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Causes and Prevention of Itchy Eyes

Updated on December 8, 2016

Causes of itchy eyes

The itchy eye syndrome
The itchy eye syndrome

The itchy eye syndrome

Have you ever experienced the situation where your eyes felt terribly itchy that you almost suspected something serious was happening to your eyes? Don’t be too alarmed because more often than not, it is not anything really serious. You aren’t the first person to experience it. It happens to millions of people all over the world. While it is often not something very serious, it can indeed be very annoying, irritating and highly uncomfortable! Well in today’s post we would look at some of the reasons behind this uncomfortable situation and some possible preventative measures.

So what really causes itchy eyes?

If your eyes are itchy, then it is highly likely that the eyes have come into contact with an allergen (a substance that causes an allergy). Allergens are the number one reason why many people experience itchy eyes. Some common examples of allergens responsible for itchy eyes include: pollen, dust, grass, weeds, mold and pet dander. Allergic reactions to bee stings and food allergies also affect the eyes but not as serious as pollen and other airborne allergens. If your itchy eye problem is caused by allergens, then the obvious solution to that problem is by simply staying away from the allergens.

It is important to take note of the fact that the allergens that cause itchy eyes are not always found in the environment. Sometimes the following things can also act as allergens that end up causing your eyes to itch:

  • Contact lens solutions: A person’s contact lenses may also be the reason why he or she is suffering from itchy eyes. There are certain people who are allergic to certain types of contact lens solutions. In such cases, the contact lens solution not only causes the eyes to itch, but can also lead to redness of the eyeballs and inflammation. More often than not, people develop allergies to contact lens solutions that contain the preservative thimerosal.
  • Beauty products: Some beauty products that we use can also lead to itchy eyes. For example, beauty products such as certain types of creams, lotions and soaps can cause the eyes to become itchy if we are allergic to the ingredients of the products. For some ladies, the makeup they put on their faces can also lead to itchy eyes.

Preventing itchy eyes

The following tips can help you prevent itchy eyes:

  • Wear safety goggles; you should always remember to wear safety goggles when you are working around chemicals that could be allergens. For example, students at the laboratory, chemical factory workers and people in the construction industry should always protect their eyes with their goggles. The goggles will not only protect the eyes from damage, but will also prevent allergens from coming into contact with the eyes and causing them to itch.
  • Keep pets away from bed room; it is always advisable to keep pets out of our bedrooms simply because of the fact that pet dander (the flecks of skins that certain pets shed) can be allergens and can cause the eyes to itch when they come into contact with them.
  • When we visit environments or places that contain allergens, sometimes these allergens end up sticking to our clothes without our knowledge. This is the reason why it is imperative that whenever we return home from visiting places or environments where allergens exist, we wash our clothes thoroughly and dry them before wearing them again. Similarly, allergens can also stick to our hair and skin. It is therefore also important that we have a bath after coming into contact with these allergens.


It is important that people who often suffer from itchy eyes know that it is never advisable to rub the eyes when they become itchy. You might think that by rubbing your itchy eyes you can get some relief from it. But what you are actually doing is worsening the problem. You can get relief from itchy eyes with over the counter medications such as antihistamines, which are very effective for treating itch eyes.

The reason why antihistamines are always recommended for treating itchy eyes is simply because they have the ability to block the release of histamines. Histamines are the compounds located in certain tissues around the eyes, which when released causes the eyes to become very itchy. Antihistamines prevent histamines from being released, thereby drastically limiting the symptoms and impact of itchy eyes.


It is advisable that when using antihistamines, you avoid driving or using any dangerous machines since one of the common side effects of antihistamines is drowsiness.

Safety goggles

Wearing safety googles prevents allergens from getting into contact with your eyes
Wearing safety googles prevents allergens from getting into contact with your eyes

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