Itchy Eyes

Dr. Ajay Mohan (AIIMS)MBBS

December 05, 2018

March 06, 2020

Itchy Eyes
Itchy Eyes

What are itchy eyes?

A very common problem, itchy eyes (ocular pruritus), is a condition in which the body releases a chemical called histamine in response to a trigger or an allergen. This leads to the dilation of the blood vessels in the eyes and causes irritation and itchy, watery, sometimes red eyes.

What are its main associated signs and symptoms?

The common signs and symptoms seen along with itchy eyes include:

What are the main causes?

Itchy eyes are commonly caused by one of the following reasons:

  • Allergy (dust mites pollen, mould, eye drops or animal fur)
  • Dermatitis, around your eyes
  • Dry eye syndrome — when your body fails to produce enough tears which are essential for keeping the surface of the eyes moist and comfortable.
  • Chemicals or foreign object entering your eye (makeup or chlorine in the pool)
  • Blepharitis — an infection causing inflammation of the eyelids
  • An infection from contact lenses 
  • Due to an adverse drug reaction (antihistaminics, painkillers, antidepressants, or birth control pills) 

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Your physician will thoroughly examine your:

  • Eyelids, cornea and conjunctiva
  • The motion of the eyes
  • Reaction of your pupils to light
  • Vision

Treatment of itchy eyes includes treating the cause identified:

  • Initially, in case any foreign particle has entered your eyes, the following can be done:
  1. Saline or warm water can be used to clean eyes.
  2. Placing an ice pack or clean, cold, damp cloth on closed eyes.
  3. Use cold water to wash your eyes.
  4. Avoid rubbing your eyes and in case of no relief within 24 hours, seek medical advice.
  • An antihistamine medicine or anti-inflammatory eye drops will be advised in cases of allergy.
  • To wash away allergens, particularly from the surface of the eyes, drops promoting lubrication of dry eyes (artificial tears) are advised.
  • By placing bowls of water around the room, the air should be made as humid as possible to treat dry eyes which may be causing itchiness. 
  • Antiviral or antibiotic eye drops or ointments to treat eye infections.


  1. Healthdirect Australia. Itchy eyes. Australian government: Department of Health
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Eye burning - itching and discharge.
  3. National Eye Institute. Facts About Dry Eye. U.S. National Institutes of Health [Internet].
  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Pink Eye: Usually Mild and Easy to Treat.
  5. National Institute of Aging. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Aging and Your Eyes.

Medicines for Itchy Eyes

Medicines listed below are available for Itchy Eyes. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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