Experiencing an itch in your eyes can be incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable. The urge to rub or scratch your eyes to alleviate the irritating sensation is often overwhelming. Medically, this phenomenon is referred to as ocular pruritus. Itchy eyes are typically accompanied by redness and swollen eyelids.

Causes of Itchy Eyes

The itch is often most pronounced in the corners of your eyes. While itchy eyes are not usually serious, they can sometimes be a sign of underlying issues that may need attention. Here are some common causes:


Allergies are a frequent culprit behind itchy eyes. They can cause redness, watery discharge, and a burning sensation. Allergens such as pollen, dust, or animal dander trigger the release of histamines in the tissues around the eyes, leading to redness, swelling, and itching. Airborne irritants like cigarette smoke, pollution, and engine exhaust can also contribute.

Types of Allergies

There are two main types of eye allergies: seasonal and non-seasonal. Seasonal allergies are common in spring and autumn, often due to high pollen counts from weeds and grass. Non-seasonal allergies caused by dust, mould, and pollutants can persist throughout the year.

Product Usage

Everyday products can sometimes cause allergic reactions in the eyes. Contact lens solutions, artificial tears for dry eyes, makeup, lotions, creams, and soaps can all be potential allergens.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome occurs when the tear glands do not produce enough moisture. This can lead to soreness, sensitivity to light, dryness, and itchiness, especially in the corners of the eyes.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

MGD occurs when the glands that produce the oily layer of tears malfunction. These glands are located in the upper and lower eyelids. In addition to itchiness and dryness, MGD can cause the eyes to become sore and swollen.


Dacryocystitis is an infection of the tear drainage system, often caused by nasal polyps or trauma to the nose, leading to blockage. This condition can cause an itchy and painful sensation in the corners of the eyes.

Bacterial Infections

Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids, is often caused by bacteria or microscopic mites living on them. This condition leads to red and inflamed eyelids.

Contact Lens Issues

Wearing contact lenses for extended periods can cause fatigue and dry eye symptoms, leading to itchiness. Not sanitizing lenses properly can lead to the accumulation of foreign bodies and microbial growth, causing irritation and potential infections.

Prevention Tips

Preventative measures depend on the root cause of your itchy eyes. It is advisable to consult an eye specialist for personalized advice. Here are some general tips:

  • Use a Humidifier: If you live in a dry area, using a humidifier at home can help.
  • Clean Filters Regularly: Clean the filters in your humidifiers, air conditioning, and heating systems.
  • Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: Rubbing can worsen irritation. Instead, place a calm, relaxing compress on your eyes for 10 minutes.
  • Avoid Smoke: Stay away from smoke-filled areas and avoid smoking.
  • Avoid Scented Candles: Scented candles can irritate your eyes due to the chemicals and soot they release.
  • Healthy Diet: A diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can promote eye health.
  • Avoid High Pollen Levels: Stay indoors when pollen levels are high.
  • Wear Eye Protection: Use goggles in dusty, sandy, or dirty environments and when swimming.
  • Avoid Direct Wind: Protect your eyes from direct wind during windy seasons.
  • Wear Sunglasses: Use sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun and beach environments.

Also Read: Foods For Eyesight Improvement – 6 Simple Meal Ideas

Treatment Options

Cold Compress

Applying a clean, cold, damp washcloth over your closed eyes can significantly alleviate the severity of itchy eyes.

Tea Bag Treatment

Place two tea bags in cool or warm water, squeeze out the excess liquid, and place them over your closed eyes for 30 minutes. This can provide soothing relief.

Consult an Eye Specialist

The most effective way to treat itchy eyes is to consult with an eye specialist who can diagnose the root cause of your itchy eyes and recommend the most appropriate treatment. Whether it’s dry eye syndrome or seasonal allergies, our specialists can prescribe suitable medications or therapies.


Several medications can relieve ocular itching, particularly for seasonal allergies. Artificial tears or allergy drops may be adequate, but in some cases, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or unique eyelid-cleansing products might be necessary.

The 20-20-20 Rule

Prolonged screen time can cause eye strain, leading to itchy eyes. To reduce this, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps your eyes relax and refocus.

Also Read: Unravelling the Mystery of 20/20 and 6/6 Vision: An In-Depth Manual for Maintaining Optimal Eye Health

Important Reminder

Always remember not to rub your eyes if they are itchy. Rubbing can release more histamines, worsening irritation or potentially causing a corneal abrasion. It can also introduce bacteria to your eyes, leading to infections.


Itchy eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, from allergies and dry eye syndrome to bacterial infections and contact lens issues. Preventative measures and appropriate treatments can provide relief and prevent future occurrences.