can help keep your eyes healthy!
Do You Need an Appointment with An Eye Doctor for Your Itchy Eye Socket?
If you have eye issues that you want to discuss with an eye doctor or are experiencing prolonged, unusual eye irritation, it is best to check in with an eye doctor. Your eyes help you see the world around you, so keeping them healthy is essential! Contact us today to schedule an eye exam.